NBA Player Props & Predictions: Back CJ McCollum in Game 1 vs. Suns (April 17)
AP Photo/Ashley Landis. Pictured: CJ McCollum
- The NBA postseason continues on Sunday with four consecutive games to bet on.
- Our NBA props analyst has found three bets with value, including a play on CJ McCollum.
- Check out Tyler Schmidt's picks and breakdowns below.
After a very exciting first NBA Playoffs slate yesterday, we run it back tonight with another four games. This slate is all about the spreads as two teams are double-digit favorites, and no game has a closer spread than four points. Yesterday had two upsets, but will today be more of the same?
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.
NBA Player Props & Picks
Trae Young, Over 37.5 Points + Assists (-110)
|Heat vs. Hawks||Heat -7|
|Time | TV||1 p.m. ET | TNT|
After a big road victory against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Play-In Tournament, the Atlanta Hawks captured the no. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference and a matchup against the Miami Heat. This is series they can win, but it will be difficult without their starting center Clint Capela, who is out today.
With Capela out of the lineup and John Collins questionable, Trae Young is going to have to do literally everything for this Hawks team. He has turned into one of the league’s best villains as he obviously loves playing on the road. Young finished the regular season sixth in points and third in assists per game.
The Heat rank fourth in Defensive Rating, allowing 105.6 points per game. Where they really suffocate their opponents is their pace where they play at the third-slowest in the league. It should be no surprise the Hawks have the lowest implied total on the slate at 106.25 points, which is not good for Young.
Over the last nine games, Young is averaging 32 points and 10.2 assists per game. That is well over this 37.5 points and assists prop, and our model has Young projected for 45.4 points and assists today. Young has reached the over in eight of his last nine games. This is a difficult matchup, especially if both Capela and Collins are out, but Young is simply different in the playoffs.
Zach LaVine, Over 2.5 3-Pointers Made (-140)
|Bucks vs. Bulls||Bucks -10.5|
|Time | TV||6:30 p.m. ET | TNT|
The Chicago Bulls had a fantastic start to the season before slowly dropping down to the no. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference. They got a terrible draw, facing the reigning NBA Champion Milwaukee Bucks in the first round. Many have this being a quick series as the Bucks are double-digit favorites tonight.
The one spot that the Bulls can take advantage of the Bucks is on the perimeter. The Bucks allowed the most 3-pointers made and attempted this season by a comfortable margin. Unfortunately, the Bulls made 10.6 3-pointers per game, which ranks as the second-lowest in the league this season.
Their 3-point leader throughout the season was actually Lonzo Ball, but he has been out since the middle of January. This series, they will rely on Zach LaVine to get hot from the perimeter to give them a chance. He is averaging 2.8 3-pointers made per game this season after posting back-to-back seasons with over three 3-pointers made. He is averaging over 24 points per game as well.
LaVine and DeMar DeRozan will need to lead this Bulls team which lost all four games against the Bucks during the regular season. LaVine played the Bucks in two of those games and had three or more 3-pointers per game. He will get plenty of opportunities to hit this over prop and will need to in order to keep the Bulls not only in this game, but in this series.
CJ McCollum, Over 4.5 Assists (-115)
|Suns vs. Pelicans||Suns -10.5|
|Time | TV||9 p.m. ET | TNT|
The New Orleans Pelicans won two games in the Play-In Tournament to claim the no. 8 seed in the Western Conference. Their reward? The Phoenix Suns, who have had the best record in the league this season. The Pelicans are double-digit underdogs as the Suns are the favorites to hoist the Larry O’Brien Trophy.
CJ McCollum has been a completely rejuvenated player since coming to the Pelicans. He has averaged a career-high in points, assists, rebounds, steals, and field goal percentage. Our focus tonight is his assists number, where he is averaging 5.8 per game with the Pelicans, providing great value on this prop.
The Pelicans are only implied for 107 points tonight as the Suns led the league in Net Rating this season, ranking fifth in Offensive Rating and third in Defensive Rating. This may be a quick series for the Pelicans, but they do have upside on the offensive side of the ball. McCollum and Brandon Ingram are a great duo.
There is a little bit of blowout risk facing the best team in the league, but if the Pelicans keep this close, it will be on the backs of McCollum and Ingram. Our model loves both of their over assists props, where Ingram’s is coming in with juice on the over. I prefer McCollum’s, especially on PointsBet, where he is getting much better value on the over compared to the other sportsbooks.