NBA Playoffs Betting Odds, Picks & Predictions: Los Angeles Lakers vs. Denver Nuggets Game 4 (Thursday, Sept. 24)
Odds as of Wednesday at 9:40 p.m. ET and via BetMGM. Get an INSTANT $500 deposit match at BetMGM today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.
My, oh my — we officially have ourselves a series now. The Nuggets dominated much of Game 3, then did just enough to outlast a furious Lakers comeback to hang on late and get their first win of the series. Los Angeles still leads the series, 2-1, but it certainly feels like Denver is in this now.
The series suddenly feels much more dramatic even than it did a few days ago. After the Anthony Davis shot to end Game 2, it felt like the series was over. The Lakers were -10000 to advance, and that shot felt like a backbreaker for the Nuggets. With an extra game in tow, things now feel very different.
LA dominated Game 1, then held off a late run. Denver dominated Game 3, then held off a late run. Game 2 was a coin flip decided on a buzzer-beater. It’s hard for a series to get much closer than that. LA’s odds to advance are down to -1500. Denver’s have dropped from +2000 to just +800. Series on.Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers looked a lot like another Los Angeles team in Game 3 — like a team that thought it already had the series won. The Lakers came out lethargic and lifeless and got mostly run off the court for three quarters before finally upping the energy late.
After snagging 13 offensive rebounds in Game 2, the Game 3 Lakers were embarrassed on the boards. They had only four offensive rebounds and lost the battle on the boards, 44-25, to a much smaller team that just brought more effort. Davis didn’t have a single rebound until midway through the fourth quarter. The Lakers continued to have major turnover problems and went cold from behind the arc, making just six 3-pointers on 26 attempts.
LeBron James had a 30-point triple-double but felt muted a third straight game and committed six more turnovers. Davis floated through the game and was outplayed physically and on defense. Rajon Rondo played a miserable game outside of that crazy four-minute stretch in the fourth quarter when the refs decided to allow Rondo to foul on every play.
It was a stinker of a game for the Lakers. They’ve had one each series now. The question is whether there are real signs of worry here or if this just confirms what we already thought we knew: that this is a flawed championship team whose role players can go missing entirely but whose two superstars are usually enough anyway.
What a win for the Nuggets — probably one of the best in franchise history, up there with that Game 7 shocker over the Clippers. For as much as everything went wrong for LA, everything went right for Denver.
Jamal Murray had 28 points, eight rebounds, and 12 assists and took over late, hitting two dagger triples. Nikola Jokic put up 22 and 10. Jerami Grant played the game of his life, outplaying Davis and scoring 26 points. Monte Morris had 14 points on seven shots off the bench. For once, it was Denver’s role players coming up big.
It feels like Denver has figured out this matchup now. Maybe it hasn’t solved it, but it knows it can hang with this Lakers team now. The Nuggets may need even more from Murray and Jokic going forward and even less from Torrey Craig and Mason Plumlee. But suddenly, each team has two superstars and a bunch of role players, and Denver’s supporting cast is much stronger. If Murray and Jokic can even come close to matching LeBron and Davis, Denver can win any game — or even the series.
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Like every Denver series this postseason, this series has become wildly unpredictable. One thing has held consistent for these teams. When Denver covers, it tends to win outright and usually comfortably. And when the Lakers win, they typically cover. LA has covered a six-point spread in nine of its 10 playoff wins. And Denver has won outright in eight of its last nine covers.
So stay away from an LA moneyline or a Denver cover. You should either bet the Lakers to win and cover, or if you believe in the Nuggets, go all the way and take the moneyline. And as always, unless you think Denver leads wire-to-wire again, you may get better odds betting the Nuggets live after an early LA run.
Honestly, if you believe in the Nuggets to take the Lakers in Game 4, you might need to consider dreaming bigger. Denver has looked like the better team in the last two games and might have just been exhausted in Game 1. If it does win Game 4, it might just be the better team, and you may need to think about that +800 series bet or even its title odds.
I can’t quite get there. I know everything we’ve seen from Denver. I believe in Murray. I know what Jokic can do. I have my Lakers doubts.
The Lakers are not the Jazz or Clippers because the Jazz and Clippers do not have LeBron. I don’t know if I trust Davis’ resiliency, but history has taught me to trust LeBron until proven otherwise.
James has gone up 2-0 in a playoff series 23 times, and he’s a perfect 22-0 so far. In eight of those series, LeBron’s team lost Game 3. Six times it came right back and took Game 4 to grab a stranglehold on the series (and remember, those are mostly on the road).
My Game 4 pick is a vote on history. Until I see LeBron blow a 2-0 series lead, I have to believe he finds a way to win. And when these Lakers win, they cover. I’ll take Lakers -6 and would play to -6.5.
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