Tuesday NBA Player Prop Bets & Picks: Nikola Jokic Has Upside in Game 3 (Sept. 22)

Credit:

Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets.

  • Brandon Anderson is all over the star players in tonight's Western Conference finals matchup.
  • See why he's betting on big games from LeBron James and Nikola Jokic in Game 3.

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%)

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Tuesday’s player props come from Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals:

  • Los Angeles Lakers vs Denver Nuggets at 9:00 p.m. ET on TNT

NBA Player Prop Bets

Los Angeles Lakers, LeBron James

The Prop: Over 8.5 assists (+100)

It’s been a quiet series for LeBron James so far, which isn’t something we’re used to seeing. And yet, the Lakers are up 2-0 in the series anyway. James was an aggressive scorer in the first 20 minutes of Game 2, but has otherwise been relatively muted.

He averaged 26.6 points, 10.3 rebounds, and 8.8 assists per game through the first two playoff series. Against the Nuggets, those numbers are all down (20.5 points, 8.5 boards, and 8.0 dimes). But James often gets better as a series goes on, and you know he smells his 10th NBA Finals appearance now.

And don’t forget — the Lakers have won so easily these playoffs that James has played fewer than 31 minutes four times, so those numbers are deflated accordingly.

The Nuggets have their backs against the wall. That’s when the brightest stars shine, and there is no star brighter than James. He had just four assists last game, but led the league this season, and has gone over 8.5 in six of his 12 postseason games. In what could be the last stand by the Nuggets, expect a full LeBron game and a great play at these plus odds. I’d play down to -115.

[Bet LeBron’s assists at DraftKings and get a $1,000 bonus, including a $500 risk-free bet]

Denver Nuggets, Nikola Jokic

The Prop: Over 6.5 assists (-102)

From one team’s superstar to another, we’re sticking with the dimes but switching jerseys. Jokic’s assist totals have been a bit all over the map this postseason. He had two in Game 1, then bounced back with nine in Game 2, his second-highest total of the postseason.

Jokic is averaging 5.9 dimes this postseason, an incredible number for a big man but surprisingly low because our expectations for Jokic are so high. In 16 playoff games this year, he’s gone over 6.5 assists just five times. That’s not looking great for us.

However, four of his lowest assist totals have come in blowout losses — not a coincidence — when Jokic saw his minutes plummet. Our NBA Insiders lineup tool projects him to play 39 minutes in Game 3, and Jokic averaged 7.9 assists per 36 minutes this season. That’s down to 5.8 per 36 in the postseason but still puts us very close, one away from a win.

I like this prop at 6.5 and even odds, but I’m keeping my eye on it. With the history here, it could move in our favor as the game gets closer, maybe even drop to 6.0. We are projecting Jokic at 7.4 assists, so I’ll play either way.

[Bet Jokic’s assists at FanDuel completely risk-free for $1,000]

Denver Nuggets, Nikola Jokic

The Prop: Over 9.5 rebounds (-130)

Bettors made a lot of money last round on Jokic rebounding overs. After a snagging just three boards in Game 1 against the LA Clippers, Jokic averaged 15.2 rebounds per game and hit the rebounding over in all six games.

That story has changed completely against the much bigger Lakers. Jokic is getting dominated on the glass, and that’s been one of the Nuggets’ biggest problems. The Lakers had 13 offensive rebounds in Game 2, leading to too many easy buckets. Jokic had just six rebounds in each of the first two Lakers games.

Rebounding is a skill, but it’s also about effort, and you know Jokic is going to give every last ounce in a must-win game. He knows he has to be more aggressive, especially when going up against so much size.

I’m banking on Jokic to play big minutes and boost his numbers across the board with everything on the line. We’re projecting him at 11.9 rebounds, giving serious margin in our favor here. This is worth a play to -145.

[Bet Jokic’s rebounds at FanDuel completely risk-free for $1,000]

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