NBA Player Prop Bets, Picks for Tuesday: Trust the Shooting Consistency of Jayson Tatum (March 16)
Cato Cataldo/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics
- Tuesday's top player props feature one player who has been lovable, one who is forgettable and one you might be hearing about for the first time.
- Brandon Anderson looks at three of the top prop plays for tonight's action, including an exciting matchup for Jayson Tatum against the Utah Jazz.
- Check out his analysis and bets below.
Yesterday was a good day in this space, maybe our easiest 3-0 coast of the season.
We played Reggie Bullock to go over 12.5 points + rebounds + assists (PRA) and he had a monster first half, scoring 17 points and grabbing an easy win midway through the second quarter.
In the same game, we faded Bruce Brown’s PRA under 16.5 and he played six minutes off the bench in an ever-fading role, finishing with just nine PRA combined. In the nightcap, we faded Caris LeVert’s passing and he finished less than halfway to his 4.5 assists total with just two on the night.
All three props hit with about half the line to go, and two of them even came at plus juice. So you know what that means. Emboldened by our success, it’s time for one of our favorite traditions here at Action Network. That’s right — it’s Plus Juice Day!
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
Aleksej Pokusevski, Over 2.5 Assists (+140)
|Thunder vs. Bulls||Bulls -5.5|
|Time | TV||8 p.m. ET | NBA League Pass|
Oh, baby. If you’ve never heard of Aleksej Pokusevski before, it is my absolute pleasure to introduce you to your new favorite player.
Poku is unlike anything you’ve ever seen before on the basketball court. The seven-foot, 200-pound Pokusevski looks like a center but plays like a guard. In a single play, he’ll obliterate a shot on defense, corral the rebound, explode down the court with four or five long strides, and suddenly pull up for a silky smooth 3-pointer.
Poku is a unicorn in every sense of the word: He plays like a skilled guard who grew a foot overnight, and woke up the next day trying to figure out what to do with his new body.
Pokusevski is a project, which is why he’s the perfect rookie for the Thunder. He’ll either end up a top five player from this draft class or out of the league altogether, with little room for anything in between. He’s a comfortable dribbler and handler and has absolutely absurd passing ability for a man his size. He can run pick-and-roll, sure, but he’s also liable to go behind his back or make a live whip pass at any moment.
Pokusevski’s talent is clear, and after a successful stint in the G-League bubble, the Thunder have removed the bubble wrap and thrown him into their starting lineup since returning from the All-Star break. He’s averaging 13.7 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 3.0 assists, playing 33 minutes per game in a high-usage role while Al Horford and Darius Bazley remain out.
Poku has played at least 30 minutes in all three starts, and why not? OKC has nothing to lose here. He’s averaging an assist every 11 minutes as a starter, has at least two dimes in each start, and he’s gone over 2.5 in two of his three starts.
Let’s have a little fun tonight and watch one of the weirdest, most wonderful players in the NBA do his thing. It’s time to grab yourself a bunch of new fans, Poku.
We project him at 2.7 assists tonight, and I’ll play this one at +115 or better.
Jayson Tatum, Over 2.5 3-Pointers (+150)
|Jazz vs. Celtics||Jazz -4|
|Time | TV||7:30 p.m. ET | TNT|
Unlike Poku, you need no introduction to Jayson Tatum. He has been one of the league’s best young two-way wings for a while, and it looks like he’s starting to heat up.
Over his past five games, Tatum is averaging 25.2 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 4.4 assists, and he finally looks like himself again. That’s huge for Boston since Tatum missed a big chunk of January in COVID protocol and hadn’t looked like himself in the weeks since. Maybe the All-Star break time off was exactly what Tatum needed.
Tatum has hit three 3-pointers in four of those five games, and he’s gone over the 2.5 line in eight of his past 11. Tatum can be a streaky shooter at times, but when he gets hot, it can last for long stretches. It’s starting to feel like this is one of those stretches.
Utah won’t make this easy. The Jazz allow the fewest 3-point makes per game this season, and that’s why we’re getting positive juice here. It’s also worth noting that, while Tatum has gone over 2.5 3s in eight of his past 11 and hit this over 73% of the time, he’s also never topped three made 3-pointers in that stretch. In fact, he has only done that twice since early January.
Typically that might throw us off the scent, but it shouldn’t. Instead, it just reminds us of what a consistently good shooter Tatum is. He’s a touch under 40% from beyond the arc in the NBA, and he has at least seven 3-point attempts in 20 of his 33 games this season. When you shoot as well as Tatum does, you don’t need huge attempts — and three makes is all we need anyway.
This will almost certainly be close. Tatum has exactly three 3-pointers in 15 games this season. But he has more than that in six games too, so he’s hit the over 64% of the time, and he finally looks fully healthy and in rhythm again.
Even against the tough Jazz defense, that’s certainly enough edge for us to play with +150 juice in our favor. We project Tatum at 2.9 3s, right at his usual. I’ll play to +115.
Darius Garland, Over 7.5 Rebounds + Assists (+112)
|Cavaliers vs. Heat||Heat -11|
|Time | TV||8 p.m. ET | NBA League Pass|
Here we go again.
As well as our props have done in this space, it’s been no thanks to Cleveland’s backcourt of Collin Sexton and Darius Garland. SexLand smokes us every time we play them. But the numbers still look right, so we just keep coming back.
Garland had an awesome start to the season, with 19.0 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 7.2 assists per game in December. Then he got hurt and had an utterly forgettable January. Since February, his numbers have bounced back to 16.4 points, 1.9 rebounds, and 6.5 assists — not quite as hot as that torrid start, but certainly a strong line.
Garland is averaging 34 minutes per game since Feb. 1. He played less than 20 minutes in the final game before the break, but if you exclude that outlier, Garland is averaging 8.2 assists and 2.5 rebounds over his last six games. He’s a really good passer and creator for the Cavaliers.
The over on Garland’s assists prop looks good at 5.5, but since he’s usually reliable to grab a couple rebounds too, I prefer the combo prop at 7.5 for the plus juice. Garland has hit the combo over with assists alone in three of these recent six, and he’s gone over the prop in all six games, averaging 9.3 rebounds and assists combined.
Let’s give Garland yet another chance and hope his passing doesn’t disappear again. He has at least five assists in 21-of-29 games, and as long as he gets to that floor, we’ll have a solid shot here. I’ll play to even odds.