bet365 NBA Odds, Betting Preview: Lakers vs. Nuggets (May 16)

Can the Denver Nuggets finally beat the Los Angeles Lakers in a playoff series?

The Western Conference foes have squared off seven previous times in the playoffs, with the Lakers taking all seven matchups, including the most recent clash in 2020. Three of those losses came in the Western Conference finals (1985, 2009, and 2020).

The Nuggets, who have never been to the NBA Finals, are the No. 1 seed in the West, though, and will have home-court advantage in the series beginning Tuesday night.

Denver enters Game 1 as a six-point home favourite and the total is set at 222.5 points.

Lakers vs. Nuggets odds

Lakers Moneyline Odds+200
Nuggets Moneyline Odds-240
Over/Under222.5 points (over -110, under +110)
SpreadNuggets -6 (-110)
Series oddsNuggets -165, Lakers +145
Time/DateTuesday, May 16, 8:30 p.m. ET
TVBroadcast: TSN
Stream: NBA League Pass
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All odds courtesy of

Previous meetings

Firstly, take this data with a grain of salt.

The teams split their four regular-season meetings, but all of those came before the Lakers underwent a massive roster overhaul prior to the trade deadline. Also, LeBron James and Anthony Davis didn’t play in the most recent meeting on Jan. 9, as evidenced by the massive 12.5-point spread in favour of Denver.

The Lakers have added Rui Hachimura, D’Angelo Russell, Jarred Vanderbilt, Malik Beasley and Mo Bamba since they last saw Denver.

DateHome TeamSpread OddsResultTotal
Jan. 9, 2023DenverNuggets -12.5122-109 Nuggets237 (under)
Dec. 16, 2022Los AngelesNuggets -1.5126-108 Lakers236.5 (under)
Oct. 30, 2022Los AngelesNuggets -2.5121-110 Lakers229 (over)
Oct. 26, 2022DenverNuggets -5110-99 Nuggets230 (under)

About the Lakers (8-5 SU, 8-5 ATS, 6-7 o/u)

The Lakers are heating up at the perfect time, posting an 18-6 record in their last 24 games, the league’s best record during that span. A major reason for the turnaround has been a commitment to defence, as Los Angeles boats the best Defensive Rating (106.5) in these playoffs, according to NBA advanced stats.

James is looking to lead the franchise to its 33rd NBA Finals appearance; LeBron has already made The Finals 10 times. At 38 years old, James has averaged 28.5 points, nine rebounds, and 7.1 assists in a staggering 278 career playoff games. This year, though, his playoff numbers are reflecting a slight decline, averaging 23.4 points, 10 rebounds, and 5.3 assists.

LeBron will obviously play a vital role for the Lakers in Game 1, and in this series, but the battle between Davis and Denver big man Nikola Jokic will be front and centre throughout the series. Both players have played matador defence against each other during the regular season. According to NBA matchup data, Davis is shooting 62.5% with Jokic as his primary defender; Jokic is shooting 64% with Davis guarding him.

About the Nuggets (8-3 SU, 7-4 ATS, 6-4-1 o/u)

Speaking of Jokic, he’s been an absolute monster through 11 playoff games, averaging 30.7 points, 12.8 rebounds, and 9.7 assists while posting five triple-doubles. The two-time MVP has averaged 21.5 shots per game this postseason, an increase of almost seven shots per game over his regular-season totals. That’s resulted in a boost to his scoring average from 24.5 points per game to 30.7.

The Nuggets have the No. 1 Offensive Rating (118.7) in the playoffs, per NBA advanced stats, and are 40-7 straight-up and 30-16-1 ATS at home this season, including 6-0 straight-up and 5-1 ATS in the playoffs.

One major development for bettors to monitor throughout Tuesday is the health of Canadian point guard Jamal Murray, who is listed as questionable with a non-COVID illness. He’s averaging 25.9 points, and 6.5 assists in 11 playoff games.

Nikola Jokic triple-double


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Notable injuries

Bamba (ankle) is doubtful and Nuggets guard Collin Gillespie (leg) is likely out. As previously mentioned, Murray (illness) is questionable.

  • The over is 9-2 in the Lakers’ last 11 road games.
  • The under is 8-3 in the Nuggets’ last 11 home games.
  • The Nuggets are 23-9 ATS in their past 32 home games.
  • The Lakers are 1-5 ATS in their last six road games.
  • The Lakers are 1-5-1 ATS in their past seven meetings in Denver.
  • Jokic is averaging 36.6 points over the last five games and he’s scored at least 29 points in each of those contests. His line is 27.5 points (-120 on the over).
  • Jokic has also been a hot play in the points + rebounds category. He’s averaging 48.6 over his last five games and has had no less than 42 points + rebounds in each of those games. His line is 41.5 (-115 on the over).
  • Austin Reaves has been showcasing his three-point shooting lately, averaging 3.33 per game over his last three. He’s -130 to drain at least two three-pointers.

Wagers to consider

  • Jokic over 27.5 points: -120. With five days to rest up in between series, the Joker should continue to be a force in this one, especially if Murray is ruled out due to his illness. Denver’s offence will flow through him, and as previously stated, Davis hasn’t been able to slow him down in previous games this year.
  • Jokic over 0.5 blocks: -140. Jokic has recorded at least one block in five straight games and six of his last seven.
  • James over 0.5 blocks: -165. LeBron has recorded at least one block in four straight contests and five of his last six.
  • First quarter spread: Nuggets -2 (-110). Denver has been awesome at home this year and should shoot its way to an early lead inspired by the raucous home fans.