Insider Insight: “I’m so confident it scares me.” – Nuggets broadcaster Vic Lombardi
May 22, 2023
“I gave them no shot,” said Nuggets broadcaster and SuperBook Sports Insider Vic Lombardi, when asked if he thought the Nuggets could possibly sweep the Lakers, much less win Game 3 in Los Angeles. “Not a long shot. Not a medium shot. It’s the history between these two teams. It’s the Lakers. It’s the 17 banners. No shot to sweep. Zero.
“But here we are. These are not the same Lakers. These are not the same Nuggets.”
After Sunday night, the tune has changed in Denver. The Nuggets are up 3-0 with a chance to close out the series in L.A. against an aging Lakers team.
The sweep is not eminent by any means, but advancing – per the -4000 series price – is looking likely. Lombardi is finally coming around to what his eyes have told him throughout the season.
“The Nuggets are the best team in the NBA. It’s not Boston. It’s not the Lakers. It’s the Nuggets,” he says. “One hundred percent, Denver is the best team at this point – and saying that goes against everything I’ve ever known as a lifelong observer of the Denver Nuggets. I’ve never been so confident, and in fact, I’m so confident it scares me.”
But why? What’s so different about this Denver team?
“I think the Nuggets have taken on the personality of their leader,” says Lombardi. “They’ve never had a player like Nikola Jokic. He never gets too high or too low, and that has really rubbed off on this team. You have to have that in the playoffs, because there are so many ups and downs. Whatever happens, it Jokic is even keel – and so is this team.”
The line for Game 4 opened at Lakers -3.5-4.0, depending on where one looked, but it’s now typically Lakers -3.0. Lombardi believes the Nuggets won’t just cover, but win.
“This would slay a lot of dragons, exercise a lot of demons,” he says. “We’ll find out tonight.”
Indeed we will.
Three bets worth considering on a Wednesday night
Denver Nuggets at Los Angeles Lakers
crypto.com Arena – Los Angeles, CA
8:30 PM ET
SuperBook Line: Lakers -3.0
With the Lakers on the ropes, all things are currently pointing toward Denver. The Nuggets are up 3-0 in the series and are fresh off an outright win in Game 3 as a 5.5-point underdog.
Is anything going to stop the freight train that currently is the Denver Nuggets?
Perhaps the better question is whether or not an aging LeBron James wants any part of signing up for any games – much less three – after Monday. Will the Lakers just fold?
Simply put, the Lakers look gassed and Denver looks dialed in. Besides, the Nuggets are never a bad bet as an underdog.
And if you’re really looking to cash in, add or parlay the OVER 224.5 for the Nuggets-Lakers Game 4. The over has cashed in two out of three games this series and is 33-16-2 in the last 51 meetings head-to-head. If the Lakers have any life, James and Anthony Davis will be asked to score, while Denver has shown the ability to go point for point, possession for possession. Expect a high scoring affair with Denver ultimately outlasting the tired Lakers.
Jason Schlefsky’s pick: Denver +3.0 and/or 224.5
Texas Rangers at Pittsburgh Pirates
PNC Park – Pittsburgh, PA
4:35 PM ET
SuperBook Line: Texas M/L -140
After a red-hot start, the Pittsburgh Pirates are fizzling of late. In fact, they’ve lost seven of their last 10.
But it gets worse heading into their Monday matchup with the Rangers.
First, the Pirates are 0-4 in their last four interleague home games., That’s a trend that inspires very little confidence in Pittsburgh.
Second, the pitching matchup favors Texas in a big way. Taking the mound for the Pirates will be Luis Ortiz, who is 0-2 with a 5.63 ERA. For Texas, it will Dane Dunning and his impressive 4-0 record and razor sharp 1.69 ERA. Clearly, there should be a lean toward Dunning.
Pittsburgh is going in the wrong direction, while the Rangers have been hitting their stride of late. Don’t over think this one.
Richard DeMala’s pick: Texas M/L -140
Los Angeles Dodgers at Atlanta Braves
Truist Park – Atlanta, GA
5:20 PM ET
SuperBook Line: Atlanta M/L -140
When Charlie Morton takes the mound for the Braves, good things generally happen. On the season, Morton is 5-3 with a 2.85 ERA, respectable numbers across 47.1 innings.
Conversely, the Dodgers will start Gavin Stone, who’s only pitched 4.0 innings this season without having earned a decision. His 9.00 ERA is cause for concern.
Additionally, there are other reasons not to trust L.A. in this one. The Dodgers are 1-6 in their last seven games versus a right hander on the road. Furthermore, L.A. is 2-6 in its last eight trips to the A-T-L.
Although Atlanta has struggled at home at times this season, the Dodgers are just .500 on the road; let’s call that part of the equation a wash. But because the Braves have the better, more trustworthy pitcher in the matchup, the only way to lean is toward Atlanta.
Richard DeMala’s pick: Atlanta M/L -140