Friday's NBA Player Props: Can Donovan Mitchell Dominate a Top Defense?

Action Network analyst Brandon Anderson details his favorite NBA player props for Friday's slate, including why he's high on Donovan Mitchell and Luka Doncic.

As we hit the home stretch, the standings around the NBA are really starting to take shape. Now that we have a play-in tournament for the No. 7- through 10-seeds, every spot in the standings matters.

And we’ve got some key battles on the slate tonight, with a pair of play-in teams going head-to-head in a battle of L.A. while the Mavericks and Jazz duke it out in what could very well be a first-round series preview. We’re attacking both of those games in tonight’s props.

Below, I have laid out six prop bets that I’m playing, using the Action Labs Player Prop tool. Let’s get right to it.

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NBA Player Props & Picks

Cole Anthony, Under 6.5 Assists (-120)

Rockets vs. Magic Magic -3.5
Time | TV 7 p.m. ET | NBA League Pass
Best Book DraftKings

Cole Anthony didn’t win the dunk contest, but he did have one of the better dunks of All-Star Weekend when he and Orlando teammate Jalen Suggs hooked up for a sweet alley oop in the dying moments of a game in the Friday night Rising Stars challenge.

Anthony and Suggs have been balling for the Magic lately too, and this is starting to be a more and more even partnership. Suggs had a rough start to his rookie season, then missed all of December and half of January, but he’s really settled in since his return. And as Suggs starts to take on more responsibility in Orlando, it means Cole Anthony’s numbers are dropping a bit as things even out.

Anthony’s assists have fallen off since a big start at the top of the season. He’s averaging 5.9 assists per game over his last 26 outings, going under 6.5 dimes in 16 of them, a 62% hit rate to this line. Those numbers pushed down even further heading into the break.

Over the last four Magic games, it’s starting to look like Suggs is the lead playmaker for Orlando. Per NBA Advanced Stats, Suggs had 47 Potential Assists over the last four games to only 40 for Anthony, and that helped him out-assist Cole 24 to 14.

Anthony averaged just 3.5 APG in those four and went well under this line every time. Still, this line remains high in what could be a track meet. The Rockets play at the league’s fastest pace and have the league’s worst defense, especially against point guards. This matchup should allow for both Suggs and Anthony to post fine lines.

Even so, 6.5 dimes just feels too high the way this team is splitting up responsibilities lately. We project Anthony at 5.2 assists. I’ll play the under to -140.

Luka Doncic, Over 3.5 3-Pointers (+184) | Over 4.5 3s (+470)

Mavericks vs. Jazz Jazz -5.5
Time | TV 9 p.m. ET | NBA League Pass
Best Book FanDuel

As we hit the home stretch of the NBA season, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Joel Embiid are the favorites to lead the league in scoring with old man LeBron hot on their tail, but I think Luka Doncic is a really intriguing sleeper. I made the case for Doncic here at Action and he’s still available for +1000.

One of the reasons Luka is scoring so much lately is because his 3-point shots are finally going down. That was certainly not the case early in the season. Over his first 29 games, Doncic was hitting just 29% of his treys and making only 2.3 per game on 7.9 attempts. The shots weren’t falling, the confidence waned, and the volume dropped. Luka had four or more 3s only five times in those 29 games.

But look how Doncic has exploded over the past 15 games. He’s suddenly scoring 33.3 PPG during that stretch, and his 3-point percentage has skyrocketed to 41%. And as the shots started falling, the volume went up. He’s up to 9.1 attempts during that span and averaging 3.7 makes per game, and he’s hit at least four 3s in nine of those games, hitting this over 60% of the time.

And he’s getting hotter and hotter. Doncic has at least four 3s in eight of his last 12 games (67%), and he hit at least five in five of those games (42%). He had at least five makes in four of five games heading into the break, including an absolute point explosion in the four games since the Kristaps Porzingis trade. He’s averaged 41.5 PPG in those four games and look at that massive 3-point volume: 5.5 makes per game on 12.0 attempts!

