Denver Nuggets (1) v LA Lakers (7) Game 2 Props
Game 1 between the Nuggets and Lakers was amazing. Jokic had the game won on his own in the first half so it seemed, but then the Lakers made some adjustments and having been 21 down and having given up 72 points in the first half, LeBron had a shot to tie the game in the last minute.
Anyone looking at the box score will see Joker had 31 points, 21 rebounds and 14 assists, but given he did most of that damage early in the game, what are the betting opportunities as we look ahead to game 2?
The Lakers adjustments were fascinating, and I’d expect Rui Hachimura to play a bigger part in game 2. Switching him to guard Joker not only allowed Anthony Davis to be a roving shot-blocking menace, it cut out the easy offensive rebounds the Nuggets big man was getting when AD was leaving him to challenge shots early in the game. Jokic had 16 rebounds at the half in game 1, so only 5 in the second half after Darvin Ham made his changes.
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Hachimura also brings a lot of size, something that is important against the Nuggets. As well as 7-footer Jokic, they start 6-foot-10 Michael Porter Jnr and 6-foot-8 Aaron Gordon (who can jump out of the building) in the front line. With 6-foot-5 KCP and 6-foot-4 Jamal Murray, that doesn’t leave a natural match up for the Lakers point guards, Dennis Schroder and D’Angelo Russell. Expect one of them to drop out of the starting line-up for Hachimura and both to struggle to put up numbers with their playing time cut.
Of course Mike Malone will be looking to adjust to the adjustments, and one I can see will be asking Gordon to play more on the perimeter, where he should get some open threes with AD protecting the basket. He has to hit them of course (he went 0 for 3 in game 1) but the opportunity will be there.
These are the lines I’ll be looking for and my potential leans:
Hachimura points (over)
Schroder points (under)
Russell points (under)
Gordon threes (over)