Lakers vs. Nuggets (-4½, 208½) – 9:05 pm ET (ESPN)
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Updated betting odds
When a 7-game series is tied 1-1, the winner of Game 3 has historically won that series 76% of the time. The updated series odds now reflect this fact as Los Angeles is a -360 favorite, while Denver is a +300 underdog, even though the Nuggets are favored in Game 4 tonight. Phil Jackson coached teams are also a perfect 42-0 in their series if they won Game 1, compared to just 6-8 if they lost the first game.
The early money has come in on the Nuggets as Denver opened as a 4-point favorite on Sunday and the line was quickly bet up to -4½ in most locations. It appears to be sharp money as the public is actually backing the Lakers with 53% supporting them at Wagerline.com.
There has been early money on the Under as the opening line of 210½ has already dropped a full two points down to 208½. This once again appears to be sharp money as 58% of the Wagerline.com contestants are currently backing the Over.
Mile High Advantage
The Nuggets suffered a rare home loss on Saturday in Game 3, but they are still a strong 39-9 SU and 29-18-1 ATS at home this season, including 27-17 ATS as a home favorite. The Nuggets are winning by an average margin of +8.1 points per game at home and outshooting their opponents 47.9% to 43.6% from the field.
Two of Denver’s nine home losses have actually come against the Lakers this season as Los Angeles won 104-97 back on November 1st and then again on Saturday night in Game 3. Los Angeles has been a strong road team all season with a 32-15 SU record and they have been particularly strong when facing a quality opponent with an 8-1 ATS record as an underdog this season and overall the Lakers are now 23-11 ATS as a road underdog the past two years.
Largest Lead = Loss
This has been an extremely competitive series and the team that has held the largest lead has lost all three games so far. The Nuggets blew a 13-point advantage in Game 1 and ended up losing 105-103 even though the Lakers never led by more than four points in the entire game. Similar situation in Game 2 as Los Angeles blew a 14-point lead and allowed the Nuggets to pull the 106-103 upset. Denver then blew an 8-point lead entering the fourth quarter on Saturday in Game 3 and the Lakers 103-97 win represented their largest lead of the entire game.
Fourth quarter breakdown
There has been a free throw discrepancy in the fourth quarter as the Lakers are 31-for-41 from the line, while the Nuggets are just 26-for-31, with ten less free throw attempts in the final quarter. Denver is also making mental mistakes with costly turnovers late in the game and for the second time in three games, Trevor Ariza stole a Nuggets’ inbound pass in the final seconds. This time Kenyon Martin tried to inbound the ball as opposed to Anthony Carter’s failed inbound attempt in Game 1.
“I think Ariza does an excellent job at not letting guys get a body on him (in picks). He’s long and athletic”, commented Kenyon Martin.
The steal caused Carmelo Anthony to foul out of the game as he was forced to foul Ariza. “It was kind of deja vu,” Anthony said.