Tonight, there are eight games on the schedule. About half of a typical Wednesday slate, but there are still many great games on the schedule.
Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and the Brooklyn Nets are in Atlanta to battle Trae Young and the Hawks. That game could have have a lot of points on the scoreboard, making it a good spot for a Nets facilitator.
Can Lauri Markkanen take advantage of that tonight?
NBA Player Props & Picks
Ben Simmons Over 13.5 REB + AST (-135)
|Time | TV||7:30 p.m. ET | NBA League Pass|
Ben Simmons is averaging 6.8 rebounds and 6.2 assists this season for 13 rebounds + assists per game. He has recorded 14 rebounds + assists in three of the last four games. Simmons has also been close with three other games of 12, 13, and 13 among his last 10 games.
Tonight, Simmons gets the Atlanta Hawks, who are 26th in rebounds allowed. Center Clint Capela missed last night’s game in Indiana and is questionable tonight. If Capela is out again, that will take an elite rebounder off the floor for the Hawks and give Simmons more rebound opportunities. Simmons has eight rebounds or more in three of his last four games.
Simmons could also get it done with assists. The Hawks are 13th in assists allowed, but they allow 115.3 points per game, ranking 20th in scoring defense. They are also traveling back home for the second end of a back-to-back, which could mean another poor defensive effort tonight.
The oddsmakers tend to think so with the total at 234.5, Kevin Durant’s points line at 28.5 and Kyrie Irving’s at 26.5. Simmons will be the one setting them up. He has eight assists in each of his last four games. Eight rebounds and assists from Simmons would safely clear this line, but 14 RA would do the trick too.
Giannis Antetokounmpo Over 32.5 Points (-113)
|Time | TV||8 p.m. ET | NBA League Pass|
The past few days NBA fans have been treated to some incredible performances by the game’s star players. Nikola Jokic capped Christmas night with a 41-15-15 triple double. Joel Embiid scored 48 points last night. Meanwhile, Luka Doncic upped both Jokic and Embiid with the first 60-20-10 triple double in NBA history last night.
Antetokounmpo has been off since Christmas and probably aware of the other stars have been doing. More importantly, he gets a Bulls team he has routinely dominated of late. I’m going to focus on his points tonight. Antetokounmpo is averaging 31.2 points this season and scored 36 points in the first meeting against the Bulls this season.
He has scored 32 points or more in four of his last five meetings against the Bulls. That includes three of the five games in the Eastern Conference First Round series against Chicago last season. The Bulls are 19th in points allowed per game (115.1) and 21st in two-point field goal percentage defense.
I expect a big scoring night from Giannis and certainly 33 points. However, it also would not surprise if he is the next star to drop a 40-15-10 performance.
Lauri Markkanen Over 22.5 Points (-120)
|Time | TV||10 p.m. ET | NBA League Pass|
Lauri Markkanen has continued his strong first season with the Utah Jazz. He is averaging 23.1 points per game this season, but he has been even better in the month of December. In nine December games, Markkanen is averaging 25.3 points. He has had at least 23 points in five of them, including three 30-point games.
Markkanen has operated with incredible efficiency this season, shooting 53% from the field. However, this month, he is averaging 4.2 threes on 8.2 attempts (51.4%) from three. Markkanen has made at least three three-pointers in eight games this month and four threes in five of them.
Markkanen gets the Golden State Warriors tonight, who are 14-2 at home and have the second best defensive rating in home games. However, that did not stop Markkanen from dropping 24 points the last time the Jazz played at the Chase Center in November.
With the run that Markkanen is on now, I like his chances of scoring 23 points tonight.