2023 NBA Season Opener: Bet on the Nuggets to Beat the Lakers

2023 NBA Season Opener: Bet on the Nuggets to Beat the Lakers
Image ©Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
✍️ Written by
Ty Bronicel
🗓 Updated
Aug 23rd 2023

The NBA has released its 2023-24 schedule and the opening night game on TNT will be dynamite.

The Nuggets and Lakers will face off Oct. 24 (7:30 p.m. ET) in Denver in a rematch of last season’s Western Conference Finals.

It will also be Ring Night for the reigning champions so Ball Arena in downtown Denver will be rocking like a concert at Red Rocks.

The question is: How have the league’s defending champs fared in their openers the following season?

The answer is very well, which makes sense because they're pumped after getting that jewelry and seeing the banners and the festivities and all of it.

All told, since 1946-47, NBA defending champions are 60-16 (78.947%) in regular-season openers.

In the last 20 years, since the 2002-23 season, it’s 80 percent (16-4).

2002-03    San Antonio        Won 83-82 vs. Phoenix

2003-04    Detroit                 Won 87-79 vs. Houston

2004-05    San Antonio        Won 102-91 vs. Denver

2005-06    Miami                  Lost 108-66 vs. Chicago

2006-07    San Antonio        Won 106-97 vs. Portland

2007-08    Boston                 Won 90-85 vs. Cleveland

2008-09    L.A. Lakers          Won 99-92 vs. L.A. Clippers

2009-10    L.A. Lakers          Won 112-110 vs. Houston

2010-11    Dallas                    Lost 105-94 vs. Miami

2011-12    Miami                    Won 120-107 vs. Boston

2012-13    Miami                    Won 107-95 vs. Chicago

2013-14    San Antonio         Won 101-100 vs. Dallas

2014-15    Golden State       Won 111-95 vs. New Orleans

2015-16    Cleveland            Won 117-88 vs. New York

2016-17    Golden State       Lost 122-121 vs. Houston

2017-18    Golden State       Won 108-100 vs. Oklahoma City

2018-19    Toronto               Won 130-122 (OT) vs. New Orleans

2019-20    L.A.Lakers          Loss 116-109 vs. L.A. Clippers

2020-21    Milwaukee          Won 127-104 vs. Brooklyn Nets

2021-22    Golden State      Won  123-109 vs. L.A. Lakers

2022-23    Denver               TBD vs. L.A.

With that in mind, it would be wise to jump on the Nuggets now.

The Lakers opened against the defending champion Warriors last season and got clobbered 123-109.

Will this season be different? Doubt it.

Even though, as NBA.com’s Shaun Powell writes:

“The Nuggets whisked the Lakers into the offseason and during the process of that sweep, coach Michael Malone constantly harped on the public’s fascination with the Lakers and perceived disrespect of Denver.

That theme followed all the way through the Nuggets’ championship victory celebration and drew the amusement/annoyance of LeBron James. Now, L.A. gets an early chance to poke the championship bear (to paraphrase Dillon Brooks) and earn a bit of satisfaction.”

So you have to ask yourself: Will LeBron be in beast mode and put up a monster game? Probably. But I still don’t think it will be enough for the Lakers to win.

But the Nuggets will want to start a possible repeat with a beatdown of the Lakers.

I’m already on the record as saying the Nuggets will win back-to-back titles and it all starts at home Oct. 24.

Denver head coach Michael Moore is also on the record saying: “We’re not satisfied. I've got news for everybody out there. We're not satisfied with one. We want more."

And, damn, are the Nuggets equipped to repeat. They’re a young, tight-knit group that has its entire starting five – Nikola Jokic (28 years old), Jamal Murray (26), Aaron Gordon (27), Michael Porter Jr. (24) and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (30) – back for this season.

As far as the odds go, let’s take a look. These are courtesy of FanDuel, one of our favorite gambling sites out there along with BetMGM, DraftKings, and many more.

Los Angeles Lakers at Denver (-5) (Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2023)

I don’t think that’s enough points. This will be a statement game for the Nuggets

However, in closing, if you feel more comfortable going with the moneyline (-210), do it.

I’ll be surprised if Denver doesn’t come out like gangbustin’, dynasty dreamin’ badasses and show the Lakers who’s boss out West.

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