We hit on two of three picks Friday night, as Michael Porter Jr. and Russell Westbrook were successful in hitting their Overs. Jonas Valanciunas, on the other hand, failed to register the one block he needed for it to be a very successful night.
Block and steal props continue to be volatile, and I’m willing to take the risk when it’s not incredibly high. On Friday, if you recall, Valanciunas needed just one against Denver. Even though he’s not a world class shot-blocker, Valanciunas was worth the play.
Perhaps we become more selective with those particular props moving forward. But sometimes the ball bounces your way, and sometimes it doesn’t. What’s the point of playing props if you aren’t going to take a risk here or there?
Let’s move on to another week and take a look at tonight’s eight-game slate.
24.5 PTS @ Dallas — UNDER (110 PTS)
Something’s wrong with Paul George. He’s scored 17 or fewer points in five of his last six games, the only outlier being a 32-point performance against Boston on March 2. In those other five games, he averaged 15.16 points.
It’s also a tale of two different game flows. In the first three games of this five-game stretch, he scored 13, 13 and 16 points while playing a basically normal game’s minutes (28, 32 and 38, respectively). The most recent two games were blowouts, so he scored 17 and 15 points in 27 and 23 minutes, respectively.
But the common denominator here is his shooting percentage. While his attempts have remained relatively steady, his efficiency is down just a bit. In the last six games, he’s shooting 38.4 percent from the floor and 26.8 from beyond the arc. Those numbers are uncharacteristic, but while he’s in a little bit of a slump, we’re playing the Under.
Could he break out tonight? Sure. But let’s play the trends and go Under.
12.5 REBS + ASTS @ Phoenix — OVER (105 PTS)
Ja Morant doesn’t tend to offer much in the rebounding category, while his assist numbers have fluctuated (he has a low game of 3 assists and a high game of 12 this season).
This prop becomes much more attainable if Morant can post at least 9 assists because asking him for more than four rebounds is generally asking for a lot. In two games against Phoenix this season, Morant is averaging 7.5 assists and 4.0 rebounds — almost exactly in line with his season-long averages.
Morant was actually on pace to hit this prop in the last meeting between the teams, as he had 5 rebounds and 5 assists over 27 minutes of a blowout 128-97 loss. Had that game been closer (and had Morant played his typical number of minutes), that prop might have been hit.
It’s always upside when you play Morant, so I’m taking the chance on his Over.
15.5 PTS @ Golden State — OVER (110 PTS)
The Lakers are a bit banged up, and while Kyle Kuzma technically has the day-to-day marker tagged on him, it does look like he’ll play Monday night. If not, adjust your lineups accordingly.
LeBron James and Alex Caruso are also both day-to-day. Marc Gasol is out for the next two games because of COVID-19 protocols. Anthony Davis has yet to be re-evaluated, so he’s still out, too.
All of this creates more opportunities for Kuzma, who took advantage of an increased role on Friday against the Pacers. In that game, he played 30 minutes and shot 8-for-18 from the floor for 24 points (he also brought in 13 rebounds). That’s an excellent performance for a guy who’s averaging a shade under 12 points per game this year.
He’s a prime candidate for a 20 spot against Golden State, so I’m taking the Over and not thinking twice.
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