NBA Playoffs Player Prop Bets, Picks: Can Luka and Julius Randle Carry Teams in Game 3? (Friday, May 28)
Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks.
- Luka Doncic has been a playoff monster against the Clippers both last season and this one, and Brandon Anderson sees no reason to think it'll stop now.
- With his rebound prop set at 7.5, Anderson thinks that number is too low.
- He explains how he's betting that prop and more below using the Action Labs prop tool.
Friday night brings us three really fascinating basketball games — well, three games and at least two that are fascinating. The Knicks and Hawks head to Atlanta tied up at one game each, while the Mavericks return to Dallas with a shocking 2-0 series lead and the Clippers on the ropes.
We’ll stay way from that ugly Nets-Celtics series tonight since it’s tough to know who will play in a potential blowout spot and instead focus on tonight’s two key games.
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
Julius Randle, Under 24.5 Points (-110)
|Knicks vs. Hawks||Hawks -4.5|
|Time | TV||7:30 p.m. ET | ESPN|
What an incredible season for Julius Randle!
Randle was the Most Improved Player and might be in the running for an All-NBA team. He was also a first-time All Star and the star player on a renaissance New York Knicks team that fought hard all year and earned home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
Randle scored 24.1 points per game for the Knicks, a career-high by a good margin. He attempted 18.6 shots in 37.6 minutes per game and improved his 3-point percentage from 29.5% in his career to over 41% this season. It was a career year in every way, and like any star Tom Thibodeau student, he was played to the bone. His 37.6 minutes per game led the league, because of course they did.
The problem is that that style leaves players worn down for the end of the season and into the postseason, and it also often means that there’s really not another level for that player reach. While most other players are seeing minutes and shots ramping up, Randle is actually playing a little less, the consequence of tired legs and tougher, more grueling minutes.
Randle has scored just 15 points in each of his first two playoff games with the Knicks, and his minutes are down slightly to 36.3. He’s shooting an ugly 28% from the field, just 11-of-39 against a defense that’s cued around stopping him, and his 3-point percent has regressed to 31%. Some of that is bad luck and should regress positively, but not enough of it.
Randle should shoot a little better going forward, but it’s hard when the opponent has a week to prepare its entire defense to try and stop you. Unfortunately, this is how things go for Thibs teams. It’s easy to focus on the numbers Randle put up and forget that he was the star of the league’s 24th ranked team in Offensive Efficiency.
Shooting percentage isn’t relevant to our bet, but this series is gritty and points are tough to come by. Randle may not be stuck on 15 points a third straight game, but he needs a full 10 more points to hit this over.
We project him to come up short at 21.3, so I’ll play the under to -125.
Patrick Beverley, Under 10.5 PTS + REB + AST (-111)
|Clippers vs. Mavericks||Clippers -3|
|Time | TV||9:30 p.m. ET | ESPN|
Patrick Beverley has really had quite a marvelous career, when you think about it.
The 6-foot-1 rascal was undrafted out of Arkansas and spent the better part of four seasons overseas, playing ball in Ukraine, Greece, and Russia before finally making his way back to the NBA. There he joined the Houston Rockets and used his constant energy and peskiness to make a home, and he even became a three-time All-Defense player.
At his best, Beverley is the perfect 3-and-D sort of guard. He’s that dude at the YMCA who picks you up 90 feet from the hoop and makes your life hell for the next hour, pressing you and getting under your skin, backing you down with his sweaty, hairy back, jawing the whole time, and then hitting the winning shot in your face. That’s Pat Bev.
At least it was.
It remains to be seen whether that version Beverley is still in there. He played 51 games last season and was never really healthy in the playoffs, and this season he played 37 regular season games. He’s still starting but part of a three-headed point guard rotation for the Clippers now.
Reggie Jackson provides the best shooting and scoring punch, and Rajon Rondo seems to have replaced Beverley as that wily veteran, so it seems to be leaving less of a role for Beverley. He’s also struggling mightily to defend Luka Doncic, a thankless job he’s clearly too small for.
So far through two games, Beverley is averaging 6.5 points, 1.0 rebounds, and 1.5 assists. He had no rebounds in one game, no assists in another, has yet to get to the free throw line and is playing 20.5 minutes per game.
It wouldn’t be a surprise to see him minimized even further, and that’s the play here. We know Beverley shouldn’t be a DNP, but it’s possible he gets something close to the Elfrid Payton treatment: a few minutes to start, then sent to the bench.
This is just an overall fade of Beverley and his role right now. He’s not playing enough and not producing much when he’s out there. I’ll play the PRA under to -130.
Luka Doncic, Over 7.5 Rebounds (-129)
|Clippers vs. Mavericks||Clippers -3|
|Time | TV||9:30 p.m. ET | ESPN|
Doncic has been perhaps the story of the playoffs so far as the Mavericks have upset the Clippers twice on the road to take a 2-0 series lead.
Doncic has been a monster, averaging 35.0 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 9.0 assists per game, and that’s not even a real outlier. Last postseason, Doncic faced these Clippers too, a team with two supersized wings built specifically to stop a player like Doncic, and it didn’t matter then either.
He averaged 31.0 points, 9.8 rebounds, and 8.7 assists per game in that series. He looks like a future MVP, and the future might be much closer than anyone realized.
Doncic’s numbers have taken a leap from the regular season each year in the playoffs, and that’s how things work with superstars. He’s playing more minutes and taking on a higher usage, and the minutes are key here.
Doncic averaged 8.0 rebounds per game this season, which already makes this line questionable, but it’s even odder once you dig into the minutes. Doncic has played at least 35.5 minutes in 33 games this year. He averages 9.4 RPG in those contests and has gone over 7.5 boards in 28 of those games, hitting this over a whopping 85% of the time.
And you know Doncic is going to play at least that many minutes in this one, unless it’s a blowout or he gets hurt. He’s played 79 minutes the first two games, nearly 40 per game, and recorded 17 rebounds.
He’s now averaging 8.4 RPG in five contests against the Clippers this season (counting the regular season), and he went over 7.5 boards in five of his six playoff games against the Clips last year, the only under by a single rebound.
Frankly, this line is too low. Doncic was averaging more rebounds than this in the regular season, and now he’s playing even more. We project Doncic at 8.9 boards, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him hit double digits.
Honestly, is anything a surprise with Doncic these days? I’ll ride with Luka Magic any day. I’ll play this over to -160.