Nuggets vs Lakers NBA Odds, Picks and Predictions May 3

Updated: May 3, 2021

The banged-up Lakers need star Anthony Davis to get going. He has struggled since coming back from injury, averaging only 16.5 points on 39 percent shooting through six games.

Photo By – USA TODAY Sports

Time is running out for the Los Angeles Lakers to work their way back into championship form, especially with LeBron James and others nursing ailments down the home stretch of the schedule.

The Lakers opened as NBA betting favorites at home against the Denver Nuggets on Monday. But with James as a question mark and Dennis Schroder out due to health protocols, the line has swung to Nuggets -4 with L.A. playing the second game of a back-to-back following a loss to Toronto.

Here are our free NBA picks and predictions for Nuggets vs. Lakers on May 3.

Nuggets vs Lakers odds

Odds via the Covers Line, an average comprised of odds from multiple sportsbooks.

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The Lakers opened as 1.5-point home favorites but injury concerns with L.A. quickly attracted action on Denver and books jumped the fence to Nuggets -4 before some buyback on L.A. showed at select books and settled the line at Denver -3.5. The total opened 219.5 and has plummeted to 214.5 points. Check back later for a full report from Patrick!

Check out the full line movement for this game

Nuggets at Lakers betting preview


Nuggets: Jamal Murray G (Out), Will Barton G (Out), Monte Morris G (Out).
Lakers: LeBron James F (Questionable), Dennis Schroder G (Out).
Find our latest NBA injury reports.

Betting trend to know

The Under is 11-1 in the Nuggets’ last 12 road games. Find more NBA betting trends for Nuggets vs. Lakers.

Against the spread (ATS) pick

James left Sunday’s contest versus the Raptors with a sore ankle in just his second game back after missing more than a month of action. There wasn’t a particular spot in which he reinjured his ankle and Toronto was holding a 14-point lead when he left the court in the fourth quarter, knowing this matchup with Denver was on the docket.

While suspicions are that LeBron will sit out Monday – if that line move holds any truth – Los Angeles can’t just rollover. The Lakers are desperately clinging to the fifth spot in the West but are separated by only tiebreakers with Portland (sixth) and Dallas (seventh). Los Angeles has lost three in a row and has a single victory in its last seven games, going 0-6-1 ATS in that span.

This lineup still features a prolific frontcourt combo of Anthony Davis and Andre Drummond, however, and meets a Nuggets squad leaning hard on Nikola Jokic — the NBA MVP favorite —  to overcome an injured-plagued backcourt.

Jokic has struggled against the L.A. defense in the previous two Lakers-Nuggets meetings, posting scores of 23 and 13 points on a combined 14 of 33 from the field, including just 1 for 5 from 3-point range.

Denver’s guards were able to pick up the slack in those outings but with Jamal Murray, Will Barton, and Monte Morris out with injuries, the Nuggets offense could come up short against a stingy Los Angeles team ranked No. 1 in the league in overall defensive rating (106.7). 

Losing LeBron doesn’t hurt as much as the line move would indicate, as L.A. has adapted to playing without him this spring. The loss of Schroder is more concerning, as he’s been a sparkplug for this offense and a solid perimeter defender.

I expect a bounce-back effort from the Lakers off a bad loss to Toronto. This is a prideful L.A. team feeling the crunch as the playoffs draw near. Grab as many points as you can with Los Angeles.

PREDICTION: Los Angeles +4 (-110)

Covers NBA betting analysis

Over/Under pick

The plan for Los Angeles is simple: beat up Jokic on both ends of the floor. Expect a physical outing from the Lakers frontcourt, as they take the ball out of Jokic’s hands and lean heavily on Davis and Drummond inside. Davis has been slow to return to his standout form, averaging only 16.5 points on 39 percent shooting in his first six games back from a calf injury.

Denver’s offense has held its own in recent weeks, averaging almost 119 points per game over its last 10 efforts. But those big scoring nights came against some of the worst defensive clubs in the NBA, including four meetings with either Memphis and Houston.

Defensively, the Nuggets have buckled down after losing so much scoring punch in the backcourt. They’ve gone 4-6 Over/Under in their last 10 contests and are an incredible 1-11 O/U in their last dozen road games.

This total has already dropped five points since opening, so you’re not getting the best of the number with the Under. But I don’t see much work for the scoreboard crew at the Staples Center tonight.

PREDICTION: Under 214.5 (-110)

Player prop pick

Check back soon once markets become available!

Nuggets vs Lakers betting card

  • Los Angeles +4 (-110)
  • Under 214.5 (-110)

Picks made on 5/03/2021 at 1:25 p.m. ET

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