NBA Player Prop Bets & Picks: Buying Ben Simmons & Dillon Brooks in Game 3 Matchups (Saturday, May 29)
Jeff Swinger/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Dillon Brooks.
- Saturday's two late matchups are Game 3s featuring the top seed in each conference and that's where two of our favorite props come from.
- Dan Titus is looking to bet Ben Simmons' scoring and Dillon Brooks' shooting on tonight's slate.
- See where he's finding an edge using our Action Labs prop tool.
The NBA Playoffs continue to roll along, and Saturday features four games that started early with the Bucks and Heat. The Heat are on the verge of elimination — a huge letdown for a team that went to the Finals last season.
I faded this matchup to focus on a trio of games between the Nuggets-Blazers, Sixers-Wizards, and Jazz-Grizzlies.
For those who are new to this article, we’ll be using the Action Labs Player Prop tool to compare our NBA projections to the props posted at a variety of sportsbooks. Each bet is then graded on a scale from 1-10, with 10 being the best possible grade.
Below, I have laid out three prop bets that I’m playing, the case for each bet and the best books to find odds on those player props.
NBA Player Props & Picks
Nikola Jokic Over 6.5 Assists (-105)
|Nuggets vs. Blazers||Blazers -4|
|Time||4 p.m. ET|
MVP Jokic is here, and he won’t be denied.
The All-Star center and eventual MVP destroyed the Blazers through the first three games of their first-round series, scoring 34,38 and 36 points, respectively. The most notable difference from the regular season has been an uptick in scoring efficiency. He’s putting up five more shot attempts per contest (23.7 vs. 18.0) with 1.7 more 3-pointers made (1.3 vs. 3.0) and a robust 57.7% from the field. The Joker is a beast that can’t be contained. Or can he?
Call me crazy, but I noticed the Blazers found more success defending Jokic down the stretch deploying a small-ball unit with Covington at center. Granted, this was due to Jusuf Nurkic fouling out, but it was effective — limiting the Joker to only six points on 2-for-7 from the field in the fourth quarter. With Portland down 2-1 in the series, I’m expecting the Blazers to throw the kitchen sink at him in Game 4. This should open up passing lanes for Jokic.
Jokic finished sixth in the NBA in assists per game this season at 8.3 per contest. He’s shouldered so much of the offensive load because the Blazers haven’t adjusted from single coverage against him.
Despite his scoring outburst, Jokic dished out at least five assists in two of three games thus far in the series. While this doesn’t get him to seven, I’m banking on the Blazers coaching staff making this adjustment and sending more double-teams and small-ball defenders to disrupt his scoring.
The Blazers allow 25 assists per game, the third-highest amongst Playoff teams, so the opportunity is there. Jokic assisted Michael Porter Jr. a team-high 136 times in the regular season but has only found him twice in three games so far.
The Nuggets can only lean on their MVP for so long, and I think we’ll see Denver’s role players be more active today. We project the Joker to provide 8.1 assists, and with a bet quality rating of 10, I’m playing the over.
Ben Simmons Over 14.5 points (-115)
|Sixers vs. Wizards||Wizards +7|
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
I’m “here to win‘ just like Ben Simmons, who remains a hot topic due to his reluctance to shoot the basketball. However, he was quick to dispel this narrative in Game 2, scoring 22 points. The Sixers jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in their opening round versus the Wizards, and I like his points prop at 14.5 tonight.
We know Simmons is far from a prolific scorer. It’s not outlandish to consider his 22-point outing a game ago as an outlier, but I don’t think it was. The Sixers and Wizards are both punishing each other in the paint, allowing 63 points per contest, respectively.
Simmons shot 11-for-15 from the field and did this without playing in the fourth quarter. His average shooting distance from the field is 3.7 feet, the eighth-lowest among qualifiers with at least 60 minutes of playtime in the Playoffs.
Volume is always the question surrounding Simmons. Will he defer, or will he be aggressive and take advantage of mismatches. Against the Wizards, the answer is to take advantage of mismatches.
Throughout the series, Washington is doubling Joel Embiid almost every time he touches the ball. The Sixers’ ball movement has led to more possessions and more effective scoring, as seen by scoring more than 120 points per 100 possessions in consecutive games.
This bodes well for Simmons — he averaged 16.5 ppg in the regular season against Washington and 16.4 ppg in his career. According to Fansure, he’s scored at least 14.5 points in three of his last four games against Washington, with an average of 15.2 ppg over that span.
The Wizards’ most successful lineup consists of Russell Westbrook, Raul Neto, Bradley Beal, Rui Hachimura, and Alex Len. Per Cleaning the Glass, this lineup ranks in the 87th percentile by outsourcing opponents by 18.1 points per 100 possessions.
With Westbrook still listed as questionable, Ben Simmons should be licking his chops yet again when defended by guards who don’t exceed 6-foot-3. Our Lab Projections tool has Simmons scoring 16 points. I like this number and feel confident in the “Fresh Prince” going over 14.5 points in Game 3.
Dillon Brooks Over 1.5 3-Pointers Made, (-113)
|Jazz vs. Grizzlies||Grizzlies +5|
|Time||9:30 p.m. ET|
The Memphis Grizzlies aren’t shying away from the top-seeded Jazz. Despite getting blown out late in the fourth quarter in Game 2, Memphis continues to showcase their grit, resilience, and effort. One player who stepped up in the first two games is Dillon Brooks. You may not be too familiar with the former Oregon Duck, but he’s garnering a lot of attention for his play when it matters most.
Brooks averaged 20.1 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 2.7 assists in nine games in the bubble last season. While Memphis didn’t make the playoffs, it was clear that he wasn’t scared of the moment. Fast forward to this postseason where Brooks is cooking, averaging 27 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 1.7 assists through two games of his opening round series versus Utah.
I like Brooks’ 3-point prop today because, frankly, he’s confident and playing lights out. He’s converted two 3-pointers in both contests thus far while shooting 4-for-7 from distance over that span. Utah is stout defensively against the 3-ball, allowing only 10.9 3-pointers per game in the regular season and 5.0 so far in the playoffs.
Both of those metrics are the best in the NBA, but Brooks has shown no hesitancy to pull up from deep against the Jazz. He averaged 4.6 attempts from beyond the arc in three games versus the Jazz in the regular season and made 1.9 3-pointers per game overall.
If Memphis wants to remain competitive, they’ll have to keep up with the pace of the Jazz. It’s been the Morant and Brooks show thus far, and they’ll need others to contribute offensively — which should only help Brooks get some open looks from beyond the arc. He averaged 5.7 3-point attempts at home this season, and with Memphis back on their home court.
I’m riding with Brooks. Our Lab projections have Brooks knocking down 2.3 3-pointers, and with a bet quality rating of 9, I’m taking the over.