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LeBron James is 9-2 for his career in possible conference finals-clinching games. The coach responsible for those two losses, Frank Vogel, is now on his side. Discounting the Denver Nuggets at this point in the postseason seems foolhardy, but would you rather be wrong about them, or LeBron freaking James? No more preamble. Time for today’s best bets as the Lakers punch their ticket to the Finals for the first time in a decade. 

All lines via William Hill Sportsbook

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Denver Nuggets: Lakers -5

The Lakers have won their two closeout games this postseason by a combined 32 points. They weren’t that close on paper. LeBron James has won his past six conference final-clinching games by a combined 145 points. When he smells blood in the water, it gets ugly really quickly. Denver is used to 3-1 deficits, but closeout-game LeBron is another beast altogether. It was an admirable effort and much closer than the series margin will suggest, but the Lakers are headed to the Finals on Saturday. 

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Denver Nuggets: Over 213.5 

Three of the four games in this series have come in over this total, and while some hot Lakers shooting and excessive overall free-throw shooting has helped, neither team has struggled much to find good shots. The Lakers have been able to generate the transition looks they are used to, but aside from the LeBron James-catch all cure, they haven’t found an answer to the Jamal Murray-Nikola Jokic pick-and-roll. If the shooting cools off, this line is in jeopardy, but offense has been the name of the game so far. 

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Denver Nuggets: Anthony Davis Under 28.5 Points

Anthony Davis has averaged 32.3 points per game in this series, but that has come through a combination of good health and unsustainable shooting. Davis has made 51.8 percent of his mid-range looks in this series, and as a point of comparison, Kevin Durant came in at 49.5 percent last postseason. Speaking of Durant, we have to consider Davis’ health. He’s expected to play through a sprained left ankle, but that doesn’t mean he’ll be at 100 percent. Davis will still be a star in this game, but it wouldn’t be the end of the world if he took his foot off of the gas pedal a little bit. 


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