Nuggets vs. Lakers NBA Pick – January 17th

The NBA’s most-anticipated game since Christmas lived up to the hype.  But only if you are a Warriors fan.  Golden State jumped ALL over the defending champs, scoring 78 points in the first half en route to the largest ever regular season defeat in a matchup pitting the teams with the best records in their respective conferences.  It is just one game – and it is important to remember that the Cavaliers had won the previous four matchups – but it was an impressive reminder of just how high the ceiling is on this Kevin Durant version of the Golden State Warriors.

Elsewhere, we got a narrow cover as the Suns were unable to hold on to the outright victory at home, but they did cover another spread to get us our fifth win in six NBA plays.  And though it wasn’t my pick, and it wasn’t a game many people noticed; things are getting REALLY interesting with the Sixers.  They won on the road in Milwaukee yesterday for their fifth road win of the season.  They are not only winning some games, they are evolving into a quality basketball team that people have to begin taking seriously….

Today’s Free Pick:

Denver Nuggets at Los Angeles Lakers -2

This game is a great example of why responsible sports wagering and daily fantasy can be so great.  Is there any other reason to watch the last game on tonight’s NBA slate?  Neither one of these teams are particularly compelling and this game probably has a bigger impact on draft positioning than it does playoff long-shot dreams.  But from a wagering perspective, I like the line a great deal.

The Lakers and Nuggets have both been poor against the number lately; the Lakers 1-4 ATS in their last five, the Nuggets a miserable 3-8 ATS in their last eleven.  The Lakers have been decent at home this season, but much of their positive numbers is skewed by an unlikely 10-10 start to the season that has since given way to a 5-20 streak and a plummeting back to the bottom of the standings.  Their most recent home outing was a five point loss to the slumping Pistons who hadn’t won in Staples in years.

The Lakers have a losing ATS record at home and a losing ATS record as a home favorite.  The Nuggets are slightly positive ATS in both categories on the road and as a road underdog.  But the biggest thing I like about Denver tonight is the fact that they have won six straight in Staples and haven’t lost a game to the Lakers since the 2011-2012 season.  This visit they face a Lakers team that played yesterday and is playing really, really poorly.

Neither one of these teams defends much, so expect a high-scoring game.  That favors the Nuggets who at least score well and average five points a game more than the Lakers and do such in a more efficient manner.

I’ll take the Nuggets to continue the Lakers woes with a road win.

Today’s Free Pick:  Denver Nuggets +2

Chris Scheeren / Author