LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers take on Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals on Sunday night. The Lakers lead the series after a double-digit victory in Game 1, with the Nuggets attempting to pick up their first win in the best-of-seven clash. James (groin) and Rajon Rondo (back) are listed as probable for the Lakers, with Dion Waiters (groin) listed as doubtful. Will Barton (knee) remains out for Denver.
Tip-off is at 7:30 p.m. ET in Orlando. William Hill lists the Lakers as 7.5-point favorites, holding steady from the opener, while the over-under, or total number of points Vegas thinks will be scored, is 215 in the latest Lakers vs. Nuggets odds. Before you make any Nuggets vs. Lakers picks, be sure to see the NBA predictions from SportsLine's proven computer model.
The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every NBA game 10,000 times, and it's already returned over $5,000 in profit on its top-rated NBA picks this season. It entered the week on a blistering 61-33 run on top-rated NBA spread picks, returning almost $2,500 on those picks alone. It's also a sizzling 11-3 on top-rated picks since the NBA's restart in July. Anybody who has followed it has seen huge returns.
- Lakers vs. Nuggets spread: Lakers -7.5
- Lakers vs. Nuggets over-under: 215 points
- Lakers vs. Nuggets money line: Lakers -330, Nuggets +270
- LAL: The Lakers are 8-2 against the spread in the last 10 games
- DEN: The Nuggets are 7-3 against the spread in the last 10 games
Why the Lakers can cover
The Lakers have been dominant on both ends of the floor in the postseason, with James and Anthony Davis providing elite-level play. Davis is a tremendous defensive force and, statistically, he is also productive with 28.5 points and 10.8 rebounds per game. James is arguably the game's best player, averaging 25.5 points, 9.9 rebounds and 9.1 assists per game, and he is also a stellar defensive presence. The duo leads the Lakers to the best net rating in the playoffs, outscoring opponents by 9.4 points per 100 possessions, and Los Angeles is a top-three team in both offensive and defensive efficiency.
The Lakers bring tremendous size to the table defensively, leading the playoffs in blocked shots and ranking third in shooting efficiency allowed. Los Angeles is also creating havoc, forcing a turnover on 15.3 percent of possessions, and the Lakers are elite in offensive rebounding, shooting efficiency and free throw rate on the offensive side.
Why the Nuggets can cover
The Nuggets are an explosive, efficient and entertaining offensive team, headlined by Jokic and Jamal Murray. Jokic has been one of the more valuable players in the entire postseason, averaging 25.1 points, 10.5 rebounds and 5.7 assists per game. Murray is also operating at a high level, averaging 26.7 points and 6.3 assists per contest, and the duo helps to make Denver scary for any opposition. The Nuggets rank in the top five of the playoffs in offensive rating, shooting efficiency and offensive rebounding, highlighting a balanced, effective attack.
Defensively, Denver's numbers are rough overall but much improved recently, including a respectable 1.09 points allowed per possession in the last 11 games. The Nuggets are also strong in limiting damage off turnovers, ranking fourth in the NBA in points allowed off turnovers in the playoffs.
How to make Lakers vs. Nuggets picks
SportsLine's model is leaning over on the total, with Davis and Murray projected to exceed their season-long scoring averages. It also says one side of the spread hits well over 50 percent of the time. You can only get the pick at SportsLine.
So who wins Nuggets vs. Lakers? And which side of the spread hits in well over 50 percent of simulations? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the Lakers vs. Nuggets spread to jump on, all from the advanced model that is up over $5,000 on its top-rated NBA picks this season, and find out.