NBA Playoffs Props Betting Forecast: Trae Young, Spencer Dinwiddie, Evan Mobley Have Value in Round 1

NBA Playoffs Props Betting Forecast: Trae Young, Spencer Dinwiddie, Evan Mobley Have Value in Round 1 article feature image
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Getty Images/Matt Roembke of Action Network. Pictured (L-R): Evan Mobley, Trae Young, Spencer Dinwiddie.

The NBA Playoffs are here! I'll be previewing each of the matchups in the upcoming rounds to give some insight on how I will be betting these markets.

This piece will focus on the Eastern Conference and you can view my Western Conference Round 1 preview here. Let's get right into the players I'm looking at in the East for the Round 1 NBA player props betting forecast.

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NBA Playoffs Props Betting Forecast

Click on a series to skip ahead
Cavaliers vs. Knicks
76ers vs. Nets
Celtics vs. Hawks
Bucks vs. Bulls/Heat

Cavaliers vs.

Knicks

The biggest question leading into this series is the status of Julius Randle, who has not played since spraining his ankle on March 29 vs the Miami Heat. We'll see if he's ready to go for the start of this series on Saturday which would be about two and a half weeks after the initial injury.

In his absence, we have seen much more Obi Toppin in the rotations, which has been an overall positive contribution. This is a touch matchup for Toppin, who does not play as big as Randle, against a Cavaliers team that runs a two-big rotation. However, his ability to stretch the floor could be valuable at drawing Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen out to the perimeter if he can hit open jumpers from the corner. I'd consider his 3-point prop if Randle is ruled out.

The Knicks have some decisions to make outside of the forward rotation though. A hallmark of Thibodeau-coached teams is that they give it their all during the regular season and do not have much more to give in the playoffs. This puts them at a disadvantage as most other teams have an extra gear in the playoffs.

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Megan Briggs/Getty Images. Pictured: Jalen Brunson #11 and Obi Toppin #1 of the New York Knicks.

However, in terms of minutes, the Knicks and the Cavaliers are not so different. Donovan Mitchell, Randle, Darius Garland, and Jalen Brunson have averaged 35 minutes this season and were all in the top 25 of minutes played per game this season.

The big question will be which lineups Thibs uses. Josh Hart, Immanuel Quickley, and Quentin Grimes have all been better than R.J. Barrett this season. Since March 1, Barrett has played more minutes per game than those three and third-most on the team after Randle and Brunson.

Regardless, there are not many more minutes these players can get each game. While their props may increase in anticipation of greater playoff minutes, the rotations were already short. I would target unders against a Cavaliers team with the league's top defense that plays at the NBA's slowest Pace.

As for Cleveland, Donovan Mitchell regularly played 38 minutes inthe playoffs during his time with the Utah Jazz and all of Mitchell, Garland, and Mobley closed the season playing closer to 40 minutes a night. With a minutes increase there is some value on these players.

One of the things I think people do when sorting stats by minutes played that's a mistake is there's often a filter for a minimum amount of minutes that a player plays and the commentary is "when playing at least 30 mins this player does X." However, this does not account for overtime games, clutch games, etc.

In the playoffs, I think raising the minutes floor is more valuable because it removes some of the outlier performances on the bottom with the understanding that these players are going to see extended run in the postseason.

David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Darius Garland #10 and Evan Mobley #4 of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Let's start with Mobley. He is an incredible defensive player and much of his value is in his ability to defend from all places on the court. This often takes him away from the basket and leaves more rebounds for Jarrett Allen. (Think of his defense the way we would Bam Adebayo.)

When Mobley has played at least 30 minutes per game this season (far below the 40 I'm projecting), he has exceeded certain prop totals at incredible rates. He has played 30 or more minutes in 67 of his 79 games, but let's focus on games with Jarrett Allen, so we have the two-big lineup. He logged 12 or more points in 29 consecutive games, six or more rebounds in 29 of 30, two or more assists in 19 games with three or more in all six games against the Knicks the past two seasons. If you parlay those all together you get odds of -110.

If parlays are not available to you, Mobley has exceeded his 17.5 Points + Assists line in 23 of his 30 games alongside Allen and nine of his past 10 while averaging 22.3 P+A. If Randle is unable to go or is limited at the start of this series, Mobley will have an even bigger size mismatch against Toppin.

There has been much talk about who the Cavaliers' fifth-man is: Caris LeVert or Isaac Okoro. My friend and fellow legal colleague, Mat Issa, wrote about this conundrum the Cavaliers are facing. Okoro has defended Brunson well, and "according to NBA.com, Brunson is shooting 2-for-11 from the floor (18.2%) on shots defended by Okoro, compared to 8-for-14 (57.1%) on shots defended by LeVert."

Of note, LeVert is the best option on the offensive end and he is okay on defense; however, if the Cavaliers are looking for defense, Okoro is the no-brainer. With Okoro shooting 36.3% from 3-point range, I'll also be targeting his 3-point prop in what may be an expanded role as he deals with Brunson.


76ers vs.

Nets

This is going to be a fascinating series with the 76ers playing at an elite level all season and the Brooklyn Nets rebuilding and restructuring their roster after trading away both Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. While the Nets do not have much of an answer for Joel Embiid, there's a prop I want to get to first.

DraftKings is offering a market on the most assists in the series and in my opinion, this is a matchup between James Harden and Spencer Dinwiddie and it’s mispriced. Harden led the league in assists with 10.7 this season; however, since March 1, Dinwiddie has averaged 10.2 assists across 19 games in 35.7 minutes per game.

