Best NBA player prop bets for Friday, 12/16: Nikola Jokic back to MVP form

Nuggets center Nikola Jokic
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Adam Ronis


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Hey there, my name is Adam Ronis and I'll be contributing to the NBA betting coverage here at Pickswise. I have been in the Fantasy Sports industry for more than a decade and have been providing betting picks over at Fantasy Alarm for the last two seasons. For Adam Ronis media enquiries, please email
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Friday generally means a big slate in the NBA and money to be made on player props, and tonight is no exception. There are 10 games on the schedule, featuring Jayson Tatum, LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid, Damian Lillard, Luka Doncic, Kevin Durant and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Seven games have a line of 6 points or fewer and 4 games have a total of at least 233 points.

My season record is 13-11 (+2.45 units). Here are my picks for tonight.

Nikola Jokic Over 25.5 points (-113 on FanDuel)

Jokic has become more aggressive over the last several games. He has attempted at least 19 field goals in 4 of the last 5 games and is averaging 18.7 attempts from the field in December. Denver’s star center averaged 12.7 attempts in October and 13.9 in November. Jokic is averaging 30.3 points in the last 6, which includes scoring at least 31 points on 4 occasions. Jokic has faced the Lakers twice this season and scored 23 and 31 points in October when he wasn’t playing to the level he is currently. In the last 10 games Jokic is averaging 28.9 points, 11.4 rebounds and 9.1 assists. The Lakers allow 51.9 points per game in the paint, which ranks 24th in the NBA. The game total is 237.5 points.

Damian Lillard Over 28.5 points (-105 on DraftKings)

Lillard has been scorching hot in December. The Trail Blazers’ point guard has scored 40, 36, 38 and 37 points over the last 4 games. In the last 5 he is averaging 34.4 points, 7.4 assists and 3.4 rebounds while shooting 52.9 percent from the field, including 50.7 percent from 3-point range. He has shot 35-for-59 from beyond the arc in that span. The Mavericks are 19th in defensive efficiency and Lillard scored 29 points against them on November 12 despite going a modest 6-for-16 from the field. Dallas watched Donovan Mitchell score 34 points in its last game and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had 42 points right before that.

Kyrie Irving Over 24.5 points (-102 on FanDuel)

Irving has gone over this total in 4 of the last 6 games and scored at least 27 points in 4 of them. He went for 24 points in his last game, with 20 coming in the first half. In 7 of the last 9 games the Nets’ point guard has played at least 38 minutes and that’s always great for any prop. The game is expected to be close, with the visiting Nets favored by 1.5 points. Irving has faced Toronto 3 times this season and gone over each time. He scored 30 points in 41 minutes in a 109-105 win on October 21, scored 29 points in 28 minutes in a 112-98 road win on November 23 and scored 27 points in a 114-105 win at home on December 2. Over the last 7 days the Raptors have allowed the 6th-most points to point guards. Irving is averaging 25.3 points per game for the season.

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