NBA Playoffs 2012: Denver Nuggets vs. Los Angeles Lakers

Denver Nuggets at Los Angeles Lakers
Sunday, 4/29/12, 3:35 PM EST, TV:  ABC
Opening Point Spread:  Los Angeles -4.5
Current Betting Line:  Los Angeles -4.5
Opening Total:  202.5
Current Total:  201.5
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

Lakers Nuggets NBA Game Preview
The Los Angeles Lakers are 2-10 ATS in their last 12 games as a home favorite

Denver won eight of its final 10 games to earn the No. 6 seed in the Western Conference for the 2012 NBA playoffs, as the team also finished with a winning 18-15 mark on the road.  The Nuggets will not be intimidated in this series, capturing seven of the last 12 regular season meetings with the Lakers, but only four of 29 on the road in this series.  “They have more talent than we probably have,” commented Nuggets head coach George Karl.  “I think we rely on teamwork more than they do.”  Denver is 8-1 as a road underdog of 3.5 to 6 points, with the “over” being 5-4 in that situation.

The Nuggets are extremely balanced offensively with four starters averaging in double figures, with point guard Ty Lawson leading the way in averaging 16.4 points per game.  Denver paced the entire NBA in scoring 104.1 points per game, finishing with a winning record for the ninth straight season.  The franchise has advanced beyond its opening series seven times (7-15), which pales in comparison to Los Angeles going 26-7 in its 33 attempts in the first round.

Los Angeles definitely used the Staples Center to its advantage over the course of the 2011-12 campaign, finishing with a 26-7 overall record, including a 19-5 mark versus Western foes.  The Lakers are led by star guard Kobe Bryant, who finished second in the NBA in averaging 27.9 points per game, but they also have an All-Star center that’s enjoying his best season as a pro.  Andrew Bynum averaged 18.7 points and 11.8 rebounds during the regular season.  Los Angeles is 5-6 as a home favorite of 3.5 to 6 points, while the “over” is 8-3 in that situation.

The Lakers won season series with the Nuggets, 3-1, which included two wins at today’s venue.  Total players will definitely take note that all four games this year went “under” the total.  Los Angeles definitely knows the importance of winning Game 1, as teams that have accomplished that feat in best-of-seven series are 330-93 (.780) to advance to the next round.  The Lakers are a dominating 76-17 in postseason home games since moving to the Staples Center before the 1999-2000 season.

Bettors will likely back the Nuggets due to their 25-8 ATS mark as a road underdog, while the Lakers are 2-10 ATS as a home favorite.

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