3 NBA Player Props To Bet Tuesday: A LeBron James Over & More Playoff Picks
Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James.
- Robert Covington's rebounds. LeBron James' combined points, rebounds and assists.
- Find NBA betting analyst Brandon Anderson's top props for Tuesday's playoff games below.
It’s June and that’s how you know things are getting serious in the NBA. We’re not quite to the NBA Finals like in a typical year, but we’ve got a huge slate of games Tuesday that features a pair of first-round series tied at 2-2 that bring up pivotal Game 5 showdowns.
Our playoff props are doing well through almost two weeks of contests. We’re at 17-3 in this space, so let’s add a few more winners. And now, it’s time to turn to The King.
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
Evan Fournier — Over 22.5 Points + Rebounds + Assists (-115)
|Celtics vs. Nets||Nets -12.5|
|Time | TV||7:30 p.m. ET | TNT|
It looks like this is the end for Evan Fournier and the Boston Celtics. And at this point, it’s about time. Jaylen Brown is sidelined, with both Kemba Walker and Robert Williams absent from the lineup again. The Celtics are whimpering toward the finish line against a team loaded with talent, and it’s time to 1-2-3 Boston Harbor and head into the summer.
And if this is the end for Fournier, we should probably go out the way we played him all season: riding his overs on a shorthanded team one last time for old time’s sake.
If you’ve been following this column, you’ve made a lot of money off Fournier. For most of this year, that came with the Orlando Magic when the team was super thin, missing two or three starters at a time. Someone’s gotta get shots up and log minutes, and someone’s name was Fournier. Just don’t Google it.
How many times have we hit a Fournier over this season? It’s gotta be near double digits at this point, and yet here we are again with an opportunity for our Frenchman to get a ton of shots and usage.
Fournier started his final 10 games of the regular season, averaging 16 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.6 assists for his new team. That’s not too bad, considering he did that in 31.6 minutes per game and for a relatively whole Celtics squad that was certainly a much healthier version of this franchise.
Fournier should play more minutes than that here. He will get plenty of shots up and he can do a little creating with Walker out as well. Fournier is averaging 14.8 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game this series in 32.7 minutes, but he missed time twice because of blowouts and should get more time in this spot.
We project Fournier at 36 minutes, along with 19.9 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.6 assists in what should be a fast-paced, high-scoring game against Brooklyn. Yet again, Fournier is one of the last men standing on a team that needs shots, assists and usage.
One more time, Fournier. I’ll play the PRA combo over to -135 odds.
Robert Covington — Over 6.5 Rebounds (-122)
|Blazers vs. Nuggets||Nuggets -2|
|Time | TV||9 p.m. ET | NBA TV|
Portland transformed its team last summer, remaking its forwards by trading for Robert Covington and signing Derrick Jones. Well, one out of two ain’t bad. Jones hasn’t worked out for the Blazers, but Covington has been exactly what they hoped for and even better in the playoffs.
Covington is a workhorse, putting in some long shifts. He’s playing 36.5 minutes per game, and although he’s only scoring 6.5 points per game, he’s doing a little bit of everything else. Covington is more than a steal and block per game, giving the Blazers at least a little semblance of defense. He’s also made 39% of his 3-pointers and added 6.5 rebounds per game.
Covington is playing like a big man again as well. Yes, again — did you forget about his time in Houston last year? The Rockets essentially used Covington as their center for much of his time with them last season and he actually did pretty well, both defensively and on the glass. Covington averaged 8.0 rebounds per game, stepping his game up as its de facto big man.
Now, poor Covington is being asked to play like a big man again. Portland has essentially excised Enes Kanter from its rotation at this point, because Kanter straight up cost the Blazers Game 3 when he played just under six minutes and the team gave up a 16-1 run. Kanter hasn’t played real minutes since. Instead, the Blazers are going small when Jusuf Nurkić takes a break and that makes Covington a big man once again.
And surprise, surprise — he’s stepping up. Covington has recorded 11 and nine rebounds over the last two games, doing exactly what the team needs. That’s a tidy 10.0 RPG, and it’s far above this rebounding line.
Covington was over 6.5 rebounds in exactly half his regular-season games, but that was before he upped his minutes and moved into this backup big-man role. We project him at 7.7 rebounds, and honestly, that feels conservative.
I trust Covington to play big again — literally — and I’ll play this over to -150 odds.
LeBron James — Over 43.5 Points + Rebounds + Assists (-109)
|Lakers vs. Suns||Suns -5|
|Time | TV||10 p.m. ET | TNT|
Just about every other prop we’ve played this season had a solid statistical argument. Here are the minutes, these are the field goal attempts and this is what the defense allows. Numbers, numbers, numbers, math and statistical case for the prop.
And there’s The King.
LeBron James needs no introduction and no statistical case either. And that’s a good thing, because there isn’t one really, at least not from this year. James has yet to score more than 25 points in the playoffs, which currently makes this only the third series ever for James without a 26-point game, the other two being the 2007 and 2011 NBA Finals against the Spurs and Mavericks. Those didn’t go well for James, as you might recall.
In fact, James hasn’t scored more than 25 points in a game since March 18 against the Hornets. James is averaging only 21.8 PPG for the series, along with 7.3 rebounds and 8.5 assists. He’s at 37.6 PRA for the series.
And honestly? I don’t care.
Anthony Davis almost certainly isn’t going to play and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope might be out as well. Phoenix is at home and favored, and the team has a chance to take a vital 3-2 series lead to put the defending champions on the brink of elimination.
Everything we know rationally about basketball says the Suns should win here, that James hasn’t looked healthy since his return, that this just isn’t the Lakers’ year. However, he defies rationality.
This contest sets up perfectly for one of those moments. One of those Moments. The ones where We Are All Witnesses. The LeBron Moments, the one we’ll always remember.
Maybe the Lakers get blown out and save James for another day, hoping to get Davis healthy for Games 6 and 7. I don’t know about you, but I don’t remember a whole lot of times watching James come up short in a massive playoff spot against a big-time opponent.
Shorthanded James is the most dangerous version of all. The one that has no choice, but to take all the shots, minutes and usage? That’s the James we should get against the Suns.
We need 43.5 points plus rebounds plus assists? No one would bat an eye if James did that on points alone. Our projections put him at 30.5 points, 9.3 rebounds and 8.0 assists in 39.5 minutes, so our Props Tool recommended this over and that was all I needed to see to go all in. FanDuel is offering James at +460 to record a triple-double and I’m definitely in on that as well.
Forget the numbers. Trust The King. We’ve seen this movie before.
This could shape up to be one of those all-time James games.
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