It is an important day in the United States as the country honors the great Martin Luther King Jr.. It is also one of the biggest days on the NBA calendar. There are nine games today, highlighted by the TNT doubleheader in Atlanta and Memphis.
The Atlanta Hawks will host the Miami Heat and it could be a big game for Heat center Bam Adebayo. In the later game, the Memphis Grizzlies welcome the shorthanded Phoenix Suns in a Western Conference showdown.
However, first let’s begin in New York, where Julius Randle and the New York Knicks will host the Toronto Raptors.
NBA Player Props & Picks
Julius Randle Over 24.5 Points (-106)
|Time | TV||3 p.m. ET | NBA League Pass|
Since scoring 35 points on Christmas Day against the Sixers, Julius Randle has scored 25 or more in nine of his 11 games. He is averaging 29.2 points in that span. His line got up to 29.5 at times during this stretch — which he still cleared — but has come back down with R.J. Barrett’s return to the lineup. I’ll take the value here in this spot.
Randle is coming off a 40-point outing yesterday in Detroit. He has torched the Pistons all season, however the Raptors have not fared much better against him. Randle has scored 26 points in four of the last six games he has faced the Raptors. He has scored 30 points in both meetings against the Raptors this season, most recently scoring 32 on Jan. 6.
Randle did most of his damage from deep in the last meeting, going 6-for-11 from beyond the arc. Randle has fallen in love with the 3-ball of late, averaging 10 attempts per game over his last 11 games. He has made four or more in six of those games. It is a good way to attack Toronto as it ranks 26th in 3-point percentage defense.
However, in the December matchup, Randle scored 30 points without one make from beyond the arc. He was 13-for-14 inside the arc. The Raptors typically operate without a traditional center, making them vulnerable inside. Rookie center Christian Koloko has been effective this season at times, but he has played just 13 minutes in the last two games. The Raptors are 29th in the league in 2-point percentage defense.
Randle can have success bullying his way to the basket against the Raptors. He can also have a big game from behind the arc. Either way, he should be able to score 26 points against the Raptors once again.
Darius Garland Over 6.5 Assists (-164)
|Time | TV||3 p.m. ET | NBA League Pass|
There is a bit of juice with this line, but that is because it is set one assist too low. Garland is coming off a game where he had just four assists at Minnesota. However, Donovan Mitchell, the Cavaliers leading scorer, played through an illness and scored just 14 points on 5-of-16 shooting. Mitchell is not listed on Cleveland’s injury report so I would presume he is feeling better. Having him back at 100% is great for Cleveland, but also Garland’s assists.
Garland is one of the NBA’s best passers and in addition to Mitchell, he has a lot of options to distribute to with Jarrett Allen, Evan Mobley, and Caris LeVert. He is averaging 7.7 assists per game this season and ranks seventh in the league. Garland has recorded at least seven assists in seven of his last 10 games. In six of those games, he had eight assists.
Garland gets the Pelicans today. The Pelicans allow the second most assists per game to point guards and they are 22nd in defending point guards, according to props.cash.
The Pelicans are also allowing 114.8 points per game in January and the Cavaliers team total is at 114.5 points. Though not necessary, it would help if the Cavaliers scored 115 points as it would increase Garland’s chances of recording seven assists.
Bam Adebayo Over 10.5 Rebounds (-115)
|Time | TV||3:30 p.m. ET | TNT|
The Hawks are a great team to target for rebounding props. They allow the second most rebounds per game in the league, the fourth most offensive rebounds and the most defensive rebounds. They allow the most rebounds to centers and are 22nd in defending centers, according to props.cash.
The Hawks have been without Clint Capela for the last 10 games as he recovers from a calf injury. Today, he has been upgraded to questionable and appears to be close to returning. If he is ruled in, I still like this spot for Heat center Bam Adebayo.
He is 10th in the league with 10.1 rebounds per game. In six games in January, he is averaging 11.7 rebounds per game and he has pulled down 11 in five of his games. He is averaging 19 rebounding chances per game in that stretch, per NBA stats. If Capela is back in the lineup, that could actually increase his rebound chances because he will be closer to the rim defending Capela opposed to chasing John Collins off the perimeter.
Adebayo carrying a heavy workload for the Heat, averaging 35 minutes per game this season and 34.3 this month. In the lone game this month in which he did not go over this line, he played 28 minutes against Brooklyn. He sat out the next game against Oklahoma City to rest.
Coming off an off day on Sunday, Adebayo, he should be ready and able to play 30 minutes. If so, Adebayo should have little trouble grabbing 11 rebounds against Atlanta.