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2020 NBA Playoffs: Nuggets vs. Lakers Game 1 odds, picks & prediction

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September 18th, 2020

LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers are one step away from an NBA Finals berth many predicted a year ago. In their way are the Denver Nuggets, a team few pundits would have guessed would be here as recently as one week ago.

Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals kicks off at 9:00 p.m. EST, and BetAmerica has the call for the big game.

Sat, September 19 2020, 1:00 AM

LA Lakers

Spread

-7

Moneyline

-300

Total

O 211

Denver Nuggets

Spread

+7

Moneyline

+235

Total

U 211

LeBron James has been virtually unstoppable

The Nuggets played the Lakers well in the regular season, winning one of their four games by 24 points and pushing another to overtime. However, we're now in the thick of the playoffs and Denver will have to contend with a laser focused Lakers squad with championship aspirations, led by a hellbent James.

The three-time NBA Finals MVP is averaging 26.3 points, 10.3 rebounds, 8.8 assists, and has been hitting over 37% of his threes. At 35, LeBron understands that this could be his last crack at a championship, and he'll do everything in his power to cement his legacy with another title.

Lakers have looked shaky in Game 1 situations 

As dominant as LeBron has been, the Lakers have still dropped each of their first games in their first and second round playoff series and played flat to start. This could work to a fatigued Nuggets’ advantage, especially as they’ve amped up their aggressive play on both sides of the ball. How the Nuggets defend Anthony Davis in the early going will determines the outcome of this game, and potentially the series.

Good luck with that...

Denver's fairytale postseason is about to end

The Nuggets have gotten here by overcoming two 3-1 series leads. Their title quest has been inspiring, but Denver will be rudely awoken from its fairytale run on Friday night. Even if the Nuggets are able to contain Davis, they don’t have anyone to guard James or disrupt the Lakers' ball movement enough to pull off a hot start.  Unlike the Clippers, who wasted 15-point leads in three different games, the Lakers won't blow big leads thanks to LeBron's rock solid leadership and the nearly unstoppable interior play of Davis.

The Nuggets are going to lose this first game, and it won’t be pretty. Los Angeles has the tools and talent to beat Denver up, and plenty of reasons to keep their foot on the gas to avoid the same calamity that befell the Jazz and Clippers.

NBA pick: Lakers -7

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