Tonight, there is a seven game NBA slate and a couple of playoff teams will be facing off. The Cleveland Cavaliers will be in Miami to battle the Heat. The Cavaliers will enter having won six of their last 10 games. Forward Evan Mobley has been a big reason why and Cleveland will for another big performance from him as it looks to pull out another victory on the road.
Beyond Mobley, there are a pair of former MVPs that I have my eye on tonight as well. Reigning two-time MVP Nikola Jokic will get the Chicago Bulls tonight as his Nuggets host in Denver. Jokic may be able to reverse a recent trend and lead the Nuggets to win.
Meanwhile, Kevin Durant looked every bit of a former MVP in leading the Suns to a victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday. Will he take advantage of a short-handed Thunder team tonight? Here are the top NBA player props today.
NBA Player Props & Picks
Evan Mobley Over 15.5 Points (-115)
|Time | TV||7:30 p.m. ET | NBA League Pass|
The Cavaliers have one of the most dangerous backcourts in the NBA with Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland. However, I’ve often said for the team to emerge as a true contender this season and beyond, it will need more from Evan Mobley. Lately, the former No. 2 overall pick has been playing like he is ready to take the next step offensively.
Over his last 10 games, Mobley is averaging 19.5 points per game. That is up from his season average of 16.1, which is still over this line on average. Mobley has gone over this line in six of his last 10 games, including games of 28, 23, 31, and 25 points. The four games in that span where he went under, he scored 14,15, 13, and 12. That tells me if he does go under, it will not be by much. That makes me more confident in this play.
That confidence grows when looking at Mobley’s matchup against the Heat. This season, Mobley is 1-for-2 with this line against the Heat with games of 15 and 17 points. Miami recently completed a two-game set with the Atlanta Hawks.
In those games, Hawks forwards John Collins, DeAndre Hunter, Saddiq Bey, and Onyeka Okwongu combined to go 6-for-8 in going over their points lines. The Heat also have allowed Tobias Harris, Gordon Hayward, Kelly Oubre, and Bobby Portis to go over their lines recently. Three of them scored 18 or more.
Between Mobley’s scoring uptick and the Heat’s struggles at the forward positions, I like this spot for Mobley. However, he also may be going against a former teammate.
The Cavaliers were surprised that forward Kevin Love asked for a buyout and subsequently joined the Heat. Love is listed as questionable, but if he does play, perhaps Mobley has a little added motivation with the chance to stick it to a former teammate.
Nikola Jokic Over 21.5 Points (-120)
|Time | TV||9 p.m. ET | NBA League Pass|
I’ve often said that Nikola Jokic takes the temperature of his team on that night and adjusts his game accordingly. When the Nuggets are at full strength, that usually means less scoring. In fact, Jokic has scored fewer than 20 points in four of his past five games. There are some who might say he’s stat-padding for triple-doubles. However, now this line is too low.
While Jokic’s scoring has trended down of late, in the previous five games he had gone over in four of them so he is 5-for-10 overall. In four of those games, he scored 25 points or more. He is also still averaging 24.4 points per game for the season.
Tonight, Jokic gets the Chicago Bulls, who statistically presents a tough matchup. The Bulls are fourth in defending centers, according to props.cash. They also allow the fifth fewest points in the paint per game. However, few would regard centers Nikola Vucevic or Andre Drummond as good defenders or rim protectors. Combined, they average 1.1 blocks per game.
The Bulls are also 29th in 3-pointers allowed per game. Jokic does not attempt many but he certainly has the game to knock down shots from the perimeter as well. He is shooting 40% from beyond the arc this season.
This is a bet that will come down to how much Jokic feels like shooting. He is shooting 63.4% from the field on 14 attempts per game. However, he does need many attempts to score 22 points. Even with no 3s, an 8-for-12 night with six free throws gets us to 22 points and cashes this over.
Kevin Durant Over 25.5 Points (-115)
|Time | TV||9 p.m. ET | NBA League Pass|
Kevin Durant has now played three games with the Phoenix Suns. He scored 20 points in all three of them, but he has scored more than 25 points in just one of them. However, that had more to do with his minutes limit as he recovered from a knee injury. In those games, he played 27, 31, and 40 minutes. After he played 40 minutes in Dallas, it is safe to say that the minutes limit is over.
Durant scored 38 points against Dallas and hit the go-ahead shot as well. While there aren’t many matchups where I would expect Durant to struggle, I especially like this spot tonight. Durant will be facing an Oklahoma City Thunder team that plays at the fastest pace and allows 116.6 points per game. The Thunder have also been vulnerable against forwards of late.
Recently, the Thunder allowed 43 points to Utah’s Lauri Markkanen and 29 points to Sacramento’s Harrison Barnes. They also have allowed Tobias Harris and Keegan Murray to go over against them recently. The Thunder will also be traveling to Phoenix on the second night of a back-to-back. Their legs might be a bit tired after a hard-fought win last night.
Oklahoma City will likely be resting Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, which means a blowout is a possibility. However, if Durant only has three quarters to go over this line, I am fine with his chances. With Devin Booker and Durant on the floor, they each have gotten a lot of one-on-on opportunities and have taken advantage.
Durant is shooting nearly 70% from the field on 14 attempts in three games with the Suns. That will regress, Durant is still an efficient scorer. He might not need many attempts to score 26 points.