Lakers-Nuggets Game 5 betting preview: Here comes Denver's defense
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If there's any team capable of clawing back from a 3-1 series deficit in these playoffs, it's the Nuggets.

Historically, it's not a good position to be in. But don't tell that to the Nuggets, who have won back-to-back series after going down 3-1. If Denver's going to make it three in a row, it'll first have to beat the Lakers on Saturday as underdogs yet again.

Here's the betting primer for Game 5.

Denver Nuggets vs. Los Angeles Lakers (-5, 215)

The Lakers have been favorites of -7, -7.5, -6.5, and -6 in the first four games of the Western Conference finals, respectively. Perhaps oddsmakers are respecting Denver's tendency to wake up when down 3-1, as L.A. is just a five-point favorite, the lowest of the series so far.

Lakers stars Anthony Davis and LeBron James were on the injury report, but both players will play Saturday.

The case for the Nuggets

Don't be surprised if Denver's defense comes out with a chip on its shoulder. Through six elimination games in the postseason, the Nuggets are 6-0, allowing 97.3 points per game. Not a single opponent during that span went over the team total or the number of points expected by one single team. The Lakers' number for Saturday is 110.5; the most Denver's allowed in an elimination game so far is 107.

The case for the Lakers

You have to feel good if you're Los Angeles. The Lakers are off their worst shooting performance of the series (47.5%) yet still managed to win by six in Game 4.

James and Davis were dealing with soreness but paved the way for the offense yet again Thursday, combining for 60 of the team's 114 points.

Public favorites like the Lakers are typically wallet burners, but the West's top seed is filling pockets lately, going 5-2-1 against the spread across the last eight games.

Notable betting trends

  • Denver is 5-0-1 ATS the last six on one day's rest
  • Denver is 8-1-2 ATS the last 11 after allowing 100-plus points
  • Denver is 5-1-1 ATS the last seven as playoff underdogs
  • Denver is 4-1 to the over the last five conference finals games
  • Denver is 7-2 to the under the last nine on one day's rest
  • L.A. is 7-2-1 ATS the last nine on one day's rest
  • L.A. is 5-2-1 ATS the last eight as favorites
  • L.A. is 8-3 to the over the last 11 conference finals games

(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 5 betting preview: Here comes Denver's defense
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