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Lauri Markkanen, 19.5 Points
|Prop||Over 19.5 PTS (-125)|
|Matchup||Knicks vs. Jazz|
|Time||9 p.m. ET|
It’s safe to say that the Utah Jazz have been one of the biggest surprises so far this NBA season. At the center of it is the newly acquired Lauri Markkanen, and tonight, I’m keying in on his points prop.
Markkanen is averaging a career high of 21.8 points per game this season. He’s reached the 20-point plateau in eight of his 15 games.
At 6-foot-11, the sixth-year pro is a matchup nightmare, due to his ability to score at all three levels. While his usage rate is high (24% — third-highest on the Jazz), his 1.07 dribbles per touch ranks seventh on the Jazz. This demonstrates that Utah’s offense is predicated on getting Markkanen clean looks at the basket.
And the Knicks are a great matchup for Markkanen’s play-style. New York is allowing the second-most points to spot up shooters (33.2) and seventh-most points in transition (22.9). Markkanen averages 5.5 and 5.0 points per game respectively in those categories, leading the Jazz in both.
The Knicks’ defense is typically sound on stopping the initial action, but they struggle after the first pass is made on dribble-drives. This has led to the Knicks allowing 26.9 assists per game — fifth most in the NBA. Markkanen, as evidenced by his lack of dribbles, is assisted on 69% of his baskets.
Coming back home after a three-game East Coast road trip, I expect a renewed energy from the upstart Jazz. I have Markkanen projected at 23 points tonight.
Pick: Lauri Markkanen Over 19.5 Points (-125)
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