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NBA Player Prop Bets & Picks: Will the Lakers Get Defensive for Game 1? (Friday, Sept. 18)

NBA Player Prop Bets & Picks: Will the Lakers Get Defensive for Game 1? (Friday, Sept. 18) article feature image

Ashley Landis-Pool/Getty Images. Pictured: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers, Keita Bates-Diop #6 of the Denver Nuggets.

  • Ready to get defensive? All our WCF player props come on the defensive side of the ball for Game 1.
  • Brandon Anderson details why he’ll be sweating out blocks and steals tonight for Nuggets vs. Lakers.
  • Check out his player analysis & prop bets below for Friday’s game.

Betting on props can be one of the easiest ways to build your bankroll, especially in the NBA postseason. Sportsbooks tend to offer lower limits and take less action on props than they do on games, so they don’t have as much incentive to post an accurate line.

That’s where our Player Prop tool comes in handy. We compare our industry-leading NBA projections to the props posted at a variety of sportsbooks to identify the best plays each day. Each bet is then graded on a scale from 1-10, with 10 being the best possible grade.

Win-Loss (Win Pct)
Bet Quality of 10 775-572 (57%)
Bet Quality of 9 942-776 (54%)
Bet Quality of 8 1432-1263 (52%)

Odds as of Friday at 1 p.m. ET

Friday’s player props come from Game 1 of the Western Conference finals:

  • Denver Nuggets vs. Los Angeles Lakers at 9 p.m. ET

NBA Player Prop Bets

Los Angeles Lakers, Anthony Davis

The Prop: Over 1.5 blocks (-106)

Defense is where the more intriguing matchups reside in this series. Will the Lakers play Dwight Howard and JaVale McGee against Nikola Jokic? That duo averaged 35 minutes per game combined against Jokic in four regular season games this season.

I’m not sure how long that lasts here, because Anthony Davis’ defense looks like the trump card that swings this series. He has the unique combination of length and quickness to bother Jokic, and his presence on Jokic also throws off the Nuggets’ two-man game with Jamal Murray.

Whether on- or off-ball, I like Davis to be especially active on defense in this series. The Brow has at least two blocks in four of his past eight games, and our FantasyLabs models are projecting him at 2.8 tonight. This prop rates as a 10 out of 10, as does Davis’ over 1.5 steals at +170 if you want to double dip. I prefer the blocks and would play to -130.

[Bet Davis’ blocks prop at BetMGM and get a $500 INSTANT deposit match]

Los Angeles Lakers, LeBron James

The Prop: Over 1.5 steals (+186)

More defense! The Lakers will undoubtedly key their defense around stopping Jokic and Murray. Neither one of those guys will be a LeBron James assignment. The Nuggets don’t really have a key wing player for LeBron to defend. Expect him to spend most of his time “defending” Paul Millsap or Jerami Grant (which really means LeBron gets to play free safety this series).

James can be a devastating help defender and will be more than happy to let Millsap or Grant take the occasional open corner 3-pointer if it means he can cheat off his man to get into passing lanes for steals or grab rebounds.

James always cranks up his defense in the playoffs, and he knows that a steal is about as good as two points the other way for LA. He has multiple steals in six of 10 playoff games this year and hasn’t even had to push hard in a handful of those games. We’re getting crazy odds here I just can’t pass up anywhere over +150.

[Bet LeBron’s steals prop at FanDuel and get a $1,000 risk-free bet.]

Denver Nuggets, Jamal Murray

The Prop: Over 1.5 steals (+190)

Shall we go for three defensive player props? Yes, we shall.

Part of the reasoning here is this game could turn into a blowout with the Nuggets coming off a grueling seven-game series. That can throw off most props, but we only need two steals or blocks on these defensive props.

The Lakers didn’t have much of a problem with the Houston Rockets last round, but the one area they struggle in was their turnovers. They averaged 15.6 turnovers against the Rockets (most were live-ball turnovers), but the Rockets couldn’t punish them for their sloppy play. The Lakers ranked bottom 10 in turnovers all season.

Murray is not known for his defense, but he did have two steals three times against the LA Clippers. Tired players tend to gamble on defense, looking for the easier play, and the Lakers guards are not particularly good with the ball.

This is a longer shot, but that’s why we’re getting such long odds here. We’re projecting Murray at 1.5 steals, right at this number, making this a coin flip. I’m happy to play a coin flip at +165 or above.

[Bet Murray’s steals prop at bet365. NJ only.]

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