We’re going heavy on the Under in Thursday night’s five-game NBA slate.
On a short slate, there aren’t a ton of options. There are 20 players to choose from on this slate, so it’s easier than normal to do the nitty gritty and dive into the stats and trends before you make your decisions.
Luckily for you, we’ve already given you a head start on that research.
1.5 Blocks vs. Philadelphia — UNDER (115 PTS)
Blocks are a fickle thing. Sure, Jarrett Allen is averaging 1.8 blocks per game, but he’s had two games with four blocks and two with zero. Allen is absolutely an above-average shot-blocker, but the unreliability of such a stat on a game-to-game basis should help make you comfortable taking the Under here.
It’s not that big of a risk to make this big, as the payoff of 115 points is certainly worth it. And if Allen does manage to hit the Over, there are other opportunities on this slate to make up for it.
Take this shot on Allen.
5.5 Rebounds vs. Minnesota — UNDER (85 PTS)
A very, very safe play on this slate.
Carmelo Anthony is hardly the rebounder or athlete he was in the earlier stages of his career. He can still score and hold his own on the floor, but the Trail Blazers aren’t asking him to bump bodies down low with any regularity.
Anthony is averaging 3.7 rebounds per game and has a season-high of five boards, a mark he’s reached twice. He was a better rebounder last season, finishing with 6.3 per game. But it’s clear Anthony’s emphasis is not currently on the glass.
Plus, he’s playing a career-low 24.8 minutes per game, giving him far fewer opportunities to accrue counting stats.
It’s a safe play, so it won’t yield you a ton of points, but take the Under.
7.5 Rebounds + Assists vs. Dallas — UNDER (95 PTS)
Paul Millsap has only exceed 7.5 Rebounds + Assists once this season, a seven-rebound, three-assist game on the season’s opening night. Like Anthony, Millsap is playing sparingly at 24.3 minutes per game.
Perhaps most concerning is that he’s averaged just 19.7 minutes per game in December. While still efficient on the offensive end, he’s not much for boards and assists at this point in the year.
Add in the fact that Dallas plays at a snails pace — its 100.8 possessions per game are in a three-way tie for 26th in the league — this is just not a great matchup for counting stats for a player like Millsap.
Take the Under.
For more sports opinions and other rants about things you probably don’t care about, follow Kenny DeJohn on Twitter.