This article is part of our NBA Picks series.
I'm sticking with my usual theme of attacking player props based on teammate injuries. Whether you should parlay them is a different story, but 5-to-1 doesn't feel bad on the trio. Here's the breakdown on this one:
- Scottie Barnes is out for Toronto. With him off the court, Anunoby takes 20.7 shots per 36 minutes (an uptick of 4.4 FGA).
- D'Angelo Russell is out for Minnesota. With him off the court, Edwards takes 23.8 shots per 36 minutes (an uptick of 4.3 FGA).
- Lauri Markkanen, Kevin Love and Isaac Okoro are out for Cleveland. With that trio off the court, Sexton is taking 21.1 shots per 36 minutes (an uptick of 4.4 FGA).
Nick Whalen: James Harden OVER 20.5 points (-106) vs. Atlanta Hawks – FanDuel Sportsbook, 2:00pm CT
This is about as low as you'll see a Harden points prop, which mostly speaks to how he's looked thus far while admittedly still playing his way back into game shape. Harden has gone over this number just once in seven games, due in large part to a major regression in his free throw rate, which sits at .378 – down considerably from his career average of .552. While Harden may never return to getting the calls he became accustomed to, he's far too talented of an offensive player to be kept in check for much longer – especially with Kyrie Irving out of action. The Hawks haven't been a strong overall defense thus far, and on an individual basis I don't love the options they'll throw at Harden. He may need a few more weeks until he truly starts to look like his former-MVP self, but this is a good spot for Harden to go over 20 points for the second time this season.
I'm loving a lot of the extra prop bets included in sportsbooks this year. You can find this one by going to "Player Assists" and searching the respective categories. I opted to make this one a parlay only because the individual assist o/u odds weren't fantastic. Morris really is the key piece out of this bet, and I think would make a great parlay filler in other bets if you wanted to go that route given the Grizzlies rank dead last in terms of assists allowed to point guards per game (12.0), but both of these guys exceeded their assist totals in the matchup Monday.
Jeff Edgerton: Magic spread (+6.5) vs. Celtics – FanDuel, 12:13 PM CT
Marcus Smart wants Brown and Tatum to pass the ball. If they listened, maybe I'd withdraw the bet. Either way, the youth-centric Magic are playing inspired ball and could steal one against the Celtics.