Monday night was interesting.
Some props paid off (DeMar DeRozan going Over 12.5 REBS + ASTS) against Brooklyn, while some were inexplicable misses. Joel Embiid, for example, looked like a near lock for Over 29.5 PTS. And he would have gotten there, too, had he gotten to the line anywhere close to his usual mark.
He took just three free-throw attempts, the first time in 10 games he didn’t take at least 10 attempts and his lowest total of the season. He finished with 24 points, and given his efficiency from the stripe, he almost certainly would have eclipsed 30 points with seven more attempts.
That’s the perfect example of how sometimes anything can go wrong when professional athletes take the court, so we just stick to our sound process and hope the logical things happen. We’re back at it for tonight’s six-game slate.
18.5 REBS + ASTS @ Milwaukee — OVER (105 PTS)
I will almost always take the upside play, especially when at his best, Nikola Jokic is a top three player in the league.
Think about it. Jokic posted an 18-assist game on Dec. 28. He posted a 22-rebound game on Jan. 23. When he’s on fire, Jokic can top 18.5 REBS + ASTS in just one category. That’s really all this is about. You can forget about the opponent (although Milwaukee is talented), because this has everything to do with one of the most versatile individual talents in the sport.
In one game against the Bucks this year, Jokic produced 12 rebounds and six assists. I think that’s the low bar tonight.
32.5 PTS + REBS @ Boston — OVER (100 PTS)
Kawhi Leonard is the staple of consistency, and he produced 32.5 PTS + REBS in nine of 12 games in February. One of those nine games came against Boston, a game in which he produced 28 points and 11 rebounds.
The production wasn’t even his best. He shot an uncharacteristic 42.1 percent in that game (8-for-19) but made his impact at the line, converting of 12 of 14 attempts. Few in the league can match Leonard’s physicality, and when he’s not shooting well from the floor, he’s often able to bully his way to the line, which gives him a high points floor.
Jayson Tatum is incredibly athletic and might be able to pester Leonard, but I think his physicality wins out here. I’m confident in Leonard’s consistency and track record, so I’m taking the Over.
11.5 REBS @ Washington — OVER (110 PTS)
The Memphis big man had a great month of February on the glass, bringing down 11.8 rebounds per contest with seven games of 12 or more. He’s primed for a huge start to March.
Outside of Russell Westbrook, there isn’t a soul on the Wizards who can rebound competently. Mo Wagner and Robin Lopez aren’t threats to Valanciunas, and neither are Rui Hachimura or Davis Bertans. If Valanciunas gets his customary number of minutes (somewhere from 25-30), then 12 rebounds should be easily attainable.
Even better: Washington plays the fastest brand of basketball in the NBA at 106.2 possessions per game. Given that the Wizards offense is also horribly inefficient (107.8 points per 100 possessions), Valanciunas should eat on the glass.
Play the Over.
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