NBA Player Props & Picks: Bet Damian Lillard, Jabari Smith Jr.
Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Damian Lillard #0 of the Portland Trail Blazers.
- Player props are always fun bets and our analyst has a pair of them worth backing tonight.
- Munaf Manji is backing overs on Jabari Smith Jr. and Damian Lillard.
- Manji details the props he's betting below.
There are tree games on the NBA schedule tonight and plenty of opportunities to cash in on a few players’ props. I’m eyeing a pair bets for the Thursday slate: one on a rookie and another on a vet.
Let’s jump into today’s player props and picks below.
NBA Player Props & Picks
Jabari Smith Jr., Over 2.5 3-Point Shots Made (+110)
|Time | TV||8:30 p.m. ET | NBA League Pass|
Jabari Smith Jr., the 2022 No. 3 overall pick, is making strides to improve his game by the day. Smith has been inconsistent so far as most rookies are, averaging 11.8 points and 7.0 rebounds per game, but the one area in which Smith Jr. has been consistent is his 3-point shooting.
He is shooting 35.5% from beyond the arc this season and over the last five games, he’s up to 52.2% from deep. Smith Jr. is doing a great job of finding the open spots on the floor and shooting 3s. He leads the Rockets in Open (4-6 feet of space) 3-point attempts and he shooting 41.7% on Wide Open (6 or more feet of space) 3s, this season. He has cleared this line in 10 of his 23 games this season has hit three 3-pointers in seven of the last eight games.
Tonight the Rockets visit their in-state rivals, the San Antonio Spurs, one of the worst perimeter defensive teams in the entire league. They rank dead last in opponent 3-point percentage (39.9%) and 25th in Opponent 3-point Makes (13.1) despite being 11th in Opponent 3-Point Attempts. I expect Smith to continue to find success behind the arc again tonight.
Damian Lillard, Over 6.5 Assists (-136)
|Spread||Trail Blazers -1|
|Time | TV||10 p.m. ET | NBA League Pass|
As great of a shooter and scorer as Damian Lillard has been in his career, he has embraced being a facilitator over the past five seasons.
This season, Lillard is averaging 6.9 assists per game and 12.3 potential assists. He has gone over this line in four out of his past five games for the Blazers, including three games where he dished out double-digit dimes.
Why is he having so much success as a passer this season?
The Blazers have plenty of offensive talent on this team. Anfernee Simons has become a lethal shooter and accounts for two of Lillard’s assists per game. Jerami Grant (1.3 assists from Lillard) is another great scorer on this team, and Lillard has always had good chemistry with Nurkic over the years in the pick-and-roll game.
In an earlier matchup this season against the Nuggets, Lillard dished out eight assists. I am expecting plenty of points tonight in this game. I like this at 6.5 despite the juice and would even go up to 7.5 on the line at plus money.