The final two games on the Play-In Tournament tip off tonight — Atlanta Hawks vs. Cleveland Cavaliers and New Orleans Pelicans vs. Los Angeles Clippers — as the final four teams will battle the respective No. 8 seeds in the conference.
Below I have laid out two prop bets that I’m playing, using the Action Labs Player Prop tool to compare our NBA projections to the props posted at a variety of sportsbooks.
Let’s get into tonight’s craziness.
NBA Player Props & Picks
Trae Young, Points + Assists Over 41.5 (-110)
|Hawks vs. Cavaliers||Hawks -2|
|Time | TV||7:30 p.m. ET | ESPN|
The Atlanta Hawks and Cleveland Cavaliers have one goal tonight: win, and you’re in. I expect the stars to shine in this game.
One of those stars will be Trae Young who always turns it up a notch especially in these must-win postseason games. Add to the fact that Young has plenty of success against the Cavaliers this season — he is averaging 32.5 points and nine assists per game in four matchups this season — and this sets up as a smash spot.
The Cavaliers defense has been subpar against the point guard position. They allowed Kyrie Irving to score 34 points and dish out 12 assists against in the first Play-In game on Tuesday night. Further, in sixteen career playoff games, Young is averaging 28.8 points per game and 9.5 assists. I know this does not qualify as a playoff game, but it’s an elimination game nonetheless.
There is no question this will be a playoff atmosphere tonight and this is the exact situation where Young thrives. I love this prop for Young and expect him to remedy his subpar night on Wednesday with a big game for the Hawks.
Jonas Valanciunas, Over 12.5 Rebounds (-130)
|Pelicans vs. Clippers||Clippers -3.5|
|Time | TV||10 p.m. ET | ESPN|
The Pelicans head to Crypto.com Arena tonight to take on the Clippers who will be without their star, Paul George tonight. There is one player who I believe can have big night rebounding the basketball tonight for Pelicans: Jonas Valanciunas.
Valanciunas absolutely dominated the Spurs in the first play-in game on Wednesday night. He finished the game with 22 points and 14 rebounds. In fact, the Clippers and Pelicans have matched up four times during the regular season and Valanciunas grabbed 13 or more rebounds in three out the four games.
Further according to NBA advanced stats, over the final five games of the regular season, the Clippers ranked 22nd in opponent rebounding.
Further, according to Hashtag Basketball, over the course of the season the Clippers allowed 16.3 rebounds to the center position and I expect Valanciunas’ rebounding success to continue here tonight against the Clippers. I will take the over 12.5.