The last time the Lakers and Nuggets met, the former had a wildly, drastically different team. Not only was it prior to the deadline, it was a version of the Lakers resting a number of players, resulting in a starting lineup that included Thomas Bryant, Juan Toscano-Anderson, and Max Christie.
Four months later, the two teams meet again in much higher stakes with the Lakers sporting a much different roster. Realistically, only two players who featured in that contest — Dennis Schröder and Wenyen Gabriel — will see any meaningful minutes in this series.
Even taking that into account, though, the oddsmakers — and basically everyone — aren’t backing the new-look Lakers in the upcoming series.
We’ve already looked at the NBA Finals odds, which the Lakers are a distant third behind the Nuggets and Celtics. That foretells the odds for this specific series as the Lakers are once again the underdogs.
According to DraftKings, Denver is -160 favorites to win the series while the Lakers are coming in at +135 odds. What is more interesting, though, is the odds on the correct score of the series.
The current favorite is the Nuggets in seven games at +290 odds. After that, though, the next betting favorite is the Lakers in six games at +390 odds. Obviously, the Lakers have won each of their series in six games which likely weighs into those odds.
The next two odds are Nuggets in five (+475) and Nuggets in six (+550) before the Lakers in seven (+600). The Nuggets sweeping (+1000), the Lakers winning in five (+1100), and the Lakers sweeping (+1500) are the bottom three in odds.
If the Lakers are going to win this series, there’s a pretty good argument that they do it in six games again. They’ve generally gone hard in Game 1 after having rest between series and then hold serve on their home court. It’s hard to really envision them winning in any other way asides from potentially a game seven when anything can happen.
In that case, it might make more sense to bet on Lakers in six than them winning the series. Either way, you’re going to get good value on bets because the Lakers are once again underdogs.