This article is part of our NBA Picks series.
Much like the NFL, the NBA is currently in the midst of its own COVID-19 outbreak. Wednesday's 11-game slate as a result will have plenty of complications, but it should yield some interesting value points with different gambling books scrambling to accommodate for a smaller prop pool. It goes without saying, but I think it's especially important to remind you ahead of today's slate, check RotoWire, Twitter or any other place of confidence you have when it comes to uncovering player's injury status. The sportsbooks will obviously not ding you on a bet if your player doesn't actually see any time on the court, but grabbing a lesser known player seeing a bump in playing time before anything is officially listed can yield significant benefits if you're able to grab it at the right time.
Isaac Okoro has started to round into form as of late, averaging 18 points and 32 minutes over the last three games. I do have some concern the second-year guard will be pulled early with the Rockets missing so many players, but over 10.5 point (-130) could still be in play despite limited minutes.
As my colleague Alex Barutha always likes to say, targeting players who could attempt a similar amount of shots to their point total is always a good bet, and I think Cole Anthony fits that bill to a tee. Over 20.5 points (-125) should be a relatively safe mark considering the Hawks all the second most points to opposing point guards and it's not like he's going to see fewer minutes with Jalen Suggs (finger) sidelined for the immediate future.
I'll be honest, I don't really know why Gabe Vincent's over/under (13.5) is so high. The 25-year-old is only averaging nine points in his last two starts with the Heat decimated by injuries which sure sets the stage for a palpable under which currently sits at -130. It's not even like Vincent is shooting a tremendous amount with only a four-shot raise to his season average occurring over the last two games.
The Bucks are another team hit with COVID-19 issues as Giannis Antetokounmpo, Donte DiVincenzo and Wesley Matthews were all placed in health and safety protocols earlier this week. Enter the allegedly tanking Pacers and Domantas Sabonis whose over at 18.5 points (-125) would have been tantalizing even before the two-time MVP missed time. There's probably rebounding props that Sabonis also hits, but I think the scoring will be particularly easy with the Bucks' only interior presence, Bobby Portis, likely occupied with Myles Turner.
With the Nuggets theoretically healthier than they've been in some while, Jeff Green under 10.5 points (-105) sure seems likely. Will Barton (illness) and Aaron Gordon (back) both should make their return and with that comes close to 30 field-goal attempts. Maybe DraftKings is simply adjusting to Wednesday's third-highest over/under, but Green has just one double-digit scoring outing in the last four games and just three total in the entire month of December.
Harrison Barnes has been the star of past articles, but since returning from a five-game absence due to a foot injury the veteran forward is averaging just 9.8 points and an astonishing 9.8 field-goal attempts compared to 12.1 in the 19 games prior. He's also averaging just 3.3 free-throw attempts over the last four games which all points to under 13.5 points (+100) in this one being a good play.
To be clear, I'd rather just target Josh Hart getting a double-double (+225) because the odds are insanely good, but over 7.5 rebounds (-145) is far more likely. Rarely do we get to target the Thunder during these breakdowns because DraftKings gives an almost absurd knee-jerk reaction to some of the props, but with a similarly dismal opponent in the Pelicans it appears the sportsbook will be kind to us. Hart has two straight games with double-digit rebounds and averages 6.8 per game this season, but more importantly the Thunder allow just an absurd amount of boards to opposing frontcourts and to be honest, I just want a bit of action in this pool-noodle battle.
I mentioned this in the Wednesday Handicapping article so I won't go into too much detail. It's in the rebounds/assists section mainly because Trae Young scoring is just a given, but the All-Star point guard should be poised to hit a double-double (-140) just given how frequently the Magic allow assists to opposing backcourts (allow most to opposing point guards.
Rarely will you ever see me tackle a P.J. Tucker prop, but over 17.5 points + rebounds + assists (-105) is actually a relevant option given the sheer lack of available bodies for the Heat. The veteran forward has been forced to play 30-plus minutes each of the past three games despite hitting that total just 11 times in the previous 25 games and the extra work has led to some absurd averages (15.3 points, 9.0 rebounds, 6.0 assists) albeit in a small sample size. It's hard to imagine Tucker going for 23 like he did Monday which is certainly inflating his points average, but regardless, it's a solid PRA bet and if you really wanted to chase some better averages, over 6.5 rebounds (+120) is also on the table.
- Cavaliers win over Rockets (-380)
- Jonas Valanciunas double-double (-255)