NBA Player Prop Bets, Picks: 2 Picks for Trae Young & CJ McCollum’s Regular-Season Finales (Sunday, May 16)
Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: CJ McCollum.
The end of the 2020-21 NBA regular season is upon us.
The league successfully labored through a pandemic and condensed schedule to bring NBA fans another great year of hoops. To close out the season, we have 15 games on tap this Sunday. Since there are 15 games on Sunday, we’ll focus on the 10 that start at 7 p.m. ET and later.
Playoff seeds are still up for grabs in both conferences, but many notable players will miss Sunday’s contests or have a minutes restriction to limit their upside. Given all of the uncertainty, several teams have yet to have prop markets available.
Let’s dive in on a couple of props that I like to close out the NBA season.
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
Trae Young under 9.5 assists (-113)
|Rockets vs. Hawks||Hawks -7.5|
|Time | TV||7 p.m. ET | League Pass|
Atlanta’s playoff seed is sealed. The Knicks came away with a four-point win over the Celtics, which sealed the No. 4 seed for New York. Atlanta will be heading to Madison Square Garden next week for Round 1, which means the Hawks have nothing to play for. With that, I don’t expect Trae Young to see a full workload against the Houston Rockets.
The Hawks come into Sunday on a three-game win streak, while the Rockets are 2-8 over their last 10 games of meaningless basketball with the worst record in the NBA at 17-54.
I expect the Hawks will play their starters enough minutes to get the win. Take their last game as an example. Young only played 27 minutes, delivering 18 points with seven assists in 26 minutes of action. The result? A 23-point blowout victory for Atlanta.
In the 11 games where Young played between 20-30 minutes as a starter this season, he averaged a mere 7.3 assists. According to Fansure, he’s failed to exceed 9.5 assists in five straight games at home against opponents with a losing record. Houston certainly fits that bill.
Young’s ability to dish out the rock against losing teams has been a theme all season. He’s averaging 8.8 assists against sub .500 opponents this year, compared to 10.1 assists against opponents with a winning record.
Our projections have Young distributing 7.8 assists tonight with a bet quality rating of 10.
CJ McCollum over 2.5 3-Pt Made (-155)
|Nuggets at Trail Blazers||Trail Blazers -9.5|
|Time | TV||9 p.m. ET | League Pass|
McCollum had a decent outing against the Nuggets back in April, putting up 14 points (6-of-13 FG) with nine rebounds, five assists and two 3-pointers.
With Denver already openly admitting to putting their starters on a minutes cap Sunday, I think this provides an excellent opportunity for the Blazers’ shooting guard to fire away from beyond the arc.
Assuming the Lakers beat the Pelicans, a Denver win over the Blazers will propel the Lakers into the six seed. Does Denver really want to face the defending champs in the first round? Who knows, but I’m betting that Denver plays it safe, and we’ll see the Blazers win this one outright.
Going back to these teams’ April matchup, McCollum attempted seven 3-pointers in that game. He comes into Sunday averaging 3.6 3-pointers on 8.9 attempts this season. He’s been deadly efficient from deep as of late, averaging 4.3 3-point makes on shooting 52% over his last three games.
He also has a slight edge when playing at home. According to Fansure, he’s exceeded 2.5 3-pointers made in 11 of his previous 13 games at home.
But it gets better. Over Denver’s last five games, they’ve let opponents attempt the third-most 3-pointers, along with the fifth-most 3-pointers made in the NBA over that span.
There’s some juice to this pick, but at this juncture, it’s all about wins. Our projections have McCollum nailing 3.5 3-pointers against the Nuggets with a bet quality rating of 7. I’m taking the over as McCollum and Damian Lillard should have no problems hoisting up 3-pointers to earn the victory.