LA Lakers vs. Denver Nuggets Preview and Pick – Point Spread – Betting Odds

L.A. Lakers (55-22 SU 32-43-2 ATS) vs. Denver Nuggets (51-27 SU 32-40-5 ATS) Pepsi Center, Denver, CO 1030 PM EST Thursday April 8, 2010 on TNT
by Jason Green at

Point Spread: Lakers +2 / Nuggets -2
Over/Under: 203.5

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Tonight in the Mile High City the Denver Nuggets host the L.A. Lakers. The Lakers will, likely, get the top seed in the Western Conference playoffs while the Nuggets playoff position is up in the air. Denver is tied with Dallas and Phoenix for the 2nd spot only game ahead of Utah, so they want to finish the season strong to host a 1st round playoff series.

It is important that Denver finishes in the top 4, at least, to be at home for the 1st round of the post-season, as they 2 games under .500 on the road this season.

The Lakers are coming off a loss and are 6-4 in their last 10 games and the Nuggets have won 3 in a row and are 5-5 in their last 10 games.

This season the Nuggets are 32-6 at home and the Lakers are 22-16 on the road.

The Lakers will not have the best record in the league, as the Cleveland Cavaliers have already wrapped that up and will host all the playoff series’ they play in.

Kobe Bryant has struggled the last couple of games and the Lakers really need him to play well tonight, especially since Andrew Bynum is still out. With Bynum out the Lakers have averaged around 8 points less then with their big man in the lineup.

The Nuggets went on a 1-5 slide a few games back, but have won 3 in a row and the main reason has been their defense. The Nuggets have not been a solid team on D this season, but in their 3-game winning streak they have held opponents to an average of 92 ppg.

The Nuggets need to suck it up as a team on the glass tonight, as they are still without leading rebounder Kenyon Martin.

The Nuggets won last night beating the Oklahoma City Thunder 98-94. The high scorer for Denver in the game was Chauncey Billups going for 31 points on 9/20 shooting. For the game the Nuggets did not have the best shooting game going 33/82 from the floor for a FG% of 40.2%. On defense the Nuggets allowed the Thunder to shoot 35/80 for a FG% of 43.8%.

The Lakers have had a bit of a break, as they have not played since losing on Sunday to the 100-81 to the San Antonio Spurs. The high scorer for L.A. in the game was Pau Gasol going for 32 points on 13/20 shooting. For the game the Lakers struggled shooting only going 33/81 for a paltry FG% of 40.7%. On D the Lakers did not have the best game allowing the Spurs to shoot 37/76 for a FG% of 48.7%.

This season the Nuggets rank 3rd in the league in scoring (106.7 ppg) and the Lakers rank 8th (102.1 ppg). On defense the Lakers rank 9th in opponents’ points allowed (97 ppg) and the Nuggets only rank 20th (102.3 ppg). The Lakers have been better this season on the boards with a rebounding differential of +2.2 rpg while the Nuggets are in the negative at -0.4 rpg.

According to the Sagarin NBA ratings the Lakers rank 3rd (95.61) and the Nuggets rank 6th (94.12).

L.A. is 7-15-1 ATS in their last 23 games and 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games as a road underdog of 0.5-4.5.

L.A. has an Under record of 7-3 in their last 10 games and an Under record of 10-2 in their last 12 games as a road underdog.

Denver is 2-9-1 ATS in their last 12 games, 1-4 ATS in their last 5 home games, and 1-7 ATS in their last 8 games as a favorite.

Denver has an Under record of 5-1 in their last 6 games and an Under record of 4-1 in their last 5 games as a home favorite.

On the injury front C Andrew Bynum is Out and SF Luke Walton is day-to-day for L.A. and PF Kenyon Martin is Out and C Chris Anderson, PF Malik Allen, and PG Chauncey Billups are all day-to-day for Denver.

Jason’s Pick: The Lakers have lost 3 out of their last 4 games. Denver is a tough place to play when you’re not firing on all cyclinders. Take the Nuggets to cover the spread.