Denver Nuggets vs Los Angeles Lakers Preview (12/16/22): Prediction, Starting Lineups, Odds

Two of the best big men in the NBA will battle it out on Friday night when the Denver Nuggets travel to Los Angeles to play the Lakers. An entire analysis and breakdown of this game are available, as well as the projected starting lineups, updated injury reports for both teams, and current odds from the sportsbooks, listed in a table below.

Denver Nuggets Vs. Los Angeles Lakers Betting Odds

Denver comes into Friday night’s matchup with the Lakers as 1.5-point road favorites. Unfortunately, Michael Porter Jr does not have a timetable to return for the Nuggets, so he will still be out. Collin Gillespie will also not suit up for Denver. Los Angeles has a few rotational players with injuries, including Wenyen Gabriel, Cole Swider, and Juan Toscano-Anderson.

Denver Nuggets Vs. Los Angeles Lakers Prediction

Denver enters this matchup as the winner of three-straight games, including victories over the Utah Jazz, Portland Trail Blazers, and Washington Wizards.

The Nuggets have no issue putting points on the board, as they rank sixth in points per game, second in offensive efficiency, first in 3P% (three-point percentage), and second in eFG% (effective field goal percentage.)

However, this team struggles greatly on the other side of the ball. Denver is 25th in opponent 3P%, 29th in opponent eFG%, and 28th in defensive efficiency.

If the Nuggets played even remotely decent defense, they could very well have the best or second-best record in the NBA. Still, they are having success, standing in third place in the Western Conference. If they want to keep that up, their defense has to improve, though. The Western Conference is deep this year!

With all that being said, I’m going to grab the Lakers’ Moneyline. This isn’t my favorite play of the night out of the whole Friday slate, but Los Angeles matches up really well with the Nuggets, especially since Michael Porter Jr is out. Denver’s defense is atrocious and will inevitably let the Lakers hang around too long.

Betting Trends

  • Denver is 6-10 ATS on the road in 2022-23
  • Los Angeles is 6-7 ATS at home in 2022-23
  • The combined over record of these two teams is 30-24 in 2022-23

Key Matchups

If you can’t guess what this key matchup is, then I don’t know what to tell you! Nikola Jokic and Anthony Davis will each look to flex their muscles and put a stamp on this game. Who knows? Perhaps, this is the type of matchup we could see in the playoffs in a few months!

Nikola Jokic vs. Anthony Davis

It’s hard to tell which player has been hotter recently between Nikola Jokic and Anthony Davis. Jokic has averaged numbers similar to Westbrook’s MVP season over his past 11 games, except he has done it on 66% shooting from the field, which is just outrageously efficient. The Joker has also improved his defense over the course of the past few seasons; in his past two games, he has managed to log six and five “stocks” (steals + blocks!)

Anthony Davis has been just as extraordinary; he finally appears healthy and has resembled the New Orleans Pelicans version of himself, which is a welcome sight for everyone who loves basketball. Davis has posted 32.4 points, 14 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 2.3 blocks per game in his past 13 games while shooting 64.1% from the field. Where it gets even crazier is that those averages include a one-point outing against Cleveland when he had the flu and had to exit in the first quarter!

It’s incredibly difficult to state one way or the other which player has the advantage in this one. If I had to choose between the two, I would lean towards Jokic because of his playmaking ability. Even if AD plays superb defense on him, Jokic will still find an open man in half-court sets. The defense these two guys play on each other will be a wash anyway. Advantage: Jokic.

Denver Nuggets Starting Lineup

PG: Jamal Murray
SG: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
SF: Bruce Brown Jr
PF: Aaron Gordon
C: Nikola Jokic

Los Angeles Lakers Starting Lineups

PG: Dennis Schroder
SG: Patrick Beverley
SF: Lonnie Walker iV
PF: LeBron James
C: Anthony Davis

Key Injuries

Denver Nuggets Injuries: Michael Porter Jr (Out), Collin Gillespie (Out)

Los Angeles Lakers Injuries: Wenyen Gabriel (Out), Juan Toscano-Anderson (Out), Cole Swider (Out)

Drew is one of the NBA Lead Writers at, specializing in betting content such as game predictions and player props. With a deep knowledge of players and prospects, Drew has an extensive edge in covering everything NBA.

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