Lakers vs Nuggets Picks and Predictions for February 14

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Updated: February 14, 2021

There’s no love lost between the Los Angeles Lakers and Denver Nuggets, who clash in a Valentine’s Day rumble in the Rocky Mountains Sunday night.

The Nuggets are 3.5-point NBA betting underdogs, welcoming the defending NBA champs to the Pepsi Center. These Western Conference rivals met just 10 days ago, with the Lakers making a statement in a 114-93 victory in L.A.—the first meeting between these clubs since the Western finals back in the Bubble.

Here are our NBA free picks and predictions for Lakers vs. Nuggets on February 14.

Los Angeles Lakers at Denver Nuggets betting preview

Injuries

Lakers: Anthony Davis F (Questionable), Montrezl Harrell F (Questionable), Alex Caruso G (Probable).
Nuggets: Jamal Murray G (Questionable), Gary Harris G (Out), Will Barton G (Out), P.J. Dozier G (Out).
Find our latest NBA injury reports.

Betting trend to know

The Nuggets are 2-7-1 ATS in their last 10 games as underdogs. Find more NBA betting trends for Lakers vs. Nuggets.

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Denver opened as low as a +1.5 home underdog and has been bet up to as high as +3.5 before buyback on the Nuggets moved the spread back to +3 at some sportsbooks. The total opened as low as 214.5 points and was steamed to as high as 219.5 before buyback on the Under dropped the number to 216.5 points. Check back later for a full report from Patrick!

Check out the full line movement for this game

Against the spread (ATS) pick

The Lakers have been sleepwalking since that win over the Nuggets on February 4. Los Angeles is 4-0 SU in that span but escaped with three overtime wins and owns a 1-4 ATS record in that stretch. But don’t mistake L.A.’s complacency for weakness.

That friendly span of schedule – Detroit, Oklahoma City (twice) and Memphis – all came at home and allowed the Lakers a mental rest spot of sorts before their next major challenge, which so happens to be Denver again.

The Nuggets got right with back-to-back home wins over Cleveland and OKC, which snapped a three-game slide that kicked off with the road loss at the Staples Center earlier in the month. Denver’s defense continues to be an issue, having little trouble wrangling poor offenses like the last two foes but getting run out of the gym by quality scoring attacks.

Their backcourt is a MASH unit with Gary Harris, P.J. Dozier and Will Barton out for Sunday and star guard Jamal Murray listed as questionable. He’s been nursing an ankle injury, which has slowed his production, averaging only 15.3 points this month.

The Nuggets need all hands on deck (which they don’t have) to defeat LeBron James and the Lakers, and just haven’t been able to get over the hump when it comes to staking their claim among the NBA’s elite. Outside of a home win over Utah on January 31 (an off game from Donovan Mitchell), the Nuggets really lack resume victories. They’re 2-6 SU and ATS when set as underdogs—a damning stat when it comes to facing top-tier competition.

Los Angeles has enjoyed a cakewalk the past few games but flips that championship switch Sunday night.

PREDICTION: Los Angeles -3.5 (-110)

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Over/Under pick

Anthony Davis is probably a question mark for every Lakers game going forward while dealing with a nagging Achilles, but he took two games off and returned with a bang against the Grizzlies Friday.

Davis scored 35 points, pulled down nine rebounds and blocked one shot while helping put the clamps on Memphis in the second half (just 46 total points allowed in the final 24 minutes). He told reporters he’s not trying to rest, and the injury doesn’t pose a big risk if he plays—it’s just more about discomfort.

Davis will want to show up for this key conference clash versus MVP candidate Nikola Jokic, who has carried the Nuggets the past month. Denver’s versatile big was locked up for only 16 points on 6-for-16 shooting versus L.A. on February 4. Jokic will also see his share of Lakers forward Montrezl Harrell, who is expected to play after clearing concussion protocols following a friendly-fire elbow to the face Friday.

That could put Denver’s scoring load on Michael Porter Jr., who has been hot and cold this month. Porter Jr. has totaled 34 points the past two games but just 24 combined the three games prior. And with the Nuggets’ backcourt threats missing or slowed by injury, that allows James to set his sights on the Nuggets’ young small forward. Porter Jr. had only eight points on 3-for-13 shooting the last time around versus the Lakers.

Denver has had trouble producing in second halves with those injuries draining the tanks, leaving the Nuggets to score only 54.6 points per final 24 minutes in February. Los Angeles stakes its claim as the NBA’s premier defense by slamming the door in the closing two quarters, giving up a league-low 50.3 second-half points per game, including just 44.7 over the past three outings.

PREDICTION: Under 215.5 (-110)

Player prop pick

Look at the top of the MVP futures and you’ll find LeBron. “The Chosen One” has put some serious space between him and the rest of the MVP hopefuls with his recent efforts, averaging 27 points, 8.5 rebounds and 9.5 assists through six games this month.

James’ dominance allowed the Lakers to somewhat cruise in the past four outings without dropping in the standings, putting the team on his shoulders while AD rested and allowing a mental break for the defending champs, who had little offseason rest before the start of the 2020-21 campaign.

LeBron will draw everything Denver’s got left on Sunday, which means his focus will be on playing shutdown defense and finding open teammates. James had 10 assists versus the Nuggets earlier in the month and averaged 10 dimes per game in eight meetings with Denver in the regular season and playoffs last year.

He could match or even top that total tonight, spreading the love around on Valentine’s Day.

PREDICTION: LeBron James Over 8.5 assists (-107)

Lakers vs Nuggets betting card

  • Los Angeles -3.5 (-110)
  • Under 215.5 (-110)
  • LeBron James Over 8.5 assists (-107)

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