NBA Player Prop Bets & Picks for New Year’s Eve: Do LeBron James & Donovan Mitchell Have Big Game In Store On Friday? (December 31)
Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: LeBron James #6 of the Los Angeles Lakers.
- The NBA has one more loaded slate of 10 games to round out the year.
- New Year's Eve finishes with the Jazz and Lakers playing on their home court.
- See which stars Malik Smith has focused his prop bets around in those games, below.
As we get ready to say goodbye to 2021, it's only right that we try to get some wins on the way out. Friday night's schedule is loaded with 10 games and while we've got plenty of options, we're only looking at the stars tonight.
We'll be using the Action Labs Player Prop tool to compare our NBA projections to the props posted at a variety of sportsbooks.
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.
Let's get right to it.
NBA Player Props & Picks
Trae Young, Over 9.5 Assists (+105)
|Hawks vs. Cavaliers||Cavaliers -1.5|
|Time | TV||7:30 p.m. ET | NBA League Pass|
Trae Young is third in the NBA in assists this season behind James Harden and Chris Paul with 9.3 dimes per game. The Hawks, maybe more than any other team, have been ravaged by players entering health and safety protocols. But Young has still been able to put up the type of impressive numbers we've seen all season.
Young dished out 11 dimes in the Hawks' most recent matchup with the Bulls despite being on the floor with a bunch of players on 10-day contracts. As long as he's a threat to score, defenses will try to force the ball out of his hands and that typically means open looks for his teammates.
This number may seem lofty, but Young has topped it in more than half of the games he has played this season. Our projections have him at 10.3 and I like the value here at +105.
Donovan Mitchell, Under 6.5 Assists (+106)
|Timberwolves vs. Jazz||Jazz -12.5|
|Time | TV||9 p.m. ET | NBA League Pass|
The juice on over 6.5 assists is heavy from book to book but I'm going the other way here. Mike Conley is expected to rest in this game, which will give Donovan Mitchell more on-ball duties than usual. Mitchell is already a high usage player, so I don't expect much to change here.
In three games with Conley out this season, Mitchell tallied six, seven and five assists respectively, numbers that are within the range of his season average of five assists per game. Mitchell's shot attempts in those three games were all higher than his season average, and I think that's where we'll see him try to make up for Conley's absence.
Lastly, in 31 games this season, Mitchell has gone over 6.5 assists just five times. Our projections have him at 5.4 and this is another prop that we can bet at plus-money.
LeBron James, Over 2.5 3 Pointers (-115)
|Trail Blazers vs. Lakers||Lakers -5.5|
|Time | TV||10:30 p.m. ET | NBA League Pass|
Consider this bet a heat check. LeBron James has been playing out of his mind over the past few weeks and while the numbers haven't led to wins, it appears the four-time MVP is looking like the best version of himself again. This season, James is taking more 3-pointers (7.8) per game than he has at any point in his career and he's coming off a game where he tied his career-high of eight 3s in a game.
James has knocked down at least three 3-pointers in his past three games and this matchup presents a great opportunity for James to keep his hot hand rolling. The Trail Blazers are tied for last in the NBA in opponent 3-point percentage and a big reason is the amount of open looks they allow. Per NBA Advanced Stats, the Trail Blazers give up 15.5 3-point attempts that are deemed open, fifth-most in the NBA.
For all of the struggles the Lakers have endured this season, the one person they haven't had to worry about when he's on the floor is LeBron. Considering the matchup, I like him to hit the over here and keep his streak of 3s going.