Back the Nuggets to hold their nerve and see off the Lakers

Updated May 16, 2023
Updated May 16, 2023By Dean Etheridge

After great excitement in the conference playoff semi-finals, it’s the Denver Nuggets and the LA Lakers who will contest the 2023 Western Conference Finals. The Nuggets are the favorites, but with zero conference titles to their name, can the Nuggets deal with the pressure and defeat a resurgent LA Lakers side? Let’s take a closer look and name who we think will win with our NBA betting picks.

Back The Nuggets To Hold Their Nerve And See Off The Lakers

In one way it’s exciting, in another, it’s sad. We’ve reached the conference finals, and that is great. But the downside is, the season is nearly over. And what a season it has been. But for the Denver Nuggets and the LA Lakers, there’s still plenty of work left to do. 

Both sides are in the final of the Western Conference, and it’s all to play for when the first match gets underway at the Ball Arena in Denver on Tuesday night. This is a seven-match series, with matches one and two taking place in Denver, and matches three and four in LA. 

Then if required, match five is in Denver, match six in LA, and if a seventh and deciding match is needed, it will be in Denver, giving the Nuggets home advantage.

Nuggets vs Lakers Series Betting Odds

The best NBA playoffs betting sites don’t see this as a totally one sided affair. To win the series outright and take their place in the 2023 NBA Championship finals, the Nuggets are -155, and the LA Lakers are +135.

When you compare that to the odds in the Celtics (-525) match against the Heat (+420), those are competitive prices. 

Betting to win the 2023 NBA Championships

This is also reflected in the betting to win the 2023 NBA Championships. If the top basketball betting sites are to be believed, there are only three sides remaining in this competition. Boston are the favorites at +105, but the Nuggets aren’t too far behind at +225. The Lakers are then +290, with the Heat regarded as major outsiders at +1700. Miami is being given little to no chance.

2023 NBA Championship Winner BettingBetOnlineBetUSBovada
Boston Celtics+105+105+105
Denver Nuggets+225+225+225
LA Lakers+290+290+290
Miami Heat+1700+1700+1700

The odds on our NBA Championship winner betting table have been taken from the best sportsbooks for Basketball betting. For more information on these sites and the offers they currently have available, please check out our best online sportsbook reviews page.

Can the Nuggets make history?

The Nuggets topped the Western Conference table in the regular season, and in the post-season playoffs first round, they defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves 4-1. But most impressively, they just beat the much talked up Phoenix Suns 4-2 in their conference semi-final series. And in all honesty, it was as routine a series win as you can get

But they’ve never won a Western Conference finals, or the NBA Championship. So can they make history over the next few weeks? 

The Lakers are on a roll, but can they get past Denver?

The Lakers win over the Golden State Warriors has to rank as one of their greatest achievements. Okay, so we don’t see them winning the NBA Championships, and we’re not saying the Lakers are going to beat the Nuggets either. But what we are saying is that to come from where they were 12 games into the season, to where they are now represents a major success

The series win was record breaking. LA started the season 2-10. They already had the record of being the first team to start a season 2-10, and finish above .500. And after Friday’s series win in Match 6, they now have become the first team in North American sports to finish last in their division and still be in the final four teams left in the playoffs. That last one is some stat! 

But will this unbelievable turnaround in form result in a place in the NBA Championship finals? 

Our Picks

Well, the best NBA betting sites are saying no, as they are favoring the Nuggets to win the series. They opened up with Denver at -142, and they are now in to -155

While in Tuesday’s opening match, the Nuggets are -210 to win on the moneyline, with the Lakers at +180. The Nuggets are giving up 6 points on the handicap (it was previously 5). With the start, the Lakers are -110, the Nuggets are also -110. The total points spread is set at 222.5. Both over and under is -110

Okay, so the Lakers have LeBron, and they have all the experience in the world when it comes to conference finals. On the flip side, Denver have been the far better side all season. But when the first match starts tonight, that will count for little, as the Lakers are a different side now to the one that started the season so badly. 

But is that improvement good enough to defeat the Nuggets over seven matches? Well, in anything other than a conference, or a championship final, we would say no. But this is a conference final, so the real question is, can the Nuggets handle the pressure and keep doing what they’ve been doing so well all season? 

If they can, they win the series. If they can’t, it will be hard to keep the Lakers down.

For our pick, we’re keeping faith with the Nuggets though. They’ve seven matches to get the job done. And if they start strong, and don’t let the series go down to the wire, we think Denver will have too much for the Lakers.

About the Author

Dean Etheridge
Dean Etheridge

Dean Etheridge has over ten years of writing experience in the world of sports betting. Starting out as a hobby on his own soccer betting website, Dean has now seen his picks published across various affiliate sites along with The Sun and TalkSPORT where he writes regular Premier League and Champions League betting tips. Combining his extensive knowledge and experience with his British humor and wit, Dean has developed into a trusted voice within the sports betting industry. Although Dean's preferred areas of focus are the English Premier League and cricket, his extensive sports knowledge enables him to tackle nearly any sport. Gone are the days of traveling the world to witness events like FIFA World Cups and Ashes cricket, as Dean now prefers the comfort of his own home while enjoying sports.

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