NBA Picks - Denver Nuggets vs. Los Angeles Lakers (May 3, 2021)
With the 20 postseason teams looking more locked in by the day, the importance of the NBA’s final 14 days will center around playoff positioning, where a Conference Finals rematch takes center stage on Monday night.
When Jamal Murray went down with a torn ACL 10 games ago, it looked like the Nuggets’ season was essentially over. Yes, they still had the presumptive MVP, without their primary perimeter threat to take over games like he did repeatedly in the Orlando bubble, there would be something missing that Denver wouldn’t be able to replicate.
So much for that. Since the last game Murray played, the Nuggets are 9-1 with the third best net rating in the league. It’s an incredibly impressive show of resiliency from the team that beat the Clippers on Saturday night to catapult themselves into third place in the West.
It also should be taken with a grain of salt. Aside from the Clippers, who have been scuffling to the tune of three straight losses, the Nuggets didn’t beat a top-six team from either conference during that stretch. They’re also just 5-5 against the spread in that time, with four wins by two possessions or less.
Now, they’ll be back in the same arena where they took care of business on Saturday, except this time against the defending champs who are finally fully healthy. With so little breathing room between them and the necessity of going through a play-in game, LA shouldn’t be able to afford to let up, and yet they’ve scuffled immensely since LeBron’s return, and now are playing on the second night of a back to back.
This line doesn’t factor in these teams recent performance nearly enough.
The Pick: Nuggets -2.5 @ -105 (Click here to bet)
Other NBA Games - Monday, May 3
Indiana Pacers at Washington Wizards
It was against the Thunder, but the Pacers are coming off a game they won by 57 point and are giving up a multiple possession spread against the Wizards, who have given up 125 and 146 points in two of their last four games. Their defense can still be had, and it will be here. Take Indy.
Portland Trail Blazers at Atlanta Hawks
The Hawks are suddenly uneven after an unreal two months, and are 5-5 in their last 10 games, while Portland has won and covered four straight. Go with the hot team.
Philadelphia 76ers at Chicago Bulls
Philly has won four straight while the Bulls have lost three consecutive games. The Sixers are in a dogfight for the top seed, which matters in the East this season. They’ll take care of business.
Golden State Warriors at New Orleans Pelicans
Do the Pels have a last gasp in them? They’re three games back of the Warriors with eight to play, and by net rating, they’ve been the better team of late. With a one-possession spread, that’s enough to go with the home team.
San Antonio Spurs at Utah Jazz
In their last five games, Utah has one 50-point win in Sacramento sandwiched between four losses against the spread to the Suns and three teams who won’t be in the postseason. The Spurs face them for two straight in Utah, starting tonight. Probably a stay away given the Jazz’s volatility, but go with the Spurs if you must; Utah has dropped five straight at home against the spread.
Orlando Magic at Detroit Pistons
A meaningless game between two teams who have continued to fight hard pretty much every night. The Pistons are getting points. That’s enough to take Orlando.
Monday, May 3 NBA Expert Picks
Nuggets -2.5 @ -105 (Click here to bet)
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