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The Denver Nuggets are hoping to break this year's trend and earn a win on the home floor of the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday when they meet in Game 3 of their 2023 NBA Western Conference finals series. The home team has won all six meetings this year, including playoffs. The Nuggets (53-29), who are 2-3 in road postseason games in 2022-2023, are just 10-25 all-time in the playoffs against Los Angeles. The Lakers (43-39), 7-0 all-time in playoff series against Denver, are looking to reach the NBA Finals for the 33rd time.

The game from Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles will tip off at 8:30 p.m. ET. Denver is averaging 116.5 points per game in the playoffs, while Los Angeles averages 112.7. The Lakers are 5.5-point favorites in the latest Nuggets vs. Lakers odds from Caesars Sportsbook, while the over/under for total points scored is set at 223. Before making any Nuggets vs. Lakers picks, make sure you check out what proven SportsLine NBA expert Larry Hartstein has to say.

A former lead writer for Covers and The Linemakers, Hartstein combines a vast network of Vegas sources with an analytical approach. Hartstein also excels in NBA, especially when picking Denver Nuggets games. Over the past 95 Denver matchups, he is 56-36-3 against the spread ($1,645 for $100 players). Anybody following those NBA picks has seen huge returns. 

Now, Hartstein has set his sights on Lakers vs. Nuggets and just locked in his picks and NBA playoff predictions. You can visit SportsLine now to see his picks. Here are the NBA lines and trends for Nuggets vs. Lakers:

  • Nuggets vs. Lakers spread: Lakers -5.5
  • Nuggets vs. Lakers over/under: 223 points
  • Nuggets vs. Lakers money line: Nuggets +178, Lakers -215
  • DEN: The Nuggets are 11-4 against the spread in their last 15 games against a team with a winning straight-up record
  • LAL: The Lakers are 3-0-1 ATS in their last four conference finals games.
  • Nuggets vs. Lakers picks: See picks at SportsLine

Why the Lakers can cover 

LeBron James and Anthony Davis are getting plenty of help in the 2023 NBA playoffs. Shooting guard Austin Reaves has been the model of consistency for Los Angeles. He scored 22 points in Thursday's Game 2 loss, following back-to-back 23-point efforts. He also had five assists and three rebounds. Reaves has led the Lakers in scoring once and in assists three times this postseason. In 14 playoff appearances, he is averaging 16.4 points, 4.6 assists and 4.4 rebounds in 35.6 minutes.

Point guard D'Angelo Russell is one of five Los Angeles players averaging at least 10 points per game this postseason. In 14 games, all starts, he is averaging 14.7 points, 4.9 assists and three rebounds in 31.3 minutes of action. Against the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors in last week's decisive Game 6 conference semifinal win, Russell scored 19 points, while grabbing two rebounds. In three regular season meetings against the Nuggets, he averaged 13.7 points, 6.7 assists and one rebound. See which team to pick here.

Why the Nuggets can cover

Center Nikola Jokic, an MVP finalist this season, has dominated. He has seven triple-doubles during the postseason, including four in a row and five over the past six games. In Thursday's Game 2, Jokic scored 23 points, grabbed 17 rebounds and had 12 assists, while making three steals. In Tuesday's Game 1 win, he scored 34 points, grabbed 21 rebounds and dished out 14 assists with two blocks. Jokic averages 30.4 points, 13.8 rebounds and 10.2 assists in 13 playoff starts.

Small forward Michael Porter Jr., who posted a double-double in the series opener, scored 16 points, grabbed seven rebounds and added three assists in Game 2. In Game 1, he had 15 points and 10 rebounds. He has registered three double-doubles over the past six games, including a 21-point and 12-rebound effort in the Western Conference semifinals Game 3 loss to the Phoenix Suns. In 13 postseason games, he is averaging 14.6 points, 7.7 rebounds and 1.5 assists. See which team to pick here.

How to make Lakers vs. Nuggets picks

Hartstein is leaning Over on the total, and he has identified a critical X-factor he says makes one side of the spread a must-back. You can find out what it is, and see which side of the Nuggets vs. Lakers spread to back, at SportsLine.

Who wins Lakers vs. Nuggets, and what critical x-factor makes one side of the spread a must-back? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the Lakers vs. Nuggets spread you need to jump on, all from the expert who has returned over $1,645 to $100 players over his last 95 Denver Nuggets picks, and find out.