It’s a four-game NBA slate tonight with the first game kicking off at 7:30 p.m. EST. That means you have 30 more minutes than usual to strategize, research and lock in those picks.

We’re buoying one risky pick with two relatively safe ones Thursday night, leveraging the presumed guarantees of attainable props against a pretty volatile prop on the other side.

Let’s take a look at who to consider for tonight’s small slate in the Association.

DeAndre Ayton
10.5 REBS vs. Golden State — OVER (90 PTS)

DeAndre Ayton is the NBA’s No. 4 rebounder with 12.3 per game. He’s eighth in the league in rebound rate (21.3), which measures the percentage of missed shots a player rebounds. Why would we bet the Under on a reasonable total of 10.5?

He’s exceeded 10.5 rebounds in all but two games this month, and his matchup against Golden State is juicy. He’ll be matched up against some combination of Draymond Green, James Wiseman and Kevon Looney, none of whom are particularly strong rebounders.

Against a Golden State team that ranks third in the NBA in pace (106.4 possessions per game), Ayton should capitalize on an abundance of opportunities. This is an easy Over.

Victor Oladipo
3.5 ASTS vs. Portland — UNDER (120 PTS)

Here’s our risky play tonight.

There are a few reasons why I’m leaning this way. On the surface, Victor Oladipo’s last two games have only resulted in four assists. In four games with Houston, his assist totals have been nine, six, three and one, respectively. This downtick in each game is perhaps coincidental, but I think it’s more of his role on the team becoming more defined.

Another reason: Houston’s offense isn’t particularly efficient. It plays at a high pace (104 possessions per game), which gives Oladipo more chances for assists, but it’s also a run-and-gun type of team. High volume obviously doesn’t always mean high efficiency.

Oladipo is better served as a scorer than a primary distributor, and you could argue that DeMarcus Cousins is a better distributor in the scope of this offense.

It’s a risk, I know, especially given Oladipo’s usage. But I’m going Under.

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Damian Lillard
30.5 PTS @ Houston — OVER (95 PTS)

Just looking at game logs (which I admit isn’t a good practice, but hear me out), Damian Lillard has the opportunity go off for 30-plus points on any given night.

He plays 36.3 minutes per game, averages 19.3 field goal attempts per game and 8.1 free throw attempts per game and shoots 37.4 percent from deep. All of these things add up to a high floor when it comes to points.

Portland also plays at a reasonably high pace (102.6 possessions per game, tied for 11th) and gives Lillard the rock 31.1 percent of the time.

Now look at the opponent. Houston is fourth-worst in the NBA in terms of defensive efficiency with 104.8 points allowed per 100 possessions, and while most of that was developed with James Harden on the team, Houston’s defense hasn’t gotten much better without him.

This all adds up to an easy night for Lillard. Go 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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