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NBA Player Props Betting Forecast: Anthony Edwards Injury Pivots, Ja Morant’s Looming Return

NBA Player Props Betting Forecast: Anthony Edwards Injury Pivots, Ja Morant’s Looming Return article feature image

Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Minnesota Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards (1).

As the season winds down and teams can determine where they are falling in the standings there is an opportunity to be had when betting on props moving forward.

Let’s break down some of the weekly headlines and how to pivot within the betting market for this week’s NBA player props forecast.

NBA Player Props Forecast

The Trickle-Down Effect of Ja Morant’s Return

Schedule: Mon. vs. Mavericks | Wed. vs. Rockets | Fri. vs. Rockets | Sun. at Hawks

Ja Morant’s eight-game suspension is over and he is eligible to be back around the team. While eligible to play on Monday night against the Dallas Mavericks, he will be sitting that game out for conditioning purposes. His return will change their lineup as well as locker room dynamics, but the biggest losers from a playing time and usage perspective will be Dillon Brooks, Desmond Bane, and Tyus Jones.

Morant’s usage this season has been massive and he holds a 38.5% Usage Rate, which dwarfs Bane’s at 25.7%, the second-highest on the team. He is averaging 27.1 points, 8.2 assists, and 6.0 rebounds per game and the team is at its best with him, going 34-19 in his 53 games played this season. I expect the Grizzlies to take their time ramping him up as they are fairly cemented into either the No. 2 or No. 3 spot in the West.

Over the past eight games that he has missed, Jones and Bane have done the bulk of the facilitating averaging 8.5 and 5.5 assists per game respectively, compared to 4.5 and 4.0 respectively before the suspension.

nba-betting-odds-expert-picks-predictions-hornets vs knicks grizzlies vs lakers march 7-2023
Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Tyus Jones #21 of the Memphis Grizzlies.

Additionally, from a scoring perspective, Jaren Jackson Jr (who is questionable Monday night) has seen the greatest uptick in his scoring — jumping from 16.6 points per game with Morant to a team-leading 22 points per game during these past eight games. His volume is up but his efficiency has been roughly the same and he’s seen greater usage. It will be interesting to see if this continues upon Morant’s return due to his success.

Tonight’s game against the Mavericks may be the last time to take advantage of some Jones props. He has recorded 15+ points in four of the eight games without Morant and 10 or more assists in five. Two of the prior games he played were against the Mavericks and in those games, Jones struggled to score with 11 and 13 points and 10 and three assists. However, he did record four and five rebounds in each game — that may be a target on Monday night.

Check out our NBA props page for daily player props lines and projections.

Who Can Fill Anthony Edwards’ Shoes?

Schedule: Mon. at Knicks | Wed. vs. Hawks | Sun. at Warriors
Anthony Edwards suffered what appeared to be a nasty ankle injury Friday against the Chicago Bulls and he was only listed as questionable for Saturday’s game vs the Raptors (which he missed). He was seen wearing a walking boot after the injury, but it may still be surprising if he suits up for Monday night’s contest against the New York Knicks.

Edwards has previously made comments about star players and how they should try to play through injuries as long as they are able. However, with the Timberwolves trying to not only secure a playoff spot but to advance through the playoffs, it may make sense to hold him until at least Wednesday against the Atlanta Hawks so he is healthy for a much more meaningful game against the Golden State Warriors on Sunday.

Edwards’ loss is significant. He has a +5.8 Point Differential on the season and he has truly elevated the team’s offense. It is no easy task to replace 24.7 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 4.4 assists per game. It is especially difficult because Edwards literally does not miss games — the Raptors game was the first that he missed all season.

Looking at the past two games since he left after just eight minutes on Friday, Jaden McDaniels has found the most consistent success as a scorer, with 25 and 18 points in the two games.

Adam Hagy/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Jaden McDaniels #3 of the Minnesota Timberwolves.

If Edwards is unable to play, McDaniels has to be considered even against a stingy Knicks’ defense, especially if we see another 14.5 points prop.

Interestingly, both Rudy Gobert and Naz Reid lead the team in usage without Edwards and had higher Usage Rates than even McDaniels as the team funneled their offense through both big men. While this may be the team’s most reliable means of consistent offense, attacking the Knicks on the interior has not been successful, especially with Mitchell Robinson defending the paint.

If Edwards cannot go the Knicks should be able to take care of business even as an 8.5-point home favorite.

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