It is officially the start of the NBA Playoffs!
This reminds me of Christmas Day with all of the games going off one after another starting at 1 p.m. ET. We’ve got four exciting openers for Round 1 today: Jazz vs. Mavericks (1 p.m. ET), Timberwolves vs. Grizzlies (3:30 p.m. ET), Raptors vs. 76ers (6 p.m. ET), Nuggets vs. Warriors (8:30 p.m. ET).
As always, we’ll be using the Action Labs Player Prop tool to compare our NBA projections to the props posted at a variety of sportsbooks.
Below, I have laid out three prop bets that I’m playing, the case for each bet and the best books to find odds on those player props.
Get your popcorn ready and let’s win some money.
NBA Player Props & Picks
Spencer Dinwiddie, Over 20.5 Points (-120)
|Mavericks vs. Jazz||Jazz -5|
|Time | TV||1 p.m. ET | ESPN|
The last game of the regular season was a nightmare for the Dallas Mavericks. Not only did they fail to capture the No. 3 Seed in the Western Conference, but they lost their best player, Luka Doncic, for at least the start of the playoffs.
Good thing the Mavericks went out to get Spencer Dinwiddie at the trade deadline as he will be called upon to provide most of the offense from a scoring and facilitating perspective in the absence of Doncic. In two games without Doncic this season, Dinwiddie is averaging 31 points and 6.5 assists per game, while shooting 54.3% from the field with a 33.7% usage rate.
The Mavericks are still five-point home underdogs where they are implied to score the least amount of points on the slate. This is a tough spot for them without their star point guard, but Dinwiddie will have so many opportunities to get over this points prop. He will definitely be shooting enough attempts to try.
Dinwiddie has not hit this over points prop in eight-straight games, but that was in large part due to Doncic who leads the league in usage rate per game. Given the tough Jazz defense and the Mavericks low-implied total, don’t get carried away with this prop. I do like it at 20.5 points right where it is at tonight.
Karl-Anthony Towns, Under 24.5 Points (-110)
|Grizzlies vs. Timberwolves||Grizzlies -6.5|
|Time | TV||3:30 p.m. ET | ESPN|
The Minnesota Timberwolves caught a lot of flack for how they celebrated their play-in tournament victory, but it has been awhile since they have been back into the playoffs and Patrick Beverley knocked off his former team.
They find themselves in a matchup where I think suits them very well. Two young teams with similar playoff experience in what should be a long exciting series. The Timberwolves led the league in scoring as the Grizzlies came in second, so it should be no surprise this game has the highest total on the slate.
It seems as though teams are starting to figure out Karl-Anthony Towns to an extent. Be physical with him and double him whenever he is either on the block or puts the ball on the floor. That is what the Clippers did and Towns was frustrated and ended up fouling out only playing 24 minutes having 11 points.
It is not that hard to get in the head of Towns these days and the Grizzlies have a great defense to do just that. They rank sixth in defensive rating, allowing 109.9 points per game. Jaren Jackson Jr. who will likely get the duty of Towns is averaging a league-high 2.2 blocks per game. Add in the factor that Towns leads the league in fouls per game since the All-Star break, I’ll take the under.
Nikola Jokic, Over 7.5 Assists (-105)
|Warriors vs. Nuggets||Warriors -6.5|
|Time | TV||8:30 p.m. ET | ABC|
This Nuggets and Warriors series would look a lot different if Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. were able to suit up, but that is unlikely to happen. It will continue to be the Nikola Jokic show as he is the frontrunner for his second-straight MVP award. He is very deserving as he continues to post huge stats.
Jokic became the first player in league history to finish a single season with 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds, and 500 assists. His assists numbers recently have been down as Jokic has been trying to score as many points as possible and grab a crazy amount of rebounds to secure that MVP award once again.
Jokic destroys the Warriors. In nine games over the last three seasons, Jokic is averaging 24.4 points, 13.3 rebounds, and 8.2 assists per game with two triple-doubles. They will likely start with Kevon Looney guarding him and then switching to Draymond Green who is much smaller. Jokic is impossible to stop.
Our model has Jokic projected for 9.4 assists tonight as Jokic and the Nuggets look to upset the Warriors on the road. The Warriors when healthy are a very dangerous team as they will be getting Stephen Curry back who missed 12-straight games.
The Warriors present a tough defense, but Jokic is the MVP frontrunner for a reason. I wouldn’t mind sprinkling some money at his triple-double prop on DraftKings at +275. Jokic will dominate in this matchup.