NBA Player Props: Mikal Bridges, Dennis Smith Jr. Among Saturday Picks
PHOENIX, AZ – DECEMBER 19: Mikal Bridges #25 of the Phoenix Suns looks on before the game against the Los Angeles Lakers on December 19, 2022 at Footprint Center in Phoenix, Arizona. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Kate Frese/NBAE via Getty Images)
- The NBA slate for Saturday night features seven games, which means there's plenty of props with value.
- Tyler Schmidt is focused on three players, including Phoenix Suns forward Mikal Bridges.
- Schmidt explains below how he's betting the slate, using Action Network's player prop projections.
Saturday features a six-game main slate with one earlier game between the Celtics and Raptors starting at 5 p.m. ET. Our prop projections have one bet in that early game and two props on the main slate that are fantastic values.
Let's dive into Saturday's NBA player props and picks to find a few winners to start the weekend off on a high note.
NBA Player Props & Picks
Al Horford, Over 11.5 Points + Assists (-125)
|Time | TV
|5 p.m. ET | NBA League Pass
The early game on this Saturday features the Celtics on the road against the Raptors as one-point favorites. Even with Jayson Tatum being ruled out for this contest, the best team in the league is in a great spot after winning eight consecutive games while averaging nearly 120 points per game over that time.
With Tatum out, that will provide a significant boost to the Celtics role players including veteran Al Horford. The 36-year old playing in his 16th season is averaging a career-low 9.8 points and only 2.6 assists per game. However, over the last five games he is averaging 13.2 points and 3.6 assists per game.
The Raptors are fully healthy, which is rare, but they have lost three of their last four games. They rank just outside the top five in points allowed in the paint, but are allowing opponents to shoot 37% from behind the arc, which ranks as the fifth-highest in the league. Horford can get it cooking from the perimeter as he has made at least two 3-pointers in each of his last five games.
Our Prop Model has Horford projected for 14.5 points and assists, which is three more than this prop line. The Raptors are also allowing 25.7 assists per game, which ranks 22nd in the league. With Tatum out, Horford will get more opportunities and might be able to get over this prop on points alone tonight.
Dennis Smith Jr., Under 15.5 Points + Rebounds (-120)
|Time | TV
|7:30 p.m. ET | NBA League Pass
It has been a struggle for the Hornets all season as they have the third-worst record in the league at 12-34. Despite LaMelo Ball getting hurt once again, the Hornets beat the Rockets on the road last game for their third win in their last 18 games. They are 7.5-point road underdogs against a red-hot Hawks team.
Ball is doubtful to play tonight, which boosts the usage rate and production for backup point guard Dennis Smith Jr. Even with those boosts, Smith Jr.'s under props are all over the top of our Prop Model tonight. Picking which under prop to target is difficult, but his under points and rebounds looks like the best bet.
In his first season with the Hornets, Smith Jr. has averaged 8.1 points and 2.8 rebounds per game. Both of those numbers are the highest since his 2018-'19 season with the Knicks. Smith Jr. has been shopped around as this is his fourth team in the last three seasons. Despite Ball likely being out and Kelly Oubre Jr. already ruled out, Smith Jr. is going to have a difficult time reaching this over.
Smith Jr. has hit this under in 17-straight games. He has scored single digits points in 11-straight games and his rebounding numbers are basically non-existent. This prop line is likely to move down, so even if this has dropped, I would consider this under even if it got down to 12.5 points and rebounds.
Mikal Bridges, Over 4.5 Assists (+102)
|Time | TV
|9 p.m. ET | NBA League Pass
Seeing one of the best teams in the league over the last two years with a record of 22-24 is a bit shocking. The Suns have lost 12 of their last 15 games as they continue to deal with several injuries to their guards. Devin Booker, Cameron Payne, Landry Shamet, and Cameron Johnson are all out tonight.
Chris Paul is listed as questionable after missing six consecutive games. Even if Paul suits up and plays limited minutes, Mikal Bridges is going to look great with his increased ball handling duties. Bridges has averaged 6.2 assists in his last five games, while reaching over this over prop in four of those five games.
Despite a poor overall record, the Suns are 15-7 at home this season and are 5.5-point favorites against the Pacers who rank 23rd in Defensive Rating. The Pacers also like to play fast even when their star Tyrese Haliburton is not in the lineup. They rank fourth in Pace (102.01), entering tonight's games.
Our Prop Model has Bridges projected for 6.2 assists as he will have plenty of opportunities to get over this prop against a poor Pacers defense. The Pacers have allowed 116.9 points and 26.1 assists per game, which ranks as the fifth-highest in the league.
Getting juice for this over prop on FanDuel provides a lot of value. Bridges is also playing 36.3 minutes per game, which ranks inside the Top 10 in the league. Endless opportunity for him to reach this over tonight.