The Denver Nuggets officially broke through a glass ceiling 47 years in the making Monday night, avenging three previous Western Conference Finals losses to the Los Angeles Lakers.
The team’s 113-111 Game 4 victory over the Lakers thrilled Colorado sports betting fans and capped off a four-game sweep of the Lakers, the first in Denver’s 44-series playoff history dating back to 1982.
It also gave the Michael Malone-coached squad a bit of payback over a Lakers team that quashed Denver’s championship aspirations in its three previous trips to the conference finals — LA beat Denver in five games in 1985, six games in 2009 and five games in 2020.
Now, the Nuggets find themselves with time to kill, ahead of the team’s first ever NBA Finals appearance, with Denver waiting to see whether it will face eighth-seeded Miami or second-seeded Boston in the championship series.
As of Tuesday morning, oddsmakers at BetMGM Sportsbook Colorado had the Nuggets as the commanding title favorite, with moneyline odds of -275.
Game 1 of the NBA Finals takes place in Denver on June 1, with the remaining home games June 4, June 12 (if necessary) and June 18 (if necessary).
Nuggets Finally Get A Crack At NBA Finals
Denver’s route to the NBA Finals couldn’t have been much smoother, with a five-game series win over Minnesota, followed by a six-game second round victory over Phoenix to advance to the conference finals.
From there, the Nuggets proceeded to do the little things championships are made of just right, thwarting the Lakers by margins of six and five points in Games 1 and 2, before an 11-point rout in Game 3.
With the LeBron James-led Lakers against the wall, the Nuggets did little to take their foots off the throttle Monday, using a 36-point third quarter to quelch L.A.’s 73-58 halftime lead, thanks in large part to a 30-point, 14-rebound, 13-assist outing by two-time MVP Nikola Jokic.
Jokic is the runaway favorite on Colorado betting apps to win NBA Finals Most Valuable Player at -240 odds. Miami’s Jimmy Butler is +275, while the Nuggets’ Jamal Murray is +500.
Nuggets Stop James in Crunch Time
The Nuggets final caper against James came in the series’ waning seconds, when the NBA’s all-time leading scorer ran roughshod towards the hoop only to run into three Nuggets defenders.
The net result was James failing to get a shot off before the final buzzer sounded, finalizing a four-game shellacking.
Now, the Nuggets get to welcome either Butler and the Heat (who are currently up 3-0 on the Celtics in the East) or a Celtics team that would become the first NBA team to overcome a 3-0 series deficit to advance.
Operators offering Colorado sportsbook promos see Denver as the odds-on favorite to hoist the hardware next month.