NBA Playoffs 2012: Los Angeles Lakers vs. Denver Nuggets, Game 3 Odds

Jeff Grant@@JeffGrantSportsContributor IMay 4, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 01:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers drives on Corey Brewer #13 of the Denver Nuggets during Game Two of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center on May 1, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers (2-0) and Denver Nuggets (0-2) will continue their best-of-seven Western Conference first-round series on Friday night at the Pepsi Center, with the opening tip scheduled for 10:30 ET.

Las Vegas oddsmakers have established the Lakers as 3.5-point road underdogs, while the total has held steady at its opening number of 204.

Los Angeles climbed over the century mark in successfully defending its home-court advantage in the first two games, including a 104-100 victory as 5.5-point favorites on Tuesday night. The Lakers' All-Star duo of Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum poured in 65 points together—marking the highest combined output for the two players in a postseason game.

It's nearly a foregone conclusion that Bryant leads his team into the next round of the playoffs, with the franchise boasting a 42-1 series record when capturing the first two games of a best-of-seven series.

Sports bettors will find that the Lakers are 6-0 against the spread (ATS) in their last six games as a road underdog of 4.5 or fewer points, while the "over" is 6-0-1 in that situation.

Denver is well on its way to a sixth series loss in the postseason in as many tries against Los Angeles, as its high-octane offense often slows down in this particular matchup. The Nuggets have managed to score 100 or more points in just three of the last 10 overall meetings in this rivalry.

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I definitely can't recommend backing the Nuggets just for the sake of them returning to the Mile High City, as they've gone 4-7 ATS as a home favorite of 3.5 to six points this year.

Take the points if you're looking to build your bankroll for the Kentucky Derby on Saturday.

Pick: Los Angeles Lakers +3.5

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