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All times Eastern, and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook
🔥 The Hot Ticket
- The Pick: Nuggets -6 (-110)
- Key Trend: The Lakers are 1-5-1 ATS in the last seven meetings in Denver.
It's been quite the postseason run for the Lakers as LeBron James chases another ring. While the Lakers have been a popular ATS pick in recent weeks, I'm fading them in this spot.
The Nuggets are a juggernaut right now. Denver has thrived when playing at home where they have a 5-1 record ATS during the 2023 postseason. Out of all the teams remaining in the NBA playoffs, the Nuggets lead the way with 115.8 points-per-game and is shooting 37.9 percent from three (second among remaining NBA playoff teams).
A big reason for the Nuggets' success has, of course, been the play of Nikola Jokic. Jokic is currently averaging 30.7 points, 12.8 rebounds and 9.7 assists while shooting a mind-boggling 47.5 percent from beyond the arc. Obviously, Anthony Davis can alter a fair share of shots, but I just don't see the Lakers big man being able to slow down Jokic throughout the series. Look for Jokic to dominate (more on that later) and lead the Nuggets to a convincing victory in Game 1.
💰 More Picks
Guardians at White Sox, 10 p.m. | TV: MLB.TV
The Pick: Guardians (-120) -- This is a tale of two starting pitchers that are going in two very different directions.
To say that Lance Lynn has struggled is putting it mildly. The veteran right-hander has compiled a 9.56 ERA in three home starts this season. The White Sox have came out on the losing end in seven of the eight games that Lynn has started. In his most recent start last Wednesday, Lynn surrendered seven earned runs on nine hits in just five innings in a 9-1 loss against the Kansas City Royals. Lynn has also yielded at least one home run in all but one of his outings on the season.
The Guardians offense hasn't exactly been elite through the early portion of the season, but they've racked up 12 runs over their last two games. Cleveland has also been victorious in two of Shane Bieber's last three starts. In eight starts this season, Bieber has tallied a 3-1 record to go along with a 2.61 ERA, which includes posting a 2.73 ERA away from home. Even if the Guardians only score a few runs, it should be more than enough to win this one.
Key Trend: The Guardians are 5-2 in the last seven meetings in Chicago
Lakers at Nuggets, 8:30 p.m. | TV: ESPN
The Pick: Nikola Jokic Over 50.5 Points, Assists, and Rebounds (-125) -- Jokic has been the straw that stirs the drink for Denver throughout the postseason.
Jokic has had no problem stuffing the stat sheet in recent games, even when the Nuggets were destroying the Suns in the final two games of their series. The Denver star has recorded at least 51 points, assists and rebounds in each of his last five contests. As I mentioned above, Anthony Davis is a much better defender than Deandre Ayton, so Jokic might have to work a little bit harder to get to this number. However, I'm expecting a closely-contested game to open the series, so I'm riding with Jokic in this spot.
Key Trend: Jokic has tallied at least 51 points, assists, and rebounds in each of his last five games