So, tonight’s a weird one.
It’s an 11-game slate, so there are plenty of options. But that just aren’t too many options I feel are high-upside plays. On a night like this, I like to let others make the mistakes while I pick the safe props, even if the point total is 100 or less.
On some nights, chasing those high point totals is the way to take down contests. And, inevitably, at least a handful of guys on the slate will exceed their projections. But based on my research, I’m struggling to justify using them.
With all that said, here are three guys I think are safe plays.
11.5 REBS vs. Brooklyn — OVER (115 PTS)
On Wednesday against his former team, Jarrett Allen nabbed 11 rebounds. Allen is a 6-11 post menace and was an unfortunate casualty for the Nets in the James Harden deal. He had begun to flourish this year, hence why his value was high enough to be included in the trade.
The loss of Allen leaves Brooklyn without a bona fide rebounder who can play big minutes. DeAndre Jordan’s minutes have gone up since the trade, but his rebounding numbers have been inconsistent.
Give me Allen’s rebounding skills here in a second straight matchup against his former team. This is the one “risk” I’m going with tonight, and I use quotation marks around risk because I don’t think it’s all that risky.
Go Over.Embed from Getty Images
26.5 PTS @ Charlotte — OVER (95 PTS)
Zach LaVine lines that include points garner instant consideration from me, even if the point total is low. LaVine has been such an adept scorer this season that it’s possible to bank on a ton of opportunities.
Outside of an uncharacteristic 10-point dud on Jan. 17, LaVine has scored at least 32 points in every game since Jan. 6 (that’s five of the last six games). He’s scoring efficiently, getting to the free-throw line and averaging 19.3 shots per game in January.
This guy is going to score. I don’t know how else to put it. Even against Charlotte, which is a reasonably good defensive team that plays at a slower pace, LaVine will get plenty of opportunities. He touches the ball on nearly 30 percent of Chicago’s offensive chances.
Smash the Over.
19.5 PTS + ASTS @ Philadelphia — OVER (100 PTS)
The Celtics have eased Kemba Walker back in. He’s played 20 and 22 minutes, respectively, in his first two games. He dropped 19 points with six assists on Wednesday, an indication that’s healthy and ready to go.
I’m banking on another performance like that against Philadelphia, which plays at the fourth-fastest pace in the NBA at 104.9 possessions per game.
Walker has stepped right in to average 14 shots per game, and although he’s always been a streaky volume scorer, his shooting percentage of 32.1 is still well below his career average.
I see 19.5 PTS + ASTS as an easily attainable total, and I think Walker has an easy path to get there. Hit the Over.
For more sports opinions and other rants about things you probably don’t care about, follow Kenny DeJohn on Twitter.
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