Best NBA Player Props for the Saturday Slate (5/8): Durant to Dismantle Denver?
Happy Saturday, NBA bettors. The second to last weekend in the regular season is here, and with it comes a lot of posturing by teams for their final playoff pushes. Motivation is a key question for players and teams alike. With a lot of variables to account for, check out all of our analysts’ picks and analysis if you’re looking to bet sides or totals tonight.
Tonight, I’m focusing in on two players, still with plenty to prove. One superstar with a perpetual chip on his shoulder, and one role player looking to prove he belongs. With that, here are my two favorite plays of the night.
Kevin Durant over 28.5 points (-118)
Line available at publishing.
As the regular season winds down, the Nets forward is reminding the league that he still is, in fact, Kevin Durant. The superstar has only played in 30 games this season, but when healthy, he still shows his scoring prowess. In the 24 games he’s played at least 28 minutes, Durant is averaging 30.5 points, and has eclipsed this line 63% of the time. In the last four games, he’s averaging 25 shots from the field, asserting his authority as the co-leader of the current Nets offense, alongside Kyrie Irving.
The matchup with the Nuggets should suit the former MVP as well. This season, Denver has allowed the fourth most points per game to opposing forwards (including a 34 point performance from Durant earlier this season). Their frontcourt defense has been somewhat boosted by the midseason addition of Aaron Gordon. However, Durant