NBA Player Prop & Pick: Trey Murphy III Should Step Up in Rockets vs. Pelicans (January 4)

NBA Player Prop & Pick: Trey Murphy III Should Step Up in Rockets vs. Pelicans (January 4) article feature image

Sean Gardner/Getty Images. Pictured: Trey Murphy III #25 of the New Orleans Pelicans.

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NBA Player Prop & Pick

PropTrey Murphy III Over 14.5 PTS (-130)
MatchupRockets vs. Pelicans
Time8 p.m. ET
Best BookDraftKings

Zion Williamson will miss at least three weeks due to a hamstring strain. The Duke product was on a tear while absorbing a 32.5% Usage Rate accounting for 20% of the team’s shot volume in December without Brandon Ingram.

Trey Murphy figures to get a boost and has historically stepped up in his absence. The sophomore has elite efficiency ranking in the 98th percentile in Effective Field Goal Percentage, per Cleaning the Glass, and sees an increase in production from 12.7 points per game average to 17.5 points per game in the six games playing at least 25 minutes without Williamson. Murphy is shooting 9.8% better from the field at home than on the road this season.

We are getting a buy-low spot, as Murphy has faced some unfavorable matchups recently. Nine of his past 12 games were against the Phoenix Suns (three times), UtahJazz (twice), Philadelphia 76ers (twice), Milwaukee Bucks, and San Antonio Spurs — all of whom are top five in opposing 3-point frequency allowed, per NBA Advanced Stats. Not good spots for a guy taking 59.5% of his shots via Catch-and-Shoot and 63.2% of his shots from beyond the arc.

Tonight’s matchup should be a breath of fresh air as the Rockets rank 20th in Defensive Rating and allowed the most 3-pointers made and the highest frequency of 3s in December. Similar style sharpshooters, including Tim Hardaway (21), Quentin Grimes (19), Jaylen Brown (38), and Devin Vassell (26), have feasted against the Rockets' defense.

In what should be an up-tempo environment that favors shooters, especially in Williamson's absence, I like the chances of the Virginia product going over his points prop tonight. I have Murphy projected for at least 16 points and would play this line at 15.5.

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Nick Sterling
Jun 20, 2024 UTC