LeBron James (ankle) will sit when the Los Angeles Lakers host the red-hot Denver Nuggets on Monday. It is the second of a back-to-back for reigning NBA champion Los Angeles, which has lost three games in a row and six of its last seven. Denver (43-21) is seeking its sixth consecutive victory and 10th in 11 games but is in the midst of a grueling five-game stretch in which it plays both Los Angeles teams, the New York Knicks, Utah Jazz and Brooklyn Nets before closing the regular season with four straight on the road.
Tip-off is scheduled for 10 p.m. ET from Staples Center. The latest Lakers vs. Nuggets odds list Denver as a 4.5-point favorite. The over-under for total points is set at 213.5. Before finalizing any Nuggets vs. Lakers picks, be sure to see the NBA predictions and betting advice from SportsLine's proven computer model.
The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every NBA game 10,000 times and has returned over $9,400 in profit on its top-rated NBA picks over the past two-plus seasons. The model is up over $1,400 on its top-rated picks this season and entered Week 19 of the 2020-21 NBA schedule on a stunning 97-60 roll on top-rated NBA picks against the spread dating back to last season. Anybody who has followed it has seen huge returns.
- Nuggets vs. Lakers spread: Nuggets -4.5
- Nuggets vs. Lakers over-under: 213.5 points
- Nuggets vs. Lakers money line: Nuggets -185, Lakers +165
- DEN: The Nuggets are 3-8 ATS as road favorites
- LAL: PG Dennis Schroder (health and safety protocols) is out on Monday
Why the Nuggets can cover
Nikola Jokic is the front-runner for league MVP and not simply because he is a double-double machine with an NBA-leading 55 on the season. He again showed the way in Saturday's win over the Clippers with 30 points, 14 rebounds, seven assists and zero turnovers. It marked the third time in his career he had at least 30 points, 10 boards and five assists without a turnover, tying David Robinson for the most such games by a center since 1985.
Denver has lost only once in 10 games since losing point guard and second-leading scorer Jamal Murray to a knee injury three weeks ago. The scoring void has been filled by Michael Porter Jr., who has scored at least 20 points in nine of the 10 games since Murray was hurt. The No. 14 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, Porter collected 25 points, seven rebounds and five assists while knocking down 4 of 7 3-point attempts vs. the Clippers on Saturday.
Why the Lakers can cover
With James out, Anthony Davis steps into the spotlight. Davis struggled in Sunday's game with 12 points and nine rebounds. However, he notched his first double-double since returning from more than a two-month absence with 22 points, 11 boards and five blocked shots in Friday's home loss to Sacramento.
The Lakers are better equipped to deal with Jokic inside due to the presence of Andre Drummond, who was not with the team for the previous two matchups vs. Denver. Drummond, who has grabbed at least 10 rebounds in nine of his last 12 games, posted a double-double (19 points, 11 rebounds) against the Raptors. Kyle Kuzma scored 24 points and knocked down 6 of 11 3-pointers on Sunday.
How to make Nuggets vs. Lakers picks
SportsLine's model is leaning over on the total. The model also says one side of the spread hits over 60 percent of the time. You can get that pick at SportsLine.
So who wins Nuggets vs. Lakers? And which side of the spread hits over 60 percent of the time? Visit SportsLine now to find out which side of the spread you need to jump on, all from the model that is on a roll on NBA picks.