Lakers vs Nuggets Game 1 Picks, Odds | NBA Playoffs Prediction

The 2024 NBA Playoffs begin with a jam packed 4-game slate this Saturday -- and the final matchup of the evening we'll preview is Lakers vs Nuggets Game 1, which is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. ET on ABC.

The Lakers are 7-point underdogs on the spread in Saturday's contest, while the total is set at over/under 223.5 total points at DraftKings.

Here's everything you need to know about Lakers vs Nuggets -- the latest betting odds, as well as our expert picks and prediction for the NBA Playoffs on Saturday, April 20.

Lakers vs Nuggets Odds

LAL @ DEN Odds

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Lakers vs Nuggets Picks & Prediction

The Lakers are thoroughly outmatched against the defending champs in this first round series, and it would take a total implosion by the Nuggets for LAL to advance to the Western Conference Semis. 

With that in mind, however, I believe this series may extend a little bit further than the previous postseason meeting between these teams in which the Nuggets swept the Lakers in four games in last year’s Western Conference Finals.

The Nuggets are no strangers to mental lapses early in the playoffs. As dominant as their run through the WCF and Finals was – winning both series in a total of nine games – Denver actually struggled a little bit out of the gate last postseason.

The Nuggets lost one game to Minnesota in the opening round last year, and barely escaped with a victory in Game 5 with a final score of 112-109. Then they lost two road games to Phoenix in the second round before catching fire and winning 10-of-11 games the rest of the way to win the title.

None of those losses came at home though, as the Nuggets posted a perfect record of 6-0 at Ball Arena in the first two rounds of last year’s playoffs, with five of those six wins coming by a margin of 9+ points.

The Lakers and Nuggets met three times during the regular season, and Denver won all three of those contests by a margin of 8+ points, with two of those victories coming on the road, where Denver is known to struggle – yielding records of 33-8 at home and 24-17 away this season, and then 34-7 at home and 19-22 away last season.

In last year’s Western Conference Finals, the Nuggets won all four games, but only one of those wins would have covered the spread set for this contest (Game 3 – 119-108).

Once this series transitions to Los Angeles, I may consider taking the points with the Lakers depending on how they look in the first two matchups in Denver. However, I don’t want to overthink it in Game 1. 

The Nuggets are the best team in the West, and they dominate their home floor. The number on the spread is big – maybe a little bit too big – but the Lakers need to prove they know how to beat Denver (when healthy) before I consider picking them in any of these matchups. The Lakers have lost seven straight matchups against Denver, and four of those losses have been pretty ugly. 

I’m going to lay the steep number with Denver in Game 1.

Pick: Nuggets -7 (-110)

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Lakers vs Nuggets Game Time & TV Channel

Date: Saturday, April 20
Matchup: Pacific vs Northwest
Venue: Ball Arena
Location: Denver, CO
Time-TV: ABC, 8:30 p.m. ET

Lakers vs Nuggets Betting Stats

2) Denver Nuggets
(2nd Place, Northwest)

  • Odds to Win Finals: +300
  • Odds to Win Conference: +135
  • SU: 57-25
  • ATS: 39-43
  • O/U: 35-47
  • PPG: 114.9
  • OPPG: 109.6

7Los Angeles Lakers
(3rd Place, Pacific)

  • Odds to Win Finals: +2900
  • Odds to Win Conference: +1400
  • SU: 49-33
  • ATS: 44-38
  • O/U: 36-45-1
  • PPG: 118.0
  • OPPG: 117.4

NBA Playoffs Betting Resources