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2009 NBA Playoff Betting: Nuggets vs. Lakers Predictions

WESTERN CONFERENCE FINALS

Los Angeles Lakers (1) vs. Denver (2)

The Lakers seem to be oblivious to the rest of the league, and that attitude bit them in their butts three times against Houston. Maybe they were never in danger of being taken out by the Rockets, but it forced them into playing another belly-to-the-wall game in Game 7 that may have drained them of energy they’ll need against Denver.

For Laker toadies, the party line reads something like this: We got to the Finals last year without Andrew Bynum. We have Kobe Bryant, who can score on anyone. We may slip up every now and then, but come on, does anyone really think the Nuggets will beat us?

OK, Bryant is the best player in the league west of the Cuyahoga River in Ohio, the Lakers have plenty of playoff experience and David Stern clutches his chest at the mere thought of an Orlando-Denver Finals. But something is happening in Denver, and the Lakers will have to deal with it starting Tuesday night.

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First off, the Nuggets have proven in the playoffs that their 54-28 record in the regular season was not fool’s gold. The early-season trade of Allen Iverson to Detroit for Chauncey Billups finally gave the Nuggets some credibility, and Billups has been immense in playoff series wins over the Hornets (he outplayed Chris Paul, no easy feat) and Mavericks.  

Billups has brought some sanity and professionalism to a team that had been sorely lacking in both. When your best player (Carmelo Anthony) is a problem, the team has a problem. But with Billups on board and the team winning, Anthony has toned down his act and now has the chance to prove, on a national stage, that he is not the punk that everything has said he is. Ditto for tough guy Kenyon Martin.

America is a country built on second chances, and the Nuggets have the chance now to eradicate five straight first-round playoff exits and rebuild their reputations at the same time.

Season series: Lakers 2-1

Head to head results:

(at) Los Angeles 116, Denver 102

(at) Denver 90, Los Angeles 79

(at) Los Angeles 104, Denver 97

Western Conference Finals Schedule:

Game 1: Tuesday, May 19 at Lakers, 9:00 PM ESPN
Game 2: Thursday, May 21at Lakers, 9:00 PM ESPN 
Game 3: Saturday, May 23 at Nuggets, 8:30 PM ABC 
Game 4: Monday, May 25 at Nuggets, 9:00 PM ESPN 
Game 5: Wednesday, May 27 at Lakers, 9:00 PM ESPN (if necessary)Sports Betting at the Sportsbook
Game 6: Friday, May 29 at Nuggets, 9:00PM ESPN (if necessary)
Game 7: Sunday, May 31at Lakers, 8:30PM ABC (if necessary)

Western Conference Finals Playoff Betting Trends: Denver comes in on your basic tear, with 22 wins in its last 27 games. Three of the losses were on the road by a total of 7 points, and another was a meaningless game in the regular season finale. The Nuggets have covered the spread in all 10 of their playoff games, and have scored in triple digits in 9 of them. Billups is on the back nine but still has some tread left. The Lakers, on the other hand, seem to hit the accelerator only to pass. No one seems to know what to make of the turds they dropped in Games 1, 4 and 6 against Houston. Showtime 2.0 went for triple digits only three times in the Houston series.

How Denver wins: This is doable without making deals with the devil. Off guard Dahntay Jones is a reasonably good defender and will make Bryant work for his shots. Nene, Martin and reserve big Chris Anderson spook Pau Gasol and the Lakers front line, which folded like an accordion against the Celtics in the Finals last year. Denver hires a security guard to keep Carmelo Anthony out of trouble when the Nuggets are in LA.

How Los Angeles wins: 1. The Laker bigs don’t freak out when Martin starts throwing elbows and 2. Bynum stays active enough to let Gasol hit the offensive boards. 3. Bryant, who won’t have to expend a lot of energy chasing around the offensively-challenged Dahntay Jones, stays fresh and out of foul trouble, freed up to do what he does best on the offensive end.

Prediction: The Lakers proved in the Houston series that they could win on the road, but that was then and this is now, and you have to love the way the planets are aligned for Denver. The Nuggets are hitting their stride at the right time, they have enough offense to match LA and they have a trigger man (Billups) who knows what has to be done to win a ring. The series is best-of-7, but so much will be determined in the first two games in Hollywood. Denver coach George Karl would donate a lung to head to Denver with a split. If the Lakers get down, Bryant will likely to try to take matters into his own hands. Denver comes into the series at +230 (getting 6½ in the opener) and may be a bargain. 

Western Conference Finals Prediction:

DENVER in 7.

Get all your NBA Playoff betting odds at Bodog Sportsbook !!!

 

Lawrence Paul is a regular contributor to the Cappers Picks Blog, and is a free-lance gambling and travel writer from Massachusetts.

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About Lawrence Paul

Lawrence Paul is back in the saddle as a regular contributor to the Cappers Picks Blog. He's got an AMAZING knack for predicting when a team will have a letdown! Stick with our resident gambling experts sports betting tips all season long!


Comments

Comments

  1. Denver does match up well against the Lakers and LA has shown they can be beat. Experience still is a factor and the Lakers are still ahead in this catagory. I think they find a way to win this series but it will not be easy. Lakers in 7.

  2. The Lakers are awake now. Denver will push them but they will rise to the challenge. Lakers win series in 6 games.

  3. NBA Odds says:

    Is there any money to be made in the western conference finals? Predicting that the average point spread will be <3 with the home fav. Smart money is on the Eastern finals riding the Orlando magic and taking the points, as Magic will stretch this series or even surprise.

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