Friday NBA Player Props: 7 Picks, Including Trae Young & Jalen Green
Harrison Barden/Getty Images. Pictured: Trae Young #11 of the Atlanta Hawks.
It’s the final Friday of the NBA season and we’ve got a huge slate on our hands. Some teams have already folded up shop by turning things over to the young players and backups, and others are making strong pushes and going all out to lock up that playoff berth or preferred seed.
It’s vital to consider team motivations on both sides in these games, and it also means big edges if we can find them.
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 seven 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
Darius Garland, over 2.5 threes (+120)
|Cavs at Nets||Nets -8.5|
|Time||7:30 p.m. ET|
This Cavs-Nets affair is a monster game, maybe the most important game remaining this season. A win for Brooklyn puts the Nets in great position to grab the 7-seed and get two home games for a chance to make the playoffs and, maybe, be the favorite to come out of the East. It also pushes the Cavs down the standings, perhaps as far as the 10-seed by the time this all wraps up since they lose any relevant tiebreaker.
Both teams badly want this one, so that means we should see big minutes from the biggest stars. And for Cleveland, that unfortunately is only one man right now with Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley still out. It’s Darius Garland.
Garland has to do everything without his star big men out there, and he should be in line for a big game against a Nets defense that isn’t particularly scary. Usually that means a lot of 3s, and that could be even more the case if Cleveland struggles as expected and Garland has to fire away from behind. He averages 3.0 treys per game this season without his two big men, and he made a trio of 3s against the Nets already once this season.
Garland averages 7.7 3-point attempts per game without Mobley and Allen, and he’s gone over this line in six of nine games (67%).
We project him at 2.8 makes and get a nice plus number here at +120, and I think he could easily get to 40 minutes and double-digit attempts if the script goes the right direction. I’ll play it at anything plus-money.
Jalen Green, over 3.5 threes (-120)
|Rockets at Raptors||Raptors -11.5|
|Time||7:30 p.m. ET|
The Rockets have been in tank mode for awhile now. Other than that one weird seven-game winning streak around Thanksgiving, you could make a pretty good argument the Rockets have basically been tanking the entire season. They’re 13-60 in their other games after all.
But they’ve really cranked up the tanking down the stretch, and they’ve done so by excising some of the veterans and turning up to 11 the usage on some of these young guys. And more than anyone else lately, that means Jalen Green.
It’s way too late for Green to make a Rookie of the Year push, but he’s been an absolute stud these last couple weeks. Over his last seven games, Green is putting up a whopping 29.1 points per game. He is a natural-born scorer and looks like he’s finally caught up to the speed of the game and is figuring things out and getting buckets.
He’s also finally making his 3s, and he’s taking heaps of them. During this recent stretch, he’s averaging 11.7 3-point attempts per game, a huge number for anyone, let alone a rookie. He’s making 5.3 per game, an impressive 45%, but even if that percentage doesn’t stay that high, the volume is still the key. Green has gone over 3.5 made 3s in all seven of these games, hitting this prop in seven straight.
If you want to be more aggressive, you’ve got a few options. You can play five-plus 3s at +200. That’s a lot of 3s, but he’s done it in five of these last seven games and was one away in the two misses, so it’s worth an escalator play.
You can also just go with points if you want. Green has scored at least 25 in five straight and is -108 to hit that number, and he’s scored 30 in each of the last four and is +255 to get there again tonight.
The Raptors are a tough defense but should be mostly resting for the playoffs now, so Green should have another big game ahead. Pick your poison and play the over.
Trae Young, under 10.5 assists (+100)
|Hawks at Heat||Hawks -2|
|Time||8 p.m. ET|
The Hawks are playing great ball down the stretch, and Trae Young is at the heart of that as always. He’s been terrific, and he’s averaging 11.1 assists per game over the last 10, up a sizable amount from his season-long 9.7 APG. That recent surge is what has pushed this line up so high.
But let’s be honest — 11 assists is a pretty hefty ask for any player. There are a whole lot of ways to go under 11 assists. Maybe your teammates miss a couple gimmes. Maybe Young is more of a scorer and less a passer tonight. Maybe the game gets away in either direction and both teams shut it down with the postseason just around the corner.
The Heat are a tough defense, after all, and they’re just a win away from clinching the East 1-seed. Miami has allowed the fourth fewest assists of any team in the NBA, and the Heat do not make things easy on the opponent.
Young has averaged 7.0 assists in three games against the Heat this season, and he’s failed to hit double-digit dimes in all five games against the Heat the last two years. He’s also under this line in 10 of 14 games this year against the Warriors, Suns, Jazz, Celtics, and Cavs, other notably stingy defenses.
Eleven assists is just a lot to ask for, and I’m willing to fade this line. We project Young at 9.9 dimes, so I’ll play to -125.
Bonus NBA Prop Bets
- Obi Toppin, over 1.5 threes (-140 DraftKings): We hit Toppin two nights ago, so let’s keep playing. With Julius Randle out, Toppin is getting big run late in the season. He’s also stretching out his game and has hoisted at least four 3-point attempts in six of his last eight games with multiple makes in five of them (63%). With the minutes and volume there, two 3s are still likely.
- Deni Avdija, over 3.5 threes (-160 DraftKings): Avdija has seen his numbers tick up over the last 11 games to 13.0 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 3.9 assists per game. He’s another young guy taking more 3s, and he’s averaging 2.0 makes on 5.6 attempts over that stretch at a solid 36%. He’s over this line in eight of 11 (73%) so the juice is worth the squeeze. You can also play over 3.5 assists at -110 if you like. He’s gone over that in seven of these 11 (64%).
- Bruce Brown, over 12.5 points (+105 DraftKings): Brown continues to be integral to the Nets and should see big minutes in that huge game against the Cavs. In 20 games since the All-Star Break, he’s averaging 14.3 PPG and has gone over this line in 14 of 20 games (70%), and that goes up to 75% and 14.9 PPG when he plays at least 25 minutes. With so much defensive attention on KD and Kyrie each night, Brown just finds ways to score.
- Talen Horton-Tucker, over 2.5 turnovers (+125 DraftKings): The Lakers are officially on 1-2-3 Cancun mode with LeBron, Russ and Brow out, which means it’s showcase-THT-for-trades season. Horton-Tucker took 28 shots and scored 40 last game with those three sidelined. All that time on the court and added usage for a young raw player should mean turnovers. THT had 22 turnovers in six games last season with 28-plus minutes as the centerpiece and went over this line in five of the six (83%). Bank on the mistakes to come with the growth.