On this Wednesday, there is a nine-game NBA slate offering plenty of opportunities to find value. In Boston, the Celtics will host the Brooklyn Nets in the first game of ESPN’s doubleheader. It is a good spot for Jaylen Brown.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has been scoring at will all season, but particularly of late. Tonight, he gets the porous Rockets defense in Houston. Not far behind is Utah’s Lauri Markkanen. He could be in line for a big game while facing a Raptors team playing without one of the game’s top defenders.
We’re on an 8-2 run on NBA props. Let’s dive into Wednesday’s slate and keep the hot streak going.
NBA Player Props & Picks
Jaylen Brown Over 6.5 Rebounds (-125)
|Time | TV||7:30 p.m. ET | ESPN|
At 26, Jaylen Brown continues to ascend. He is averaging career highs with 27 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. In my opinion, he should have been a starter in the All-Star Game, though he will probably hear his name called tomorrow night. With that in mind, Brown will likely be looking to put on a big performance, particularly in a national TV spot against another contender.
Tonight, I am looking at Brown on the glass. At 6.5, he is going over this line on average. He has grabbed seven rebounds in five of his last six games with a high mark of 12 rebounds. In that span, he is averaging 8.7 per game. Brown is facing a Brooklyn Nets team that is 22nd in rebounds allowed and has struggled particularly in that area without Kevin Durant. Brown had 10 rebounds in the first meeting against the Nets this season.
Brown was out for the last matchup between the teams on Jan. 12, but in that game, Boston held Brooklyn to 98 points and a 48-31 edge on the glass. Brooklyn is averaging just 95 points against the Celtics this season, and the Nets have done a good job slowing down Kyrie Irving. A rough shooting night from Irving and the Nets will lead to more rebound chances for Brown.
Additionally, I mentioned that this is a national TV game. In Brown’s last four nationally televised games (Mavericks, Warriors, Knicks and Lakers), he has pulled down seven rebounds in each game and had nine rebounds in three of the four.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander Over 31.5 Points (-120)
|Time | TV||8:10 p.m. ET | NBA League Pass|
If you’ve been keeping track, we hit on Gilgeous-Alexander points last Wednesday against the Hawks. His line was 29.5 points then and moved up a bucket for a couple of reasons. The first is that Gilgeous-Alexander has not stopped scoring. He scored 36 points against the Hawks, 35 against the Cavaliers, and 31 against the Warriors in the games since. Gilgeous-Alexander has scored 32 points in four of his last five games.
The other reason is the matchup against the Rockets, which is one of the most favorable in the league. Houston is 28th in defensive rating and 24th in scoring defense at 117.1 points allowed per game. Per props.cash, Houston is 27th in point guard defense. In recent games, it has given up big scoring nights to Minnesota’s D’Angelo Russell and Anthony Edwards, Charlotte’s Terry Rozier, and Cleveland’s Darius Garland.
Houston is also last in three-pointers allowed per game and 24th in three-point percentage allowed. Gilgeous-Alexander likely will not exploit that a great deal, though he is averaging a three per game on 36.8% shooting and 41.4% in January. However, Houston is also 23rd in two-point percentage defense, and Gilgeous-Alexander will do most of his damage in the midrange area.
He scored 32 points in 28 minutes in his lone matchup against Houston this season. I expect another big scoring performance from him tonight.
Lauri Markkanen Over 24.5 Points (-115)
|Time | TV||9:10 p.m. ET | NBA League Pass|
Lauri Markkanen has had the opportunity to become a No. 1 scoring option since being acquired in the Donovan Mitchell trade. However, his consistency is remarkable. He has scored 20 or more points in 23 of his last 25 games, including each of his last 18 games. Markkanen has scored at least 25 points in 13 of his last 18 games and in eight of 11 games in January. That means we are getting a line that is hitting at more than 70%.
In January, Markkanen averaged 28.5 points per game. Much of his damage has come from behind the arc. Markkanen is shooting 43.3% on 7.2 three-point attempts per game this season. He made six threes in three games in January and also made three three-pointers in each of his last six games. At 6-foot-11, Markkanen can shoot over most defenders.
Markkanen faces a Raptors team that is 28th in field goal percentage defense and 29th in three-point field goal percentage defense. They will also be without O.G. Anunoby – one of the game’s elite defenders – again as he is dealing with sprained left wrist. In the last two games without Anunoby, Toronto has allowed 26 points to Portland’s Jerami Grant and 29 to Phoenix’s Mikal Bridges.
If Markkanen has an off night from three, he can still get to this line. He has scored 25 points in three of the last games in which he made only one three. One reason is that he also does a good job of getting to the free-throw line. Markkanen averages 5.7 free throw attempts per game, which he has upped to 8.5 in January while making 89.4% of them.
Whether Markkanen does more damage beyond the three-point line or at the free-throw line, I like his chances of scoring 25 points against Toronto.