• Los Angeles Lakers vs. Denver Nuggets
• Thursday, Feb. 8 at 7:30 p.m. ET
• Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles, Calif.
Before the season started, had you told us the Denver Nuggets and Los Angeles Lakers were getting ready to face off, you’d think it’d be a preview of the Western Conference Finals. However, that doesn’t seem to be the case, as Denver has stayed hot, but things aren’t going too well for LeBron James and Co. Despite that, whenever these two teams go to battle, there’s plenty of energy. With that said, the Lakers are looking to take down the Nuggets on their home floor this week. Will they get it done?
Come Thursday night, the Lakers and Nuggets indeed will meet at the Crypto.com Arena in the City of Angels. This has been a different kind of season for both of these teams. While the Lakers were able to win the mid-season tournament, they haven’t been able to consistently perform at a high level. You’d think this would never be the case with James and Anthony Davis on the hardwood together.
|LA vs. Denver odds
|Nuggets to win
|Lakers to win
|Over 195 points
|Under 195 points
As for Denver, they’re still riding the high of winning the NBA Finals title last season. Nikola Jokic, Michael Porter Jr., Jamal Murray and others are looking fantastic this year. Denver is in a great position to potentially repeat, but there are other teams who will be hoping to prevent them from doing that. Despite such high competition for the Larry O’Brien Trophy, the Nuggets will continue to prove that they don’t fear any team. This includes the Thursday tilt in LA.
According to the best-rated sportsbooks, which includes the reliable Bovada review, the Nuggets are the favorites with -110 NBA betting odds. The Lakers are the home team for this epic contest, but they’re also the underdogs with their +125 betting odds. If things fall perfectly for the Lakers, then we’d say that they have a great chance to post a close victory. However, with how inconsistent they’ve been, we’re going with the Nuggets as our pick.
For the first time in his career, Jamal has finished with a double-double in back-to-back games 🏹
2/2: 13 PTS & 10 AST
2/4: 21 PTS & 10 AST pic.twitter.com/rua8AdCFlE
— Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) February 5, 2024
Nikola Jokic is the new favorite to win the NBA MVP
With the news that 76ers star Joel Embiid has undergone knee surgery, you better believe that Nikola Jokic is the new favorite to win the NBA MVP. Previously, these two were in a head-to-head battle to try and take home the NBA’s highest individual honor. However, the awful update on Embiid just came in and it hurts Philly’s chances of trying to go on a strong run this month as well. Others will have to step up, no doubt.
Having said that, Jokic has proven countless times that he’s the class of the NBA and he was a major reason why Denver was able to win the NBA Finals last season. Jokic is a talented big man who can knock down shots from all over the floor. With his fantastic size too, he’s tremendous at rebounding the ball and boxing players out. With the way he has looked this season, it almost feels like it’d be a surprise if he didn’t win MVP.
Nikola Jokic’s pump fake had Deandre Ayton LOST 😂pic.twitter.com/IdhKg5Pq5S
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPoints) February 5, 2024
“We continue to see different things each night that takes a different look to see how much we can use Paul (Reed) and how much we can get out of Mo (Bamba),” head coach Nike Nurse said on the Embiid injury. “Paul is a hustle, put-back guy and Mo is a caretaker of the ball on offense going side to side and blocking shots. They have to cover the 48 minutes — especially for now and we believe in them.”
According to the oddsmakers, Jokic now holds +375 NBA betting odds to win MVP. Had Embiid been able to stay healthy this season, then we think he would have had the best chance to win. Before going down with his injury, the All-Star talent was producing 35.3 points per game. With Embiid sidelined, it’s clear who the favorite is to win MVP. We’re 100 percent going to go with Jokic as our pick.
The Nuggets and Lakers have much different NBA Finals odds
It goes without saying, but the Nuggets and Lakers have much different NBA Finals odds at this point in the campaign. As of this writing, Denver has a 35-16 record and they’re 0.5 games back for first place in the Western Conference standings. Meanwhile for Los Angeles, things have not gone according to plan this season.
The Lakers are 27-25 this season and in ninth place in the conference standings. This is a team that a lot of people expected would push for an NBA Finals title. Instead, it’s up in the air if they’ll even be able to sneak into the playoffs. It’s going to be on James and Davis to get that done.
According to experts in Las Vegas, the Nuggets hold +420 NBA Finals betting odds, which is second only behind the Boston Celtics. The Lakers are totally out of the picture with their +2500 betting odds. Denver has what it takes to repeat as the champs, which is why a lot of people are picking them to win it all again. As for the Lakers, we wouldn’t recommend taking them to capture the glory. They’re just not a good enough team to do so.