Saturday’s NBA Player Prop Bets, Picks: Target Clippers’ Stars Kawhi and George (March 20)
Glenn James/Getty Images. Pictured: Kawhi Leonard of the Clippers.
The Madness continues on Saturday, and hopefully you guys fared better than I did on day one. My bracket was busted on Friday, so at this point, I’m just here for the underdog stories.
It was great to see unheralded schools like Oral Roberts and North Texas come out on top, with Buddy Boeheim showing out for Syracuse to take down the 6-seeded SDSU. It’s upsets like these that make the tournament live up to the allure. But, this is an NBA column, and we’re fortunate to have another basketball-filled day ahead of us, with five games on the Association’s schedule.
The Hawks and Lakers tipped off at 3:30 p.m. ET, with the remaining four games starting after 8 p.m. ET. As much as I wanted to throw in a prop on the first game, today’s selections are catered to the late-games. There are a limited number of stars in action, but the Spurs-Bucks and Hornets-Clippers should be fun to watch.
Before we jump in, here are a few schedule scenarios for consideration. The Kings, Warriors and Grizzlies are on the second leg of a back-to-back. The Kings head to Philly from Boston — the furthest distance traveled by a team on Saturday. Conversely, the Sixers and Lakers are playing their first game of a back-to-back. Now that the scheduling parameters are out of the way, let’s get into why I’m targeting a couple of Clippers and a replacement big man for today’s player props.
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
Dwight Howard over 10.5 points (+110)
|Kings vs. Sixers||Sixers -6|
|Time||8 p.m. ET|
The future Hall-of-Famer is filling in nicely for the Sixers as Joel Embiid continues to rehab his knee injury. I can’t believe I’ve reached the levels of recommending Dwight Howard, but I can't shy away from the value and opportunity.
The Kings come into Philly as one of the worst rebounding teams over the past three games, surrendering 54.3 total rebounds to opposing teams per NBA Advanced Stats. Just yesterday, Daniel Theis and Robert Wiliams (who continue to split minutes at center) pulled down a combined 16 rebounds. The Kings' vulnerability in the frontcourt should allow Howard to clean the glass on Saturday night.
Coming into tonight’s game, Howard’s averaged 9.7 defensive rebounds with 1.7 offensive rebounds in 26 minutes per game across his last three contests. He’s pulled down 12+ rebounds in three of his previous five outings. If Howard can stay out of foul trouble and play in the range of 20-30 minutes, he should clear 10.5 rebounds with ease. After all, his rebound rate increases to 10.6 per game when receiving minutes within this range. The last time these two teams faced off, Howard nearly double-doubled with eight points and nine rebounds in only 13 minutes of action.
With the Kings playing on zero days rest, Howard is in a great position to hit this over. Our projections have Howard at 11.7 rebounds tonight and with a bet quality rating of 8 out of 10.
Kawhi Leonard over 26.5 points, (-113)
|Hornets vs. Clippers||Clippers -9.5|
|Time||10 p.m. ET|
It’s hard to get a read on the Clippers lately, as they’ve lost three of their last five games. Two of those losses came against sub .500 teams, followed by Thursday’s bludgeoning courtesy of the Mavs. Leonard has been pretty average over that span, seeing his scoring drop by 3.2 points from his seasonal average of 26.2 PPG. However, the Hornets coming to LA will be the cure for Leonard getting out of his scoring rut and should get the Clippers back on track.
Kawhi is widely known as a mid-range assassin, and fortunately for him, the Hornets defend poorly against the mid-range. Per Cleaning the Glass, Charlotte ranks in the bottom-10 defensively around the rim and in the short mid-range. Leonard is elite in these spots, ranking in the 90th and 87th percentiles, respectively. Leonard’s also a more prolific scorer at home. His scoring average jumps up by four points (28.6) when compared to playing on the road (24.6).
He’s also performed well against the top eight in the Eastern Conference, averaging 28.6 PPG in five games this season. With the Clippers struggling and the Hornets playing their third game in four nights, this is an ideal position for one of the league’s best scorers to right the ship.
The Hornets are 9.5-point dogs, and according to Fansure, Leonard’s exceeded 26.5 points in seven of his last eight games at home as a favorite. His scoring line opened up at 25.5, and it moved up to 26.5. Despite that, I’d play this up to 27.5 as our projections have Leonard scoring 27.9 points tonight. I’m taking the over here and wouldn’t be surprised if he went for 30.
Paul George over 3.5 3Pt Shots Made, (-113)
|Hornets vs. Clippers||Clippers -9.5|
|Time||10 p.m. ET|
Much like my reasoning for buying into Kawhi Leonard, Paul George is also in a good spot to produce against the Hornets. Per Team Rankings, the Hornets allow the most three-point attempts against opposing teams in the NBA. Similarly, they rank 29th in opponent three-pointers made per game.
George attempts seven three’s per game and is hitting them at a robust 44% clip. He’s averaging 3.4 3PM per game this through Saturday, and there's no reason to suspect he won’t be bombing away against Charlotte.
George performs slightly better from distance against Eastern Conference opponents, seeing his three’s made per game rise to 3.9 while attempting 8.7 per contest. George is currently seventh in three’s made in the NBA, and when he knocks down four or more threes in a game, the Clippers are 10-5. As 9.5 point favorites, we project George to hit 3.8 threes tonight. There should be plenty of opportunities for George to fire away and hit this over.