There have been a number of electric scoring performances across the league this season. On Monday night, Julius Randle provided another with a career-high 57 points.
Tonight, Randle gets a Miami Heat team that he has struggled against in his career. This may be the spot to fade him.
In Toronto, the Raptors will be hosting the Indiana Pacers. The Raptors have played themselves into a comfortable position to make the play-in tournament. Indiana has fallen in the standings and is three games behind Toronto and 2.5 games behind the 10th seed. Fred VanVleet may be motivated a bit to keep the Pacers there after a rough performance the last time he faced them.
In the late game, the Phoenix Suns will be in Los Angeles to battle the Lakers. There is no love lost between these teams, and playoff positioning is on the line in this matchup. Chris Paul could be key in helping the Suns to get an important win on the road.
Let’s dive into this slate and hopefully have another winning night.
NBA Player Props & Picks
Julius Randle Under 26.5 Points (-113)
|Time | TV||7:30 p.m. ET | NBA League Pass|
Coming off a career-high 57 points, Julius Randle will enter this game playing with a lot of confidence. He will also be confident going against this Miami team after scoring 43 in the last meeting and knocking down the game-winning shot on March 3. However, those outings may have caused this number to be slightly inflated.
Randle’s last game against the Heat was the first time he had scored 27 points or more in nine games against the Heat since joining the Knicks. Now, this line is important, as Randle did score 26 points twice among five 20-point games in that span. However, in the other games, he scored 13 points or fewer.
The Heat have struggled to defend power forwards since acquiring Kevin Love. However, Center Bam Adebayo is one of the best defenders in the league and usually gives Randle trouble. My expectation here is that Adebayo defends Randle and Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra opts to cross-match Love with Mitchell Robinson/Isaiah Hartenstein to keep them off the glass.
Additionally, Jalen Brunson and RJ Barrett each has had his fair share of success against the Heat. Randle may not have to carry the load tonight. He is also averaging 25.6 points per game this season and has gone under in six of his last 10 games. An average night combined with a bit of shooting regression back to the mean will keep Randle under 27 points.
Fred VanVleet Over 28.5 Points + Assists (-110)
|Time | TV||7:30 p.m. ET | NBA League Pass|
Fred VanVleet has faced the Indiana Pacers just once this season – back in January. He had a rough outing, finishing with nine points and three assists while shooting 3-for-15 from the field. However, Indiana still represents an excellent matchup. The Pacers are 27th in points allowed, which coincides with being 28th in assists allowed.
VanVleet is also playing a lot better since the last time he saw the Pacers. He is averaging 19 points and 9.1 assists over his last 10 games. In that span, he has scored 20 points or more five times. He has also had at least six assists in each of his last 10 games, as well as seven games with eight assists. Overall, VanVleet has hit this line in five of his last eight games.
Additionally, guards have been cashing their points + assists lines seemingly every game against the Pacers. Recently, James Harden, Tyrese Maxey (2x), Killian Hayes, Cory Joseph (2x), Jrue Holiday, Jalen Green and Jrue Holiday have reached their lines against the Pacers.
If VanVleet’s recent trends continue, he will get close to this line – if not go over – with his scoring alone. When you combine that with piling up assists as well, VanVleet should have little trouble clearing this line.
Chris Paul Over 14.5 Points (-118)
|Time | TV||10 p.m. ET | ESPN|
Chris Paul is averaging 13.5 points per game this season. However, he scored 28 points in his lone meeting against the Lakers this season. In that game, the Suns were missing Devin Booker. This time, they are missing DeAndre Ayton in addition to Kevin Durant, which is a sign of how much each team’s roster has changed since the last meeting.
Devin Booker has had a number of big games against the Lakers in his career. However, the Lakers have acquired Jarred Vanderbilt since the last meeting, and he has emerged as one of the league’s top defenders. Booker will get his to a degree, but with a line of 31.5 points, I’m going to pivot to other options. Regardless, he will need help if the Suns are going to pull out a win on the road, which is where Paul comes in.
If Booker draws extra attention from either Vanderbilt or via double teams, Paul will have extra opportunities to score. Teams have been leaving Paul open at the top of the key and forcing him to beat them. He still can, particularly when he gets to his spot in the midrange area. Paul has scored in double digits in nine of his last 10 games, going over this line in four of them. Last game, he was hooked on 14 points.
Recently, the Lakers have allowed point guards Tyus Jones, Kevin Porter Jr., Kyrie Irving and Cole Anthony to go over their points lines, and each scored 15 points or more. This is a good matchup for Paul to join that club.