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Monday NBA Player Prop Bets: Our Picks for Joel Embiid, Michael Porter Jr. (Aug. 17)

Monday NBA Player Prop Bets: Our Picks for Joel Embiid, Michael Porter Jr. (Aug. 17) article feature image

Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Joel Embiid

Looking for Tuesday’s props? Click here.

Betting on props can be one of the easiest ways to build your bankroll. Sportsbooks tend to offer lower limits and take less action on props than they do on games, so they don’t have as much incentive to post an accurate line.

That’s where our Player Prop tool comes in handy. We compare our industry-leading NBA projections to the props posted at a variety of sportsbooks to identify the best plays each day. Each bet is then graded on a scale from 1-10, with 10 being the best possible grade.

Here’s how those props did this season prior to the shut down:

FantasyLabs Grade Win-Loss (Win Pct)
Bet Quality of 10 775-572 (57%)
Bet Quality of 9 942-776 (54%)
Bet Quality of 8 1432-1263 (52%)

Odds as of Friday and via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.

Tonight’s props come from three of the slate’s four games:

  • Denver Nuggets vs.Utah Jazz (1:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)
  • Boston Celtics vs. Philadelphia 76ers (4 p.m. ET, ESPN)
  • Los Angeles Clippers vs. Dallas Mavericks (9 p.m. ET, ESPN)

NBA Player Props

Denver Nuggets, Michael Porter Jr.

The Prop: Over 1.5 assists (+140)

You know we need a prop in the playoff opener, and this is my pick. Michael Porter Jr. is still a rookie somehow (shouts Ben Simmons!) so this is his playoff debut.

Porter was a breakout player in the seeding games with Denver extremely banged up and missing multiple starters every game. MPJ started all seven of his appearances and put up 22.0 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 1.6 assists a game. He’s a natural scorer and looks like a future star.

That assists number is our target here. Porter had three games of two assists and one with three in the seeding games, going over 57% of the time. More importantly, he was over 1.5 assists in three of the last four, even as his scoring started to fade a bit and his minutes dropped.

Jamal Murray had returned in those games, giving Denver a third scorer and a more balanced offense, and Porter showed that he could play a more complimentary role, too.

Murray plays today, but Denver is still missing Gary Harris and Will Barton, so that should mean big minutes for Porter. We’re projecting him at 34.5 minutes and 2.4 assists. Grab this one while it’s huge +EV, but play it all the way to +105 as needed.

[Bet MPJ over 1.5 assists now at bet365. NJ only.]

Philadelphia 76ers, Joel Embiid

The Prop: Over 3.5 assists (+125)

Embiid averaged 3.0 assists this season, down from a career-best 3.7 per game a year ago. That was partly because his minutes per game dropped by almost 4 per game and partly because Philly continued to run its offense through Ben Simmons.

That changed in the seeding games. Simmons moved (somewhat) off ball to power forward and the offense immediately flowed more through Embiid. In four healthy games to start the bubble, Embiid averaged 33.8 minutes a game with 30.0 points, 13.5 rebounds, and 3.3 assists. That included games of 3, 4, and 5 assists.

Notice the minutes uptick. And the numbers overall are the superstar numbers Embiid can put up when he’s locked in. With Simmons out and a matchup highly in his favor, we should get the best version of Embiid. Boston plays a very small lineup, and Embiid is going to have plenty of chances, but I expect Boston to send plenty of double teams his way to offset the size difference.

I like Embiid to pass out of those double teams and hit Philly’s shooters like new point guard Shake Milton. I’m grabbing the +EV here and playing down to +110 as needed.

[Bet Embiid over 3.5 assists now at bet365. NJ only.]

Dallas Mavericks, Dorian Finney-Smith

The Prop: Over 5.5 rebounds (-140)

Clippers-Mavericks is the game I’m most excited for on day one of the playoffs, in large part because of its star power. Kawhi Leonard! Paul George! Luka Doncic! Kristaps Porzingis! That’s a lot of superstars, and those stars will determine the direction of this series.

But the role players still have to do their parts, and no role player is more important in this series than Dallas’s Dorian Finney-Smith. He’s their 3-and-D guy and their only real chance of providing playable defense on the wing. And, spoiler alert: if you’re playing against Kawhi and PG, you’re going to need every possible bit of wing defense.

There’s always the chance DFS gets into foul trouble, but otherwise I expect Dallas to play him every minute possible. He averaged 5.7 rebounds in 29.9 minutes a game this season, already slightly over this number. But as that minutes total ticks up to 35 and above, the rebounds should rise too. I’d play this up to -165 and would be happy to grab it at better odds if it rises to 6.0.

[Bet Finney-Smith over 5.5 rebounds now at bet365. NJ only.]

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