Are you still flying high after that massive Steven Adams win last night?
We played Adams to go under 10.5 rebounds, and the mountain man picked up two fouls in the first 2.5 minutes, checked out without a single board, and never re-entered the game. It was just about the easiest win of the year.
Shooters shoot, and tonight we’re going all in on the 3s. It’s a shooter’s league now, and we have to be quick to grab the right overs in playoff series when we see the volume rise on certain players. Tonight’s three top plays are all volume plays on guys who could hoist double-digit 3-pointers.
NBA Player Props & Picks
Kyrie Irving, Over 3.5 3- Pointers (+115)
|Nets vs. Celtics||Celtics -3.5|
|Time | TV||7 p.m. ET | TNT|
Kyrie Irving was the story in Game 1, for better and for worse.
Irving had a monster game. He scored 39 points, including a flurry at the start of the fourth quarter to spark the Nets’ comeback and then his sixth 3-pointer of the game in the final minute, which looked at the time like the game-winning shot. Add in five rebounds, six assists, four steals, and more than a few double birds to the home Boston crowd, and it was all about Irving in Game 1.
It’s clear at this point that it’s Irving and Kevin Durant or bust. Even if Ben Simmons does come back at some point, this team is built around its two superstar scorers, and against Boston’s nasty switching defense. That No. 1 defense makes life absolutely miserable for most opponents, but for guys like Irving and Durant that can go get their own shot any time they want it, it just means more shots than ever.
Durant had a rough Game 1. It’s not often you see Durant finish a game with more field goal attempts than shots. The Celtics have the length to give KD trouble, as much as one can really trouble one of the greatest scorers in human history. But Irving can beat any of these guys off the dribble, and the way he’s playing the Me Against the Boston World angle right now, you know he’ll get those shots up.
Over the final 13 games of the season, Irving averaged 4.7 made 3s per game on 10.2 attempts. He went over this line in nine of 13, hitting this over 69% of the time. He was already playing 39.1 minutes per game so he can’t go up much there, but he took 10 attempts in Game 1 too, right at expectation, and he hit six of them. Another over.
We only need four for this over, though you might want to play an alternate over too. Irving has at least five 3s in half of his last 14 games now counting Game 1, and you can play five-plus treys at +250.
Fred VanVleet, Over 3.5 3-Pointers (-130)
|76ers vs. Raptors||76ers -2|
|Time | TV||8 p.m. ET | NBA TV|
Those poor outmatched Raptors look up against it in this series.
Toronto was already at a serious talent disadvantage coming into the series. MVP hopeful Joel Embiid is the best player on the court, and James Harden is certainly supposed to be the next best player. Tyrese Maxey is a budding star, and Tobias Harris is a great shooter and scorer on a max deal. Philly also brings plenty of depth.
The Raptors, on the other hand, just don’t have many options. They played their go-to guys massive minutes down the stretch just to secure their playoff berth. That was always going to be a problem in the postseason since they’ve maxed out minutes on their best guys, but it’s an even bigger problem now that Scottie Barnes and Gary Trent Jr. are huge question marks.
Toronto just doesn’t have many bodies left. With those two limited or missing, that leaves pretty much the entire scoring load to Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet, and OG Anunoby. VanVleet is the best shooter of the three and the guy with the ball in his hands running the offense, so he should continue to get up a ton of 3s, if for no other reason than sheer desperation.
VanVleet took a whopping 16 3s in Game 2. He only hit 31% of them, which isn’t great, but we play volume on props, not efficiency. It just so happens that FVV made five 3s, which hit any 3-point prop at any book even with that poor shooting night. VanVleet isn’t getting to the rim or the free throw line, so we’ll skip the points and stick with 3s. Just the sheer volume alone should give him a good shot at four makes.
You can play five-plus makes at +172 if you prefer. Instead of betting betting $140 to win $100, you can bet that same $140 to return $241 for just one extra make. You can decide which side of that you like better, but it’s pretty obvious that the 3.5 is the safer play in case VanVleet shoots less, plays fewer minutes, isn’t as desperate in a non-blowout, or just doesn’t shoot as well.
I’ll play the over 3.5 to -160 or pivot to the alternate over.
Nikola Vucevic, Over 1.5 3-Pointers (-136)
|Bulls vs. Bucks||Bucks -10|
|Time | TV||9:30 p.m. ET | TNT|
Don’t look now, but Nikola Vucevic might be the key to the entire series for the Chicago Bulls — for better and, almost certainly, for worse.
Vucevic had a monster Game 1. He racked up 24 points and 17 rebounds, almost half of those on the offensive glass. The Bucks struggled to defend Vooch at times, with Brook Lopez stretched out to the perimeter to defend Vucevic’s shooting and then having a hard time getting back to the paint to protect the rim.
Vucevic was not particularly efficient. He hit only 9-of-27 from the field. That included an ugly 7-of-17 on 2s, disastrous for a player his size and especially damaging late in the games. He wasn’t much better on 3s at 2-of-10, but it’s that last number that’s important.
Ten 3-point attempts was the most attempts this season for Vucevic, and with volume like that, it’s criminal getting a line at just 1.5 makes. Virtually any player in the NBA getting double-digit 3-point attempts should hit at least two of them.
Vucevic has multiple 3s to hit this over in four of his five games against the Bucks this season. His shooting hasn’t been consistent, and his percentage is down, but it’s clear that the Bulls are intentionally deploying Vooch as a shooter to space the court out and pull the Bucks’ defense out of the paint. Even more so now that Brook Lopez is back, of course.
Vooch has 11 makes now in five games against the Bucks, an average of 2.2 per game versus 1.4 against everyone else. If you think he approaches 10 attempts again and want to get more aggressive, you can play three makes at +240 and four at +720. He did hit four treys in one Bucks game already this season, his third highest total of the year.
If you’re worried the volume might fall just a little and that the shots might not, it may be wise to just stick with the safer over and play the 1.5. I’ll play that over to -160 and consider one of the alternates.
Bonus NBA Prop Bets
- Kevin Durant, Over 3.5 Turnovers (-140 BetMGM): Durant has done everything for the Nets down the stretch since they traded Harden and rebuilt the roster. His scoring was up, and his assists were way up, but unfortunately the turnovers were up too with all that extra usage and handling. He averaged 4.4 turnovers per game since the start of March, going over this line in 14 of 19 games. He also had six turnovers in Game 1 against Boston’s tough, physical defense, and we know he’ll play huge minutes with a heavy load. He doesn’t have to have a bad game to go over this, just make a few mistakes.
- Marcus Smart, Over 2.5 Turnovers (+125 BetMGM): Smart had multiple turnovers in nine straight games to end the regular season. He had three in Game 1. And the key angle here is the minutes — Smart always sees a big uptick in minutes in the playoffs, and since he averages 2.5 turnovers per 36 and tends to handle a bit more in the playoffs with opponents defend Boston, that tilts this one slightly in our favor. He should get a couple turnovers again, so we probably just need one more.