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NBA Player Props & Expert Picks: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Lauri Markkanen Among Top Plays (January 8)

NBA Player Props & Expert Picks: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Lauri Markkanen Among Top Plays (January 8) article feature image

Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander #2 of the Oklahoma City Thunder.

  • NBA props analyst Tyler Schmidt has a pair of plays for you to tail this Sunday.
  • He's backing Lauri Markkanen against the Grizzlies and fading Shai Gilgeous-Alexander against the Mavericks.
  • Find his picks and analysis below.

With NBA games spread out through the day, this article will feature two props that are games from the main slate this evening starting at 6 p.m. ET. Both may look better if players from the opposing team are ruled out, so make sure to keep an eye on all of the news throughout the day as weekend NBA is filled with players resting.

NBA Player Props & Picks

Lauri Markkanen, Over 7.5 Rebounds (-115)

SpreadGrizzlies -8.5
Time | TV6 p.m. ET | NBA League Pass
Best LineFanDuel

The Utah Jazz have fallen off a cliff after their hot start to the season. They find themselves two games under .500 with a road matchup against the Grizzlies as 8.5-point underdogs today. However, Lauri Markkanen is one player for the Jazz who hasn't fallen off as he is averaging a team and career-high 24.6 points per game.

In his first season with the Jazz, Markkanen is shooting a career-best from the field, behind the arc and from the charity stripe. Additionally, he is still averaging 8.3 rebounds per game. He has recorded eight or more rebounds in five of his last seven games while averaging 9.6 boards during that span.

The Grizzlies currently lead the league in Defensive Rating (109), rank second in Rebounding Percentage and rank fourth in points allowed in the paint (with 45.9 per game this season). However, with Steven Adams questionable with an injury, this defense would take a major hit, especially defending the paint.

Brandon Clarke is also out while Ja Morant is questionable, and this line could get much closer if Morant and Adams are unable to play. The game total is a slate-high 236 points, so there should be a plethora of opportunities for Markkanen rebounds. Our model has him projected for 8.8 rebounds in this matchup.

Pick: Lauri Markkanen Over 7.5 Rebounds

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Under 2.5 Steals and Blocks (-140)

SpreadThunder -3.5
Time | TV7 p.m. ET | NBA League Pass
Best LineDraftKings

At 17-22, it is shocking to see the Thunder being this competitive, especially with No. 2 overall pick Chet Holmgren being out all year. It has been the Shai Gilgeous-Alexander show as he is averaging a career-high 30.4 points per game while shooting 49.8% from the field. He has been unstoppable.

The Thunder are 3.5-point home favorites against the Mavericks, which is mainly due to Luka Doncic being unlikely to play. Even without Doncic, the Mavericks still play at a snail's pace this season as this game has a total of 227.5 points. Without Doncic, this game will be competitive and low scoring.

The Mavericks commit the second-fewest turnovers in the league with 12 per game while ranking third in blocks allowed with only 3.9 blocks per game. Head coach Jason Kidd has this Mavericks team playing mistake-free basketball, and despite Doncic's absence, the Mavericks have plenty of experienced guards to handle the ball.

Our model has Gilgeous-Alexander projected for only 1.8 steals and blocks in this matchup. He has two or fewer steals and blocks in three of his last four games, and this is not the matchup to rack up those peripherals tonight.

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