NBA Player Props: A Shai Gilgeous-Alexander Pick for Thunder vs Heat (January 10)

NBA Player Props: A Shai Gilgeous-Alexander Pick for Thunder vs Heat (January 10) article feature image
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Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images. Pictured: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander of the Oklahoma City Thunder.

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NBA Player Prop Pick · Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

Wednesday, Jan. 10
7:30 p.m. ET
NBA League Pass
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander Under 33.5 Points (-125)

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Let’s get the obvious out of the way — Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is playing excellent basketball this year. The Thunder superstar has averaged 31.5 points per game over 34 games this season and is putting together a compelling case to win MVP.

That being said, I still see value in fading him, especially since we’re getting his points line exactly two points above his average.

SGA is at his best when he can get into isolation (6.3 PPG, second-most of all players), operating in the midrange area and in drives that lead to a trip to the charity stripe, where he has 9.8 attempts per game over his last 10 games.

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But a matchup with the Heat won’t be easy for him. He has averaged 26.3 points per game in his last three matchups against Miami, failing to go over this prop in all three — even with a higher usage sans Chet Holmgren.

The Heat rate as the fifth-best defensive team in isolation this season, and in their eight games without Jimmy Butler, they've excelled at taking away the opposing team’s No. 1 option.

Paolo Banchero (10 points), Trae Young (30 points), Tyrese Maxey (12 points), Stephen Curry (13 points), Kawhi Leonard (24 points), LeBron James (12 points), Devin Booker (20 points) and Jalen Green (11 points) have all failed to go over this current line under the defensive schemes set by Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra.

In a zone defense, I expect a slew of plus-rated defenders to draw the individual assignment on Gilgeous-Alexander. Bam Adebayo will also act as a brick wall following switches.

The Heat defense allows the third-fewest free throws made and the fourth-fewest transition points, which is where 41% of SGA's scoring comes from.

Add in the fact that they play at a bottom-five pace and allow the ninth-fewest points per game (111.6 PPG), and it will be difficult for Gilgeous-Alexander to comfortably get to his spots enough to surpass his high points total tonight.

Pick: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander Under 33.5 Points (-125 at ESPN Bet)

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