We saw Doncic’s shot get hot over the second half of the season last year too, and his 3-point overs were a great hit for a long time until books adjusted. They haven’t adjusted yet this year. We’re getting four-plus makes at +184, an implied 35% hit rate, and he’s almost double that over the last 12 games. Five makes plays at +470, an implied 18%, and Doncic is more than double that hit rate recently and averaging more than that number since the Porzingis trade.

The Jazz have a good defense but are around average against opponent 3s without a ton of perimeter defense and with Rudy Gobert playing drop coverage. With no Porzingis, the Mavs are playing more heliocentric than ever. Luka should keep getting those shots up, and I’ll play this escalator prop for both four-plus and five-plus makes with plus juice heavily in our favor.

Donovan Mitchell Over 25.5 Points (+100) | Over 29.5 PTS (+215)

Best Book FanDuel

Could we get a potential shootout in the Beehive State? The books sure don’t think so. This game has the second lowest total on the slate tonight, and that makes sense since both Dallas and Utah have been top-10 defenses on the season. Still, the way Doncic and Donovan Mitchell are playing, these guys can hit overs even without a high-scoring shootout game.

Mitchell had a bit of a slow start to the season. Over the first 20 Jazz games, he averaged only 22.8 points per game, a fine but not great number. But in his final November game, Spida put up 30 points, then hit that number in each of his next three games too, and his scoring has been up ever since.

Since Nov. 29, Mitchell is scoring 27.8 PPG, a full five points above his early-season average. He’s gone over 25.5 points in 19 of those games, hitting this over 70% of the time. The volume is up, and the shots are falling better as the season has gone on, too. And that magic number of 30 has become a lot more common too. Mitchell has 30 points in 13 of his last 27 games, almost exactly half of them.

We’ll see plenty of defense in this game, but it’s also a key battle in the West playoff race, so that might buy us a few extra minutes for these stars in a game that could be close all the way. And it could mean a few extra shots for the brightest stars with so much on the line.

We project Mitchell at 28.5 points, and the Props Tool likes his overs, but this is a good lesson on how to play the best number. We could play Mitchell to go over 24.5 points at -125 at PointsBet, but we are losing 25 cents on the dollar for that one extra point instead of taking the +100 odds at FanDuel for over 25.5. There’s no way that’s worth the price, especially since Mitchell has exactly zero games this season with 25 but not 26 points.

And like usual with our escalator props, if Mitchell does go over 25.5 points, then it’s worth playing him to hit 30 again too on the alternate over. At +215 that’s an implied 32% hit rate instead of the 50% implied on the +100 over 25.5, and we only need two more buckets — maybe one if it’s a four-point play!

Depending on how aggressive you want to be, you can stick with the surer hit and play just the traditional 25.5, or you can put part of your bet on him to hit 30-plus. You can get even more aggressive and parlay this with Doncic too if you like. Five-plus Luka 3s and 30-plus Mitchell points plays at +1434.

Choose wisely, and let’s hope we get some points in this game.

Bonus Prop Bets

  • Mo Bamba, Over 0.5 Assists (-160 PointsBet): Bamba has recorded an assist in 35 of 49 games (71%) with multiple assists in 19 of them. He’s averaging 1.3 dimes per game and at least one in six of his last seven games. Remember, this game should be fast and high-scoring. We just need one.
  • Jalen Brunson, Over 4.5 Assists (+100 DraftKings): Since the Porzingis trade, Brunson is playing a whopping 38.2 minutes per game. He’s averaging 18.8 points and 4.8 assists during that stretch with 9.8 Potential Assists. We project him at 6.3 dimes and rate this prop a 10 out of 10 in the Props Tool.
  • Nic Batum, Over 0.5 Blocks (+170 DraftKings): Call this a bit of a hunch. Batum had a season-high three blocks his last game against the Lakers, blocking Russell Westbrook twice, and Batum has a block in 75% of Clippers games against their crosstown rival versus only 42% of his other games. We project Batum at 0.7 blocks, and that’s his season average. Let’s take a shot.