How Many Points Per Game Will Klay Thompson Score in NBA Finals?
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson (11)
- Matthew Freedman continues his series featuring his favorite prop bets for each day of 2019.
- On Thursday, he highlights his favorite series player prop for the NBA Finals, featuring Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson.
Each day, I publish 1-2 pieces on props I like. See my master list of 2019 prop bets for more information.
In this piece, I highlight my favorite series player prop for the NBA Finals between the Warriors and Raptors: The points-per-game prop for Golden State shooting guard Klay Thompson.
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2019 Year-to-Date Record
848-623-46, +136.80 Units
- NFL: 21-13-0, +11.72 Units
- NBA: 408-304-7, +49.86 Units
- NHL: 138-114-11, +24.38 Units
- MLB: 51-57-14, -11.69 Units
- Golf: 9-13-2, -1.70 Units
- NASCAR: 12-17-0, -4.42 Units
- NCAAB: 125-70-12, +38.82 Units
- NCAAF: 0-1-0, -1.00 Units
- Exotic: 79-34-0, +28.50 Units
- Horse Racing: 4-0-0, +2.19 Units
2019 NBA Finals: Klay Thompson Points Per Game
- Over 20.5: -154
- Under 20.5: +120
It’s not hard to see why the over is heavily juiced: Forward Kevin Durant is out for Game 1, almost certainly Game 2 and perhaps the entire series.
Durant has missed the past five games for the Warriors, and in his absence, Thompson has had some notable per-game splits this postseason.
- Without Durant (5 games): 22.6 points, 41.0 minutes, 0.55 pts/min
- With Durant (11 games): 17.5 points, 38.6 minutes, 0.45 pts/min
With Durant out, Thompson has played more minutes and scored more points for each minute played.
But I’m leaning to the under.
The Raptors are a strong defensive team: In the postseason, they have held opponents to 99.6 points per game. The Warriors could struggle to score at their usual rate.
At some sportsbooks, the Warriors have a team prop of 110.5 points per game for the series, significantly short of the 117.6 points they’ve averaged this year (including playoffs). If the Warriors score fewer points as a team, we should expect to see fewer points too for Thompson.
As good as Thompson is, not once has he averaged more than 20.5 points in an NBA Finals.
- 2018 (4 games): 16.0 points
- 2017 (5 games): 16.4 points
- 2016 (7 games): 19.6 points
- 2015 (6 games): 15.8 points
It’s a small sample of series, but I doubt Thompson’s uninspiring Finals performances are misrepresentative: The truth is that, in the postseason, Thompson has regularly deferred to teammates — to the detriment of his individual stats.
The Warriors have made the playoffs every year since the 2012-13 season. Since then, Thompson has had some notably negative postseason/regular season splits.
- 2018-19: 19.1 points, 39.4 minutes vs. 21.5 points, 34.0 minutes
- 2017-18: 19.6 points, 37.8 minutes vs. 20.0 points, 34.3 minutes
- 2016-17: 15.0 points, 35.1 minutes vs. 22.3 points, 34.0 minutes
- 2015-16: 24.3 points, 35.4 minutes vs. 22.1 points, 33.3 minutes
- 2014-15: 18.6 points, 36.2 minutes vs. 21.7 points, 31.9 minutes
- 2013-14: 16.4 points, 36.7 minutes vs. 18.4 points, 35.4 minutes
- 2012-13: 15.2 points, 41.3 minutes vs. 16.6 points, 35.8 minutes
Each year, Thompson has played more minutes per game in the playoffs than the regular season, yet he has scored fewer points in the postseason in every campaign but one: 2015-16, when point guard Stephen Curry missed six games and was hampered throughout the postseason with an MCL injury in the pre-Durant era.
Since Durant joined the team in 2016, Thompson has played 39 games without him but with Curry (per the FantasyLabs On/Off Tool). He’s averaged 16.1 points in those games.
Thompson will almost certainly score more than 16.1 points per game in this series, but given the tough matchup and his career-long trend of postseason underperformance, I’m aggressively betting the under.
In fact, I’d bet the under to -120.
The Pick: Under 20.5 (+120)