Nuggets vs. Lakers odds, series pick and LeBron James best prop bets for 2024 NBA Playoffs series

Nearly 11 months after the Nuggets swept the Lakers in the 2023 Western Conference Finals, Denver will open its 2024 postseason against Los Angeles this weekend (Saturday, 8:30 p.m. ET). We’ll dive headfirst into this thrilling opening-round best-of-seven, providing the BetMGM odds, stats, trends, and best bets to advance. 

Soon-to-be three-time MVP Nikola Jokic and the reigning-champion Nuggets didn’t lock up the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference for the second consecutive year — the young-gunning Thunder wound up winning that honor. However, the defending champs remain the odds-on favorite from the West to win it all. Denver sits at +300, far ahead of the Clippers (+1300), Mavericks (+1600), and OKC (+1600). 

MORE POSTSEASON BETTING: Updated playoff bracket | Finals odds

Then there’s the Lakers, who entered the playoffs via the NBA Play-In Tournament for the third time in four years with the format. Can we ever count modern GOAT and four-time Finals MVP LeBron James out? Of course not. The seventh-seed in the playoffs sits +2500 to hoist the 2024 Larry O’Brien Trophy, among the top 10 shortest odds in the playoff field. 

We can’t wait for this showdown, and we’re ready to lock in our bets on BetMGM right now. Let’s get to the odds for the Nuggets-Lakers’ opening-round best-of-seven series, and reveal our best bets and top props. 

Nuggets vs. Lakers odds

  • Series moneyline: Nuggets -350 | Lakers +275
  • Series game spread: Nuggets -2.5 (+135) | Lakers +2.5 (-165)
  • Series game spread: Nuggets -1.5 (-175) | Lakers +1.5 (+140)
  • Series total games: Over 5.5 (-150) | UNDER 5.5 (+120)

Nuggets vs. Lakers series pick

Like oddsmakers, we have trouble trusting the Lakers to get past the defending-champion Nuggets in a best-of-season series. Denver has won eight straight meetings with Los Angeles, including a 3-0 series sweep this season. Dating back to Valentine’s Day 2021, Jokic has gone 10-3 against LeBron’s Lakers. 

MORE: Why Jokic is SN’s NBA Player of the Year — again

Indeed, the Joker has been the Kryptonite for the Batman and Robin duo of LeBron and Anthony Davis. It’s why Sporting News NBA expert Steph Noh recently said that Los Angeles losing to the Pelicans in the first round of the NBA Play-In Tournament might be a “blessing in disguise.” 

Of course that didn’t happen, because of course L.A. isn’t going to intentionally lose a chance to punch its ticket to the playoffs. To be the best, you gotta beat the best — and if the Lakers have their sights set on a second championship in five years, they will need to get past Denver at some point. Whether now or in the penultimate round, beating a team that’s 33-8 at home (in the altitude) will be tough for a Lakers squad that went 19-21 on the road. 

Lucky for Hollywood hoops fans, Bron said he feels much better physically at this point of the postseason than he felt at the start of the 2023 playoffs. However, even casual NBA fans know that his compatriot AD is far less healthy. Davis, who more than likely will be selected to his fifth-career All-NBA and All-Defensive Teams in the near future, has been dealing with eye, hip, and back issues. 

That’s bad news for an aging Lakers squad against a big, complete, and well-coached Nuggets team that has already had L.A.’s number for three straight years. Denver typically neutralizes the three levels of offense that Los Angeles usually excels in — interior scoring (55.7 PPG in the paint), free throws (19.1 made FT per game), and transition offense (17.1 fast break PPG). 

Sure, LeBron getting his revenge on the reigning champions after they steamrolled him and the Lakers last postseason seems like an awesome story. But we bet with our heads, not our hearts — and Denver at home in the playoffs is the toughest place in the NBA to play. The Nuggets have L.A.’s number, and that narrative is the one we see prevailing once again in this series. 

MORE: Bron, AD highlight Steph Noh’s All-NBA picks 

Nuggets vs. Lakers best prop bets

Our prediction: the Nuggets win the series (-350) in six games. Bet Denver -1.5 (-175) on the series or wager on the series going OVER 5.5 games (-150) if you want to cut out some juice or feel like the Lakers will make it a closer series.

If you don’t mind juice, our favorite series prop is “Nuggets win Game 1 and the series” (-225). Denver won all four Game 1s last year, and we don’t see them slipping with ample rest and preparation against a team they have defeated eight consecutive times.

In terms of player props, we love Jokic to be the series’ top points scorer (+175) and Michael Porter Jr. to finish with the most three-pointers in the series (+200). Looking for a Lakers player prop or two? Consider LeBron to finish with the most assists in the series (+175) and AD to pull down the most rebounds (-105), but understand that betting against Joker can be a futile act.

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