The second round of the 2022 NBA playoffs is getting interesting as all four series have played two games. Thursday gives us a rare day off, which is the perfect opportunity to look at some series player props before things ramp up this again this weekend.
Here are six bets you should consider making before the games start up again.
1. Chris Paul to score 20 PPG, Suns to win the series (-105 FanDuel)
Chris Paul has always saved his best scoring for the playoffs. He averages 18.1 PPG in the regular season, but 20.8 in the postseason. He put up 22.3 PPG against the Pelicans in the first round and is at 23.5 PPG against the Mavs.
Paul has been an absolute surgeon. He’s shooting an absurd 72% from mid-range. An average shooter is around 40-45% and CP3 can get that shot on pretty much any possession. He’s slicing and dicing the poor Mavs and he filleted Luka Doncic down the stretch in Game 2.
The way Dallas has defended Phoenix is taking away some of Paul’s passing lanes, trying to force him to be a scorer. He’s been happy to oblige. The Suns are -1500 to win the series, mostly a concession as long as Paul stays healthy.
He needs to average a minimum of 18.6 PPG (if it goes seven) the rest of the series to stay at 20 PPG and hit this. You can also bet +380 for him to average 25 PPG in a series win, but that feels a bit ambitious even with him in range.
2. Giannis Antetokounmpo Highest Series PPG (-170 FanDuel)
Antetokounmpo has struggled to find his usual efficient offense against the Celtics. He’s under 39% from the field with 11 turnovers and is averaging just 26.0 PPG. Remember, this is a guy who put up 30.2 PPG last postseason en route to a title — while playing injured for some of those games.
That scoring average should trend up. Some of those two-pointers are bound to fall and the Bucks found some new ways to get Giannis involved as a scorer in the latter parts of Game 2 when they used him as a screener. Boston changed its Game 2 defense to stay home on shooters and try to force Antetokounmpo to beat them on his own — and he might well do it.
Even at 26.0 PPG, Antetokounmpo is still the series leader. Tatum is the real threat at 25.0, with Holiday (22.0) and Brown (21.0) in play, but unlikely. This is a two-man race, and Antetokounmpo has more volume and is less prone to a low total on an off night.
This is worth the juice at an implied 63% and playable to -250. It might be a way to fund some of these other bets.
3. Jayson Tatum Highest Series APG (+850 FanDuel)
Tatum’s playmaking has taken off this year. Just look at how his numbers have increased as the season has progressed:
- Pre All-Star Break: 4.2 APG
- Post All-Star Break: 5.1 APG
- Playoffs: 7.2 APG
Tatum is maxing out his playing time (41.5 MPG) in the postseason and he’s done a bit of everything on both ends, but the playmaking leap stands out. Tatum had 16 and 15 Potential Assists the first two games of the series. With Milwaukee playing drop defense and stifling everything at the rim, Tatum has been aggressive driving the ball and kicking to open shooters. That’s the way to attack this defense and hope the shots fall.
Tatum is at 7.0 APG through two games. Of course, Marcus Smart should return and that will impact things. Antetokounmpo is at 9.5 APG so he’s the big threat, but he dropped from 12 to seven assists in Game 2 with Boston staying home on shooters, so that may leave an opening. Tatum should really be closer to 8.0 or 9.0 APG right now with his Potential Assist numbers.
Could Tatum lead the round in APG too? He’s +7500 at FanDuel. Chris Paul at 5.5 doesn’t look like a threat. Luka Doncic’s assists are down. James Harden looks DOA. Other than Antetokounmpo, Ja Morant is the biggest threat at 9.0. But the way he’s been scoring, that could trend down too. Tatum is in play.
4. Ja Morant to score 25+ every game of the series (+340 FanDuel)
Morant has been incredible this series. Morant scored 34 in Game 1 and had a shot at the buzzer that could’ve won it. He had a career-high 47 in Game 2 and did anything he wanted down the stretch.
Morant’s scoring was down last round, but Minnesota was blitzing him and getting the ball out of his hands. Golden State doesn’t defend that way and the Warriors don’t have the personnel to stop Morant, especially with Gary Payton II out. Jordan Poole has been barbecue chicken and Morant has taken over late in games.
He’s scored well on the Warriors all season. He had 30, 21 and 29 in three regular season games, with the 21 coming in just 31 minutes. Morant averaged 0.73 points per minute against the Warriors in the regular season and he’s at 1.03 in the playoffs. He’s also playing 40 minutes a night. That should put him around 30-to-40 points any night out.
It’s the one bad game we need to avoid. But the way Morant is scoring, he’d need to have one of those 32-minute games and drop to the regular-season scoring rate, which still puts him at 24 points and right at the cusp. That might be possible in a blowout loss, but we might not even get that. Heck, we might only need three more 25-point games if this series ends quickly.
This line is way off. Morant is -265 to score 25 in Game 3, an implied 72.6%. His odds to do that three more times would be 38% (+160), four more times 28% (+260), and five more 20% (+400). If this series goes seven, you might be taking some risk — of course, for this to go seven, it almost certainly means Morant is carrying Memphis there. If there’s only one bet you make in this column, make it this one.
5. Klay Thompson Round 2 3s/game leader (+850 FanDuel)
FanDuel isn’t too sure who will lead the second round in made 3s per game.
The favorite is Jayson Tatum at +170. He’s 9-of-19, so he’s tied for the lead at nine 3s so far (4.5/game) but won’t shoot 47% all series. There’s not quite enough volume there and I don’t think Tatum should be the favorite.
Steph Curry and Luka Doncic are the obvious plays, both at +210. Curry was at 4.5 for the season but is down to 3.9 on 10.0 attempts in the playoffs and was just 3.7 post All-Star Break with Klay Thompson and Jordan Poole sharing the load. He’s not the overwhelming favorite he once was. Doncic is averaging 4.0 makes on 10.2 attempts in the playoffs, almost exactly what he was at for 25 games after the Porzingis trade. Luka has nine makes, with Steph at eight.
Any of those three could win this, but Thompson is the value play. Thompson has hit just 23% this round, but never stays cold for long. He’s 5-of-22, but the important number is the 22, trailing only Curry (by one) for attempts this round. Thompson averaged 4.4 makes in the first round and he was at 4.3 makes on 11.1 attempts per game since the start of March.
Thompson is getting more three-point volume than anyone on the planet right now. He’s four 3s behind, but we know how hot he can get when the shots start falling. He has value at +850 (10.5% implied).
6. Draymond Green Series Rebounds Leader (+330 DraftKings)
The rebounding numbers in this series are tight through two games. Jaren Jackson Jr. leads all rebounders with 18 boards, but Ja Morant and Andrew Wiggins are right behind with 17 each. Draymond Green (14) and Brandon Clarke (13) are not far behind.
Notably absent is Steven Adams, who led the Grizzlies in rebounding at 10.0 RPG in the regular season. He’s finally back in Game 3 and should play a role in this series since Golden State doesn’t attack the pick-and-roll as much as Minnesota did. Adams should siphon enough Grizzlies rebounds away from Morant, Jackson and Clarke to leave this open for a Warrior.
Andrew Wiggins is a tempting play at +2200, only one off the lead thanks to eight offensive rebounds. But the best play is Green. Remember, he missed half of Game 1 plus an early chunk of Game 2, or he’d be leading this already. Even so, he only needs to make up four boards to take the lead and he averaged 10.0 RPG in 104 games over the past five playoffs.
Green would be my favorite for this bet straight up, so he’s a no brainer bet at +330. I may sprinkle a little on Wiggins too, just to be safe.