Nikola Jokic LeBron James

NBA Playoffs 2024: Nuggets vs. Lakers First Round Preview, Betting Odds

The Los Angeles Lakers will look to exorcise their demons from NBA playoffs past when they take on the reigning champion Denver Nuggets in the first round of the Western Conference bracket.

Los Angeles earned this spot after defeating the New Orleans Pelicans in the No. 7 vs. No. 8 matchup of the play-in tournament. It was swept in four games by the Nuggets in the 2023 conference finals. 

Here's a look at everything you need to know for this best-of-seven series, from the recent history between the two teams to all key betting odds.

2024 NBA Playoff Previews

(Related Link) NBA Playoff Betting History: Key Trends, Tips

Denver Nuggets vs. Los Angeles Lakers Hub

Denver Nuggets vs. Los Angeles Lakers Series Schedule

GameDateTime (ET)Arena
Game 1Saturday, April 20, 20248:30 p.m. ETBall Arena
Game 2Monday, April 22, 202410 p.m.Ball Arena
Game 3Thursday, April 25, 202410 Arena
Game 4 Saturday, April 27, 20248:30 Arena
Game 5 (If Necessary)Monday, April 29, 2024TBDBall Arena
Game 6 (If Necessary)Thursday, May 2, Arena
Game 7 (If Necessary)Saturday, May 4, 2024TBDBall Arena

Denver Nuggets vs. Los Angeles Lakers Series Winner Odds

Denver Nuggets-420
Los Angeles Lakers+310

As of April 18 with all but two postseason matchups confirmed, the Nuggets have by far the strongest odds of any series favorite at -420. 

Denver Nuggets vs. Los Angeles Lakers Total Games Odds

Total GamesOdds
5 Games+195
6 Games+230
7 Games+280
4 Games+380

This is the sixth year in a row that the Nuggets have qualified for the postseason. Of the 12 series they've partaken in, four have gone exactly five games with one being against the Lakers in 2020, albeit in defeat.

Denver Nuggets vs. Los Angeles Lakers Series Prediction Odds

Series OutcomeOdds
Denver Nuggets 4-0+440
Denver Nuggets 4-1+230
Denver Nuggets 4-2+450
Denver Nuggets 4-3+410
Los Angeles Lakers 4-0+3500
Los Angeles Lakers 4-1+1900
Los Angeles Lakers 4-2+700
Los Angeles Lakers 4-3+1300

The best odds here in favor of Los Angeles come in the form of the Lakers beating Denver in six games at +700. All other outcomes on their behalf have greater than 13-to-1 odds, while the worst-case outcome for the Nuggets advancing is doing so in six games at +450.

Denver Nuggets vs. Los Angeles Lakers 2023-24 Season Series (3-0 Nuggets)

DateResultLeading Scorer
March 2, 2024124-114 NuggetsNikola Jokic, Nuggets (35 Points)
Feb. 8, 2024114-106 NuggetsAnthony Davis, Lakers (32 Points)
Oct. 24, 2023119-107 NuggetsNikola Jokic, Nuggets (29 Points)

Denver has won eight-consecutive games against Los Angeles SU, including the playoffs. Its last defeat to the Lakers came on Dec. 16, 2022.

Denver Nuggets vs. Los Angeles Lakers 2023-24 Spread History

DateSpread (Nuggets)Spread (Lakers)Result
March 2, 2024-1 +1Nuggets Cover (Favorites)
Feb. 8, 2024-3+3Nuggets Cover (Favorites)
Oct. 24, 2023-4.5+4.5Nuggets Cover (Favorites)

Including the 2023 conference finals, the Nuggets have covered both as favorites and underdogs against the Lakers five-straight times. The largest spread during this stretch has been 5.5 points for Game 3 on May 20 of last year.

Denver Nuggets Vs. Los Angeles Lakers 2023-24 OVER/UNDER History

DateScoreO/U TotalFinal TotalO/U Result
March 2, 2024124-114230.5238OVER
Feb. 8, 2024114-106233220UNDER
Oct. 24, 2023119-107229226UNDER

The OVER hit just once in meetings between the Nuggets and Lakers, which falls in line with at least Denver's success in this department over the course of the season. The Nuggets finished with a 35-46-1 record in OVER/UNDER, while Los Angeles was far superior at 47-36-1.

Denver Nuggets vs. Los Angeles Lakers Top Scorer Odds

Nikola JokicDenver Nuggets+195
LeBron JamesLos Angeles Lakers+270
Anthony DavisLos Angeles Lakers+280
Jamal MurrayDenver Nuggets+330
D'Angelo RussellLos Angeles Lakers+5000
Michael Porter Jr.Denver Nuggets+5000
Austin ReavesLos Angeles Lakers+6500
Aaron GordonDenver Nuggets+20000

Nikola Jokic totalled the most points for Denver across three games against the Lakers with 88 and an average of 29.3. On Los Angeles' end, LeBron James led the way averaging 24 points and totalling 72 suiting up each time.

Denver Nuggets Player To Watch: Michael Porter Jr.


Michael Porter Jr. is the most crucial piece to the Nuggets' championship climb not named Jokic or Jamal Murray. His offensive contributions against the Lakers are vast and varied, having connected on 11 total 3-pointers including a perfect 5-of-5 from the perimeter on March 2. Porter Jr. is Denver's deadliest and most reliable outside threat, and he could be in store for an incredible series as Los Angeles allows the third-most 3-pointers to opponents at 14.3.

Los Angeles Lakers Player To Watch: D'Angelo Russell

Games (vs. Nuggets)PTSFG%3P%REBASTSTLBLK

From the outhouse to the penthouse, D'Angelo Russell's resurgence in purple and gold was part of the reason why many projected the Lakers to make another serious run, despite once again being a participant in the play-in. His personal numbers against Denver weren't breathtaking nor efficient, and Russell will continue to be exposed as a mediocre defender off the dribble and in the pick and roll. If he can boost his scoring numbers to keep pace with his superstar teammates in the frontcourt, then Los Angeles could extend this series.

Denver Nuggets Vs. Los Angeles Lakers Odds To Win Western Conference

TeamOdds To Win West
Denver Nuggets+135
Los Angeles Lakers+1400

With Denver so heavily favored to eliminate the Lakers, it's no surprise to see such a discrepancy in the odds. This is the most difficult matchup of any possible opponent for Los Angeles on paper, and it's getting the smoke right out of the gate.

Denver Nuggets Vs. Los Angeles Lakers Odds To Win NBA Finals

TeamOdds To Win NBA Finals
Denver Nuggets+300
Los Angeles Lakers+2800

The same logic for the Western Conference championship odds applies here to Larry O'Brien. Denver has the second-best odds to repeat as titleholders behind only the Boston Celtics at +145.

Expert Prediction: Denver Nuggets (-420), Denver Nuggets Win Series 4-1 (+230)

The winning formula as far as how to contain Jokic and take down the Nuggets as a whole has yet to present itself to the Lakers, despite all of the momentum they may currently have.

Jokic torched an all-world defender in Anthony Davis during the 2023 conference finals, averaging a triple-double and establishing his dominance from the get go. We have yet to see any reason that a similar result won't unfold this time around.

Call it a gentlemen's sweep by giving Los Angeles a game out of respect for the way it closed the season, going 11-3 SU over its last 14 outings. Jokic is the best player in the Association, and while the Lakers could and should steal a game, Denver will still cruise to a convincing series win.

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