The Los Angeles Lakers will try to bounce back from a devastating Game 2 defeat when they host the Denver Nuggets on Thursday in a crucial Game 3 of their 2024 NBA playoffs series. In Game 2, Los Angeles led by as many as 20 points in the second half before Denver rallied for a 101-99 win. The defeat was the largest blown lead by any team in an NBA postseason game in the last 25 seasons. The Nuggets lead the best-of-seven first round Western Conference playoff series 2-0.

Tip-off is scheduled for 10 p.m. ET at Arena in Los Angeles. The Lakers are listed as 1-point favorites in the latest Nuggets vs. Lakers odds, per SportsLine consensus, while the Over/Under for total points scored is 217. Before making any Lakers vs. Nuggets 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 well over $10,000 in profit for $100 players on its top-rated NBA picks over the past five-plus seasons. The model enters the second week of the 2024 NBA playoffs on a sizzling 90-58 roll on all top-rated NBA picks this season, returning more than $2,800. Anyone following the model has seen huge returns.

Now, the model has set its sights on Nuggets vs. Lakers and just locked in its picks and Game 3 predictions. You can visit SportsLine now to see the picks. Here are several NBA betting lines and trends for Lakers vs. Nuggets:

  • Nuggets vs. Lakers spread: Los Angeles -1
  • Nuggets vs. Lakers over/under: 217 points
  • Nuggets vs. Lakers money line: Denver -105, Los Angeles -115
  • DEN: Nikola Jokic ranked second in the NBA this season in triple-doubles (25).
  • LAL: Anthony Davis ranked third in the league in rebounding (12.6 per game).
  • Nuggets vs. Lakers picks: See picks at SportsLine

Why the Nuggets can cover

The reigning NBA champs have dominated the head-to-head series against Los Angeles recently as Denver has beaten the Lakers 10 straight times. That stretch includes a four-game sweep against Los Angeles in last season's Western Conference Finals and three wins during the 2023-24 regular season. The Lakers haven't beaten the Nuggets since Dec. 16, 2022.

In addition, Denver may have found a way to slow Davis and the Los Angeles offense in Game 2. After giving up 68 points in the first 26 minutes, Nuggets coach Michael Malone switched Aaron Gordon onto the Lakers big man. After that, Denver allowed just 31 points in the final 22 minutes. See which team to back at SportsLine

Why the Lakers can cover

LeBron James remains an elite player. From the All-Star break to the end of the regular season, the 39-year-old James averaged 27.5 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 9.5 assists while shooting 58.4% from the field, 45.0% on 3-pointers, and 76.9% from the free-throw line. So far this series, he is averaging 26.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 10.0 assists while shooting 54.5% from beyond the 3-point arc.

In addition, Davis has been elite offensively so far in this series. The 31-year-old Davis has scored 32 points in each of the first two games while averaging 12.5 rebounds. He is also shooting 61.9% from the field and 92.3% from the free-throw line. See which team to back at SportsLine

How to make Lakers vs. Nuggets picks

SportsLine's model is leaning Over on the total, projecting the teams to combine for 219 points. The model also says one side of the spread hits over in 50% of simulations. You can see the picks only at SportsLine

So who wins Lakers vs. Nuggets, and which side of the spread hits over 50% of the time? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the Nuggets vs. Lakers spread you need to jump on, all from the model on a 90-58 roll on top-rated NBA picks this season, and find out.