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How to watch, what to watch for Nuggets vs. Lakers Game 1

We go over how to watch the start of the Western Conference Finals between Denver and Los Angeles on Friday, plus look at the betting lines and make a pick for Game 1.

LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers tries to stop Keita Bates-Diop of the Denver Nuggets during the second half at The Arena at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on August 10, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Photo by Ashley Landis-Pool/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers and Denver Nuggets start their Western Conference Finals series on Thursday with Game 1. Most of us thought we’d be seeing a classic battle between titans in the Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers. Well, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George were unable to score any points in the fourth quarter of a Game 7 and here we are. So we’ll get the Nuggets in their fourth West Finals appearance in franchise history. It’s the first time the Nuggets are in the conference finals since 2009.

As for LeBron James and the Lakers, well, King James has been to this part of the postseason quite often. This is the ninth time James is in the conf. finals in the past 10 seasons, only missing this round last season after the Lakers failed to make the playoffs. James is now equipped with one shiny Anthony Davis to help him in his quest for a fourth NBA championship. The Lakers have gone 8-2 through two series in the playoffs and haven’t played basketball since September 12.

The Nuggets got here through the play of one All-Star and an emerging star. Nikola Jokic has been the backbone for Denver this postseason but it’s been Jamal Murray’s shooting that has really lifted the team. In the Game 7 win, Murray had one for the ages, dropping 40 points on 15-of-26 shooting from the field. He couldn’t miss and the Clippers were basically stunned the entire time. Jokic chipped in a casual 16-22-13 triple-double and the rest is history.

Game Time/TV Channel/Streaming

Game 1 on Friday will take place at 9:00 p.m. ET. The game will be broadcasted on TNT and will be streaming on the TNT app.

Point Spread, Totals, Odds

Spread: Lakers -7
Over/Under: 212
Moneyline: Lakers (-305), Nuggets (+250)

Here are some updated betting splits via DraftKings Sportsbook:

Nuggets vs. Lakers Game 1 splits

Teams Point Spread % Handle % Bets Total Points % Handle % Bets Moneyline % Handle % Bets
Teams Point Spread % Handle % Bets Total Points % Handle % Bets Moneyline % Handle % Bets
DEN Nuggets 7 55% 57% Over 211.0 58% 67% 245 63% 47%
LA Lakers -7 45% 43% Under 211.0 42% 33% -305 37% 53%

The Best Bet: UNDER 212 points (-109)

Both of these teams will be playing in series’ in which the opponent plays a similar style and pace. The Lakers and Nuggets like to get into the half court offense and each team is well equipped on defense. If the Lakers stick Davis on Jokic, that could go a long way in slowing down the All-Star center. We could also see situations in which LeBron is guarding Murray. That didn’t stop Murray from torching Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, but the Lakers are fresh and aren’t reeling.

The Lakers have lost Game 1 in each of their previous two series in the 2019-20 playoffs. So if this trend were to continue and the Nuggets win, I can’t imagine it will be by much/with Denver putting up a lopsided number. In a close game, I think we see something similar to Game 1 between the Lakers and Trail Blazers. As of now, until we get any potential lineup news, the UNDER seems like the safest play.

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