With the regular season winding down, playoff races are tightening up. The Milwaukee Bucks hold an 1.5 game lead for the top spot in the Eastern Conference. However, they are coming off a loss in Denver on Saturday night. Tonight, the Bucks should be able to bounce back against the Detroit Pistons, a team that Giannis Antetokounmpo has dominated.
The Phoenix Suns are clinging to the fourth seed in the West as they battle injuries. The Suns are a half game up on the Clippers and an 1.5 games up from avoiding the play-in tournament. However, Devin Booker has been in a zone of late offensively. He may be salivating at his matchup tonight against the Utah Jazz.
The New Orleans Pelicans have played themselves into the eight seed on the strength of a four-game winning streak. Brandon Ingram has led the way at the offensive end. He could be in a for another 30-point performance against the Trail Blazers.
NBA Player Props & Picks
Giannis Antetokounmpo Over 29.5 Points (-120)
|Time | TV||7 p.m. ET | NBA League Pass|
The Bucks are heavily favored to beat the Pistons tonight as has been the case all season. The Bucks are 3-0 against the Pistons this season and have won each of the last two meetings by 20 points or more.
I bring this up because if you are going to take this prop, you have to do so knowing there is a solid chance he only plays three quarters. However, that has not mattered for Antetokounmpo this season.
Antetokounmp has scored 30 in two of the three meetings and is averaging 30.7 points per game against the Pistons this season. In the other, he scored 29 points. He has done so in just 29.6 minutes per game. Antetokounmpo’s success this season against the Pistons this season has continued his dominance over them over the last few years.
Antetokounmpo has hit this line in five of the last six and eight of his last 12 games against the Pistons. He is averaging 31 points per game in that span. Antetokounmpo has also gone over this line in six of his last 10 games overall.
The Pistons have added more size since they last faced the Bucks with, acquiring James Wiseman and giving more minutes to Jalen Duren. However, that has not helped much defensively.
Recently, forwards Pascal Siakam and Jimmy Butler and center Bam Adebayo and Nikola Jokic have gone over their points lines against the Pistons. If you include stars in general, Bradley Beal andTrae Young went over as well. Siakam, Jokic, Beal, and Young all scored 30 points or more.
Many of those players did not need to play the fourth quarter to hit those lines against the Pistons and I anticipate that Giannis will not need to either.
Devin Booker Over 30.5 Points (-125)
|Time | TV||9 p.m. ET | NBA League Pass|
The Suns are awaiting the returns of Kevin Durant and DeAndre Ayton. They may get back Durant this week, but in the meantime Devin Booker has had little trouble carrying the load for Phoenix offensively.
Booker has scored 31 points or more in seven of his past 10 games. In three other games, he finished with 28, 30, and 29 points. He is averaging 32.9 points per game in that span. Tonight, Booker gets one of his most favorable matchups of the season.
Utah ranks 24th in both scoring defense (117.8 PPG) and defensive efficiency. According to props.cash, it is 26th defending shooting guards. Over the last 15 games, Utah is allowing the most points to shooting guards. Recently, Utah has allowed shooting guards Kevin Huerter, Pat Connaughton, Grayson Allen, and Shaedon Sharpe to clear their lines by more than 10 points and score 20 points or more in the process.
The Jazz also gave up 25 or more to Jaylen Brown, De’Aaron Fox, and Damian Lillard. Booker is averaging 38 points against the Jazz this season, including a 49-point outing in November.
Booker’s usage has been high of late, but he has remained efficient. He has averaging 20.9 field goal attempts per game over his last 10 games and is shooting 58.8% from the field. He is also getting to the free throw line 7.4 times per game and shooting 87% from the stripe during this stretch.
This kind of volume and efficiency from Booker should help get him to 31 points again in this spot.
Brandon Ingram Over 26.5 Points (-125)
|Time | TV||10 p.m. ET | NBA League Pass|
Brandon Ingram is averaging 23.9 points per game this season. However, over the last two months, Ingram is averaging 27.4 points per game. He has been even better of late, averaging 30.2 points in their last five games. He has led the Pelicans to a 4-1 record in their stretch, including their current four game winning streak.
Ingram has averaged 27 points per game against the Blazers this season. However, he went for 40 in the last matchup in Portland on March 1st. Tonight, he catch Portland on the second night of a back-to-back. There isn’t any travel involved for Portland last night, but it was shorthanded and is expected to be once again.
Last night, the Blazers gave up 31 points to Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. They also gave up 27 points or more to Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Lauri Markkanen, Zach LaVine, and Paul George of late. It is easy to see those stars looked forward to facing Portland. It ranks 26th field goal percentage defense and 27th in 3-point percentage defense and defensive rating.
This month, Ingram is not far from off from 50/40/90, shooting 52.4 from the field, 37.8% from deep, and 88.1% from the free throw line. He is averaging 19.1 field goal attempts per game. If Ingram gets 19-20 shots tonight, he is going to score 27 points and likely 30 again as well.