Lakers-Nuggets Game 1 betting preview: Will LeBron lose another opener?
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The Western Conference finals get underway Friday when the Los Angeles Lakers and Denver Nuggets meet for Game 1.

Here's all the betting info you need for the star-studded clash.

Denver Nuggets vs. Los Angeles Lakers (-7, 210.5)

The Lakers garnered some early support from the market. They opened as 6.5-point favorites but got a slight bump up to -7, where the number remains as of Friday afternoon.

The total's been slowly dropping after opening at 212. If the number sticks at 210.5, it'd be the lowest total for a Lakers game this postseason and the second-lowest for the Nuggets.

The case for the Nuggets

This is a prime opportunity for Denver to steal one right off the bat. LeBron James-led teams have dropped six of their last seven playoff openers, including the last two.

The Lakers have two members of the All-NBA first team (James and Anthony Davis), but the Nuggets' tandem of Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic is absolutely rolling. Murray closed out the second-round win over the Los Angeles Clippers with a 40-burger and is averaging better than 27 points per game in the postseason. Meanwhile, Jokic has recorded nine double-doubles in 14 contests to go along with 25.3 points per game.

Additionally, Denver as a team is on a roll, covering five of its last six contests overall.

The case for the Lakers

James and Co. have struggled out of the gates, but the Lakers should smell blood in the water. Although the Nuggets deserve respect from the public, this is a far inferior opponent from what L.A. has seen so far.

Denver is the worst team of the final four standing, and it's not exactly close.

Postseason net rating

Team Rating
Lakers 9.0
Heat 6.8
Celtics 6.4
Nuggets -1.5

This isn't a spot where I'd sell Los Angeles' offense. The Lakers could go berserk against a defense potentially gassed after playing back-to-back seven-game series.

What's interesting is L.A.'s offense improved in every meeting against the Nuggets during the regular season. The Lakers shot 46.9% from the field in the first matchup, 50% in the second, and 54.3% in the third.

Notable betting trends

  • The Nuggets are 4-1-1 against the spread over the last six following a win
  • The Nuggets are 5-0-2 to the under over the last seven as playoff 'dogs
  • The Nuggets are 8-3-1 to the under over the last 12 Friday games
  • The Nuggets are 23-11 to the under over the last 34 against winning teams
  • The Lakers are 4-0 ATS over the last four as playoff favorites
  • The Lakers are 5-2 ATS over the last seven following an ATS win
  • The Lakers are 9-2 to the under over the last 11 following an ATS win
  • The Lakers are 5-2 to the under over the last seven on three-plus days of rest

(Odds source: theScore Bet)

Alex Kolodziej is a betting writer for theScore. He's a graduate of Eastern Illinois who has been involved in the sports betting industry for 12 years. He can quote every line from "Rounders" and appreciates franchises that regularly wear alternate jerseys. Find him on Twitter @AJKolodziej.

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Lakers-Nuggets Game 1 betting preview: Will LeBron lose another opener?
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