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Nuggets vs. Lakers Game 3 Preview and Picks

Nuggets vs. Lakers Game 3 Preview and Picks

NUGGETS VS. LAKERS GAME 3 PREVIEW AND PICKS – Greeting basketball fans. Welcome back to our NBA playoffs coverage here at Godzilla Wins. Today’s featured game is the top-seeded Denver Nuggets taking on the No. 7 seed Los Angeles Lakers.

Can the duo of LeBron James and Anthony Davis will the Lakers to a must-win in Game 3, or will the Nuggets take another step towards the franchise’s first trip to the NBA Finals? But before we look too far ahead, here’s a look at which team has the edge and why as the scene shifts to Los Angles for Game 3.

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The Odds






Denver Nuggets

(2-0 SU in Series) 





Los Angeles Lakers

(0-2 SU in Series) 






When: Saturday, May 20, 2023 at 8:30 PM ET

Where: Arena, Los Angeles, CA


Public Money: Lakers, 54%

Public Bets: Lakers, 92%

Odds courtesy of DraftKings as of May 20, 2023

How We Got Here

Denver finished with the best record in the Western Conference. As a surprise to no one, they eliminated the Minnesota Timberwolves in five games in the opening round of the playoffs, pitting them against the Phoenix Suns in the conference semifinals. The home team won each time through the first five games. That trend changed in Game 6, as the Nuggets coasted to a 125-100 victory to advance to the conference finals for the second time in four seasons, facing the same team that eliminated them in five games in the NBA playoff bubble three years ago.

Meanwhile, the Lakers’ postseason has been a bit different. They needed to win a play-in game to capture the No. 7 seed in the conference playoff race. They managed to dispatch the second-seeded Memphis Grizzlies in six games, setting them up with a second-round matchup against the defending champion Golden State Warriors. And for the second straight series, the Lakers earned a split in the first two road games of the series. When it was all said and done, the Lakers won the series in six games, marking the second time that James’ teams defeated the Warriors in a postseason series in five tries. Curry and Co.

bested James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in three of the four NBA Finals matchups from 2015-2018. After knocking out the champs, the Lakers came into this conference finals matchup against the Nuggets with great confidence.

However, Denver quickly proved it is NOT the same team the Lakers ousted in five games in the 2020 playoffs. While James (26 points, 12 boards, and nine assists) and Anthony Davis (40 points and 10 rebounds) did their part, the Nuggets edged the Lakers 132-126 to take the series opener.

Nikola Jokic dropped a triple-double that included a team-high 34 points to go along with 21 rebounds and 14 dimes. Jamal Murray also contributed 31 points on 12-for-20 shooting from the floor and 4-for-8 from beyond the arc.

While the narrative following Game 1 was more about the Lakers losing the game than the Nuggets winning the opener, Denver was determined to prove that the team’s win in Game 1 was no fluke.

How did they respond? Quite nicely. As expected, the Lakers played much better than they did in the first half of Game 1. In the final frame, however, Denver outscored Los Angeles 32-24 en route to a 108-103 victory, and a 2-0 lead in the series.

Just like in the series opener, Jokic and Murray paced the scoring attack for the Nuggets. Jokic finished with yet another triple-double (23 points, 17 rebounds, and 12 assists). This was his fourth consecutive triple-double of the postseason. I should also mention that he averaged a triple-double in the six-game set against the Phoenix Suns.

Murray missed 12 of his first 17 shots of the game, but he came up clutch in the final frame. He converted six of his seven shot attempts and went 4-for-5 from three-point range on his way to a 23-point fourth quarter. Murray now has four postseason games in which he has scored 20-plus points in the fourth quarter.

With that in mind, the Lakers must find a way to slow this tandem down if they hope to send the series back to Denver tied at two games apiece.

Here are my betting picks for this pivotal Game 3.


The over/under for this contest opened at 222.5 points. That line has moved to 223 points, with the under attracting 62 percent of the cash, and the over attracting 64 percent of the tickets.

Here are some notable trends that suggest why taking the Under is the safe bet.

In Denver’s last 20 games, the Under is 13-6-1 when their opponents have scored more than 100 points in their previous outings. LA scored 103 points in Game 2.

The Under is 15-7-1 in the Nuggets’ last 23 games in which their opponent surrendered 100 or more points in its last outing. Denver scored 108 points against the Lakers in Game 2.

On the flip side of the coin, the Under is 4-1 in the Lakers’ five games following a straight-up (SU) loss.

The Under total has prevailed 12 times in the Lakers’ previous 17 games against teams with a winning percentage above .600. Denver finished the regular season with a .646 winning percentage.

Although the teams combined for a whopping 258 points in the series opener, they scored just 211 points in Game 2.

Prediction: Under 223 points

The Spread

No surprise here. The Lakers opened as a consensus four-point favorite. That line currently stands at (-5.5).

Denver is 11-4 ATS in its previous 15 contests against teams with an overall winning record. Conversely, the Nuggets are winless (0-3-1 ATS) in their last four conference finals games.

Additionally, the Nuggets are just 1-5 ATS in the last six games in Los Angeles and 1-4 ATS in the last five meetings between these two teams.

The Lakers are a perfect 6-0 ATS in their last six home games. They are also 6-0 ATS when facing teams with a losing road record. The Nuggets were 19-22 on the road this season.

The Lakers are 4-1 ATS in the last five times they have played on one day of rest. And they are 19-7 ATS in their last 26 games following an SU loss.

With their backs against the wall, I am picking the Lakers to break into the win column and cover the spread as well.

Prediction: Lakers (-5.5)

Player Prop Bet

My key player to watch in Game 3 is Jamal Murray. He currently has -125 odds to score more than 24.5 points and -105 odds to score less than 24.5 points.

In seven playoff games against the Lakers, Murray is averaging 27.6 points, 6.7 assists, and 5.3 rebounds. It is also worth noting that he has posted six 30-plus outings this postseason, including 31, and 37 points in the first two games of this series.

That said, I am going with the over for Murray.

Prediction: Jamal Murray Over 24.5 points

James’s Picks

  • Under 223

  • Lakers -5.5

  • Jamal Murray Over 24.5 point

Read more playoff coverage here!



  • James Tillman III, Contributor

    James is an accounting professional by day and a freelance writer at night. James has been publishing sports content for over 13 years for various outlets. The list includes FanSided, Latest Basketball News, Odds USA, Last Word on Sports, (OBCOM), and Sportsbook Review James always researches team/player trends to ensure he is offering his betting audience the best advice possible. Simply put, he takes his writing very seriously. He is an NBA handicapper who keeps a watchful eye on most of the sports leagues. His preferences, when it comes to betting content, pertain to the NBA and the NFL. Alongside his work for Godzilla Wins and, James has also published sports betting content with other betting sites such as ODDS USA and Eat Watch Bet. Although betting on sports is never an exact science, James always does his best to keep it simple when it comes to offering predictions on games, which in turn, inspires confidence in novice bettors.

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1 Comment

  1. Valerie

    I am going with the Denver Nuggets tonight in game 3. Lebron James pulled a great theater move in game 2 and the referee gave him the call but it was sheer theater. Tonight I’ m looking for the Nuggetts to pull away with a 3rd game victory! Go Denver Nuggets!

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