Historically, Harden has been an elite passer and routinely averages double-digit assists. Since he left the Houston Rockets, Harden has averaged 10.7 assists per game during the regular season. However, over his last two playoffs runs, he’s averaged just 8.6 assists in 21 games.

Dinwiddie’s role is clear, he is the primary facilitator for the Nets and at this price (+250), it implies that Dinwiddie would only lead the series in assists 28.57% of the time. This should be closer to even, despite Harden’s pedigree, due to Dinwiddie’s spike in assists since joining the Nets. This is my favorite Round 1 bet and it's cosigned by my colleague Brandon Anderson.

nets-76ers-odds-time-channel-game-1-2023-nba-playoffs joel-embiid spencer-dinwiddie
Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images. Pictured: Joel Embiid (right) and Spencer Dinwiddie of the Philadelphia 76ers and Brooklyn Nets, as we preview the Nets vs 76ers odds, time, channel and more for Game 1 of the 2023 NBA playoffs.

For a game-by-game basis, I'll also be looking to bet on Dinwiddie's assists prop. For Game 1 it is set at 8.5 assists — a number he has exceeded in eight of 10 games. This is a good way to enter into the market if the series leader bet is not available. One note for Dinwiddie, if you want to take alternate lines, I would not take double double, I'd stick strictly with the assists. In just his last 10 games, he's scored fewer than 10 points in four of them despite his points prop being set around 17.5.

We have to talk about Embiid. The 76ers have essentially been stuck in the No. 3 spot in the East for the past few weeks and his points output is reflective of that. Aside from the 50-burger he dropped against Boston on April 4, he went under 30 points in five of six games. However, I expect him to excel in this matchup against Brooklyn.

In two games where Claxton played meaningful minutes this season, Embiid recorded 26- and 37-point double-doubles in Sixers victories. His points line is set at 33.5, which I think may be a touch high, but it's something I will monitor throughout the series.

DraftKings also opened a market for Embiid's playoff points per game at 33.4. Be wary that this is for the entire playoffs — you need to extrapolate his potential opponents moving forward. The most likely path is, Brooklyn, Boston, Milwaukee before the Finals. Just against those three teams he has averaged 31.6 ppg this season.


Check out our NBA props page for daily player props lines and projections.


Celtics vs.

Hawks

The Boston Celtics drew the surprising matchup against the Hawks who upset the Miami Heat in the first Play-In game. Boston swept the season series, 3-0 and look to make it 7-0 on the season.

Atlanta looked incredible in the Play-In against Miami and head coach Quin Snyder may have been a significant factor in the scheme and complexity they had in that game. This will be a much tougher task for them.

The Celtics dismantled the Hawks this season regardless of who was in the lineup for Boston. Both Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum played two games, Marcus Smart and Malcolm Brogdon have played one, and Robert Williams has not played in any.

When both Tatum and Brown played, they averaged 30.1 and 26.2 points per game, respectively. But the team's next leading scorer was likely Sixth Man of the Year in Malcolm Brogdon at 14.2 ppg.

It's notable that last season, both Tatum and Brown played roughly 40 minutes per game in each round of the playoffs. Tatum actually saw a slight decline in his scoring despite a significant uptick in minutes, but he recorded 6.2 assists throughout the postseason while Brown's stats remained static despite an uptick in minutes.

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Pictured: Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

I'm most interested to see if Tatum is able to continue scoring or if he will see a similar uptick in assists after averaging 4.6 this season. If his assists prop is at 4.5 I'd play an over, and I'd still consider an over at 5.5 if it's plus money.

As for Atlanta, Trae Young has had the most scoring success against Boston averaging 29.6 ppg over the last three seasons. He has exceeded 30 points in six of the nine matchups. His points prop was 24.5 against Miami and I'd play that if it's listed as such against Boston and consider a 30+ alt line. He would also be a viable bet to lead the series in scoring especially with Tatum as a likely (heavy) favorite.

There should be plenty of value on the player to lead the series in rebounding too. At the time of this writing there are no posted odds; however, Tatum is worth a look. While Capela has averaged the most rebounds per game with 11. The Hawks have deployed Okongwu significant minutes and they may leech off of each others playing time. We know Tatum will play extended minutes, and Robert Williams poses too great of an injury risk.


Bucks vs.

Heat

The Bucks should dominate this matchup; however, with Miami’s penchant for shooting 3-pointers, they are a bit more of a live dog than most. The players who have taken the most 3s per game against the Bucks have been Gabe Vincent and Tyler Herro, both taking 7.5 per game.

The notable thing here is that the two games Vincent played well in, Herro did not play. Herro is the Heat target for 3s in this series. Herro averages 3 3s per game this season on 37.8% shooting. One player that may get some time where he otherwise would not is Duncan Robinson just due to his 3-point shooting.

One notable rotation trend is that Haywood Highsmith sees some of his highest minutes vs the Bucks. He averaged 21.6 minutes per game but when Kevin Love joined the Heat he played just seven minutes in their sole remaining matchup. Highsmith may be a rotational change at some point in the series.

One player that has played well against Miami has been Khris Middleton. He has at least 20 points in nine of his 13 games against Miami over the past three seasons (including Playoffs). His ability to beat defenders off the dribble and score at every level allow him to beat the many defensive schemes Miami will throw at the Bucks.

While I’m not necessarily looking to fade Giannis during this series, I think his points prop is a bit volatile for my liking as he will have Bam Adebayo defending him. However, he remains an excellent rebounding threat and has exceeded his 11.5 rebounds prop in eight of 11 games he has played in vs Bam over the last three seasons.

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Sean Treppedi
Jul 17, 2024 UTC