Don’t make LeBron James angry. You wouldn’t like him when he’s angry.
On the day that Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo claimed his second straight MVP award, the best overall player of the last 20 years – and runner-up in this season’s MVP voting – LeBron James, put up 15 points and dished 12 assists as his Los Angeles Lakers tore apart the Denver Nuggets in Game 1 of their Western Conference Finals matchup, and he had strong words for those that didn’t vote him as the best player of the regular season.
“Pissed me off,” James said of the MVP snub, in which he received only 16 first-place votes out of a possible 101. "I've always just wanted to get better and better every single day, and those things will take care of itself. But some things is just out of my hand and some things you can't control. But it pissed me off."
The 126-114 result in Game 1 was a serious reality check for the Nuggets who have been having a dream run these playoffs, but it shouldn’t deter this team who have had their backs against the wall at every turn throughout the postseason.
Can Jokic and Murray even up the series, or will LeBron continue to silence those that doubt his greatness?
Looking to place a wager in this one?
Dimers' Suggested Plays
🔥 BEST: Nuggets +7.5
💵 Moneyline: Nuggets (+265*)
👆 Over/Under: OVER 213.5 points
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Dimers' predictions are based on 10,000 simulations of this particular matchup
Spread: Nuggets +7.5 has a 52% probability
The eventual 12-point differential in Game 1 is a little more flattering to the Nuggets than what their play would have suggested. Denver simply had no answer for Anthony Davis, but Nuggs coach Mike Malone has displayed on numerous occasions throughout these playoffs that he can make the necessary adjustments. Look for Jokic and Millsap to put some work into AD to stifle his impact.
Nuggets H2H (+265*) has a 1.1% edge on the sportsbooks
This isn’t the first time Denver has found themselves in a hole this postseason. In both their series’ against the Jazz and Clippers they had to claw their way back and they’ll have to do it again against a Lakers team that can smell the blood in the water. For a team of the Nuggets’ ability, our analysis thinks their odds are simply too high to ignore. We don’t think the Lakers sweep this series; Game 2 might be your best opportunity to cash in on Denver at high odds.
o213.5 points (-110*) has a 51% probability
240 points were clocked up in Game 1 which proves the high stakes has done little to affect the nerves of either team. Our DimersBOT anticipates the high scoring to continue. Look for Jamal Murray to explode out of the blocks after a relatively quiet series opener in which he only scored 21 points.
🏀 Dimers' take-out
The Lakers look unstoppable, but these NBA Playoffs have continued to throw up surprise after surprise. There is some value in the Nuggets outright but the spread is the safe bet in this one. Want to sign up for an online sportsbook account but not sure where to start? Find Dimers' most trusted online sportsbooks here
*odds are correct at time of publishing