NBA Betting Guide for Monday 5/22/23: Should We Bust Out the Brooms in Los Angeles?

Betting on the NBA can get a little overwhelming throughout the season because there are games every day, and there's just a lot to track throughout the season and entering every night -- spreads, over/unders, injuries, and so on.

But you can rely on numberFire to help. We have a detailed betting algorithm that projects out games to see how often specific betting lines hit. You can also track spread bet percentages at FanDuel Sportsbook.

Where can we identify value in tonight's NBA odds?

(All offensive, defensive, and net rating splits come from and account for medium-, high-, and very high-leverage situations unless otherwise noted. Unless otherwise noted, all injury news and notes come from the official NBA injury report.)

Denver Nuggets at Los Angeles Lakers

Los Angeles Lakers -3 (-110) - Lean

From a betting experience perspective, there's no doubt about the "right side" of tonight's game. I'm just not sure it's the correct side.

Despite the Denver Nuggets receiving upwards of 65% of bets and tickets at FanDuel Sportsbook, this line is trending toward four points in the opposite direction of the money. That's a red flag of red flags that really smart money believes in the Lakers tonight.

It's not that hard to imagine a talented team putting forth a last-ditch effort to not get swept at home, but Basketball Reference's Four Factors are heavily slanted the other way:

Team Pace eFG% TOV% ORB% FT/FGA ORtg PTS
DEN (3-0) 96.5 0.582 9.5 24.6 0.175 124.1 119.7
LAL (0-3) 96.5 0.538 9.8 16.1 0.272 116.5 112.3

With L.A. expectedly leading the free-throw battle and the turnovers nearly equal, they'd need just a more even split from the field and better effort on the offensive glass, which is where Denver is crushing them.

Can they do that? Yes. Will I take it to the bank? Likely not.

Tonight's game is ultimately meaningless when this series is over. Personally, there's no possible chance both Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray stay cold for four straight games. It would just be about surviving until the buzzsaw comes in Game 5.

Under 224.5 (-110)

This total is absurdly high for a 98.93 pace metric across three games, but it continues to come back to how well Denver will shoot in an individual game.

The Nuggets are at a 55.9 eFG% in the playoffs, but they've taken it to another level against -- allegedly -- the toughest defense they've faced so far. L.A.'s playoff defensive rating is still 109.3 (third-best in the NBA) despite getting crushed in this series.

Still, they've outperformed expectations in both overs during this series:

Denver's eFG%Total Points
Game 163.2%261
Game 251.7%211
Game 361.7%227

Of course, Game 1 had an insane pace that also saw the Lakers with a 61.3 eFG%. Since, we've settled back into the pace expected from these two squads, but Denver has over-delivered against an elite defense.

If the Nuggets shoot closer to their averages tonight and the game sails under once again, I'll probably continue to target this under below 217. Right now, the hot shooting has created a margin for error that I can't ignore with this wager on the total.