NBA Player Prop Bets, Picks: 3 Way to Bet Monday Night’s NBA Playoff Games (May 31)
Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Jonas Valanciunas #17 of the Memphis Grizzlies.
- Our top props come from Monday's two Game 4 matchups: 76ers vs. Wizards and Jazz vs. Grizzlies.
- In one matchup, Brandon Anderson is fading one big man and buying in on another.
- Check out his favorite player props for tonight's games.
We've got two games on the slate tonight, and both feature dominating No. 1 seeds against overmatched No. 8 seeds on the brink of elimination. The Washington Wizards are out if they lose tonight, while the Memphis Grizzlies would be down 3-1 headed back to Utah in a heap of trouble.
So with two potential knockout situations, how do the minutes play out for a pair of desperate underdogs in what might be their final home game of the season, and how do we play their props accordingly?
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
Joel Embiid, Under 31.5 points (-114)
|76ers vs. Wizards||76ers -9|
|Time | TV||7 p.m. ET | TNT|
Joel Embiid is awesome. By some measures, Embiid was the per-minute MVP in the NBA regular season, meaning he was as good as any player in the NBA while on the court. So why are we betting against him?
Well, the truth is that this isn't really a bet against Embiid. It's more of a bet on him and on the 76ers continuing to thoroughly dominate the poor Washington Wizards. With Embiid on the court, the Sixers have totally overwhelmed the Wizards, and this series looks headed toward a sweep tonight.
Embiid has dominated so much that he's only had to play 28.0 minutes per game thus far through three playoff games. He's averaging 29.3 points per game in them, a perfectly robust number, but this is a really high line to get to. Including the three playoff games, Embiid has gone under 31.5 points in 31 of 54 games, hitting this under 57.4% of the time.
Embiid averaged 33.0 points per 36 minutes this season, so the real question here is how many minutes he plays. We're projecting him at 32.7 minutes and 28.7 points, and I wouldn't be surprised if he ends up well below that minutes number if this thing wraps early.
This is a bet on, not against, Embiid. He's just so good Philly won't even need him out there long enough to hit 32 points. I'll play the under to -130.
Bradley Beal, Over 1.5 3-pointers (-130)
|76ers vs. Wizards||76ers -9|
|Time | TV||7 p.m. ET | TNT|
Unlike Philadelphia, Bradley Beal and the Washington Wizards should be out there gunning. Especially with Russell Westbrook ailing, Washington needs all it can get from Beal.
Beal scored 31.3 PPG this season and has nearly matched that in the postseason at 30.3 PPG. Not bad. But the 3s haven't been falling for Beal so far this postseason. Through three games against the Wizards, Beal has attempted 20 shots from beyond the arc but made only three of them, a terrible 15%.
That's 6.7 attempts per game, though, and that's the number that matters, because shooting variance should even out over time. That 6.7 is actually up from Beal's 6.2 per game in the season, and he averaged 2.2 makes per outing there. And that was actually at only 35% shooting too, so it's not like there was anything unsustainable about that performance.
The Wizards need points, three is greater than two, and Beal is their best shooter and scorer. He went over 1.5 made 3s in 36 of 60 games this season, hitting this over 60% of the time. Beal has made exactly one 3-pointer in each playoff game so far this season, but he's getting unlucky. We only need one more tonight, and if he keeps getting six or seven shots up, the odds are in our favor.
We project Beal at 2.6 makes tonight, which gives this one a 17% edge in our favor. I'll play the over to -150.
Jonas Valanciunas, Over 14.5 REB + AST (-125)
|Jazz vs. Grizzlies||Jazz -5.5|
|Time | TV||9:30 p.m. ET | TNT|
Jonas Valanciunas has been the mountain man at the heart of Memphis. As awesome as Ja Morant and Dillon Brooks have been these playoffs, Valanciunas is the metronome of this team. As JV goes, so often go the Grizzlies.
And with Memphis staring down the brink of elimination, it's time for another big game from the Grizzlies big man.
Valanciunas was a monster in Memphis's postseason debut this year, dropping 23 points and 23 rebounds in an elimination win over the Spurs. He was quieter against the Warriors but still had nine points, 12 rebounds, and three assists.
Valanciunas was big again in the shocking Game 1 win for the Grizzlies, but he's been a bit quieter the past two games and actually was held scoreless in the first half before ripping off 10 straight points to start the second half and get Memphis back into the game.
So far this series, Valanciunas has recorded 12, six, and 13 rebounds. That's 66 boards in five postseason games, an average of 13.2 per game thus far, a very impressive number for a guy who can rack up boards in a hurry. JV's rebounding over-under is set at 12.5, and that seems about right, but that's why we are adding in the assists.
That only moves the line by two, and that's not enough. Valanciunas has had three or more assists in four straight games as Memphis plays its offense through him at times. He's averaging 3.0 APG in these five postseason games, so that's a nice way to boost this line in our favor by adding in assists.
Valanciunas averaged 15.6 rebounds per 36 minutes in the regular season, and it's entirely possible he plays that much in a must-win spot and hits this over on rebounds alone. But even if he doesn't, we should get a few assists to help our cause.
Valanciunas has gone over 14.5 rebounds and assists in four of his five postseason games. Let's count on him to show up when his team needs him most and do it again tonight. I'll play to -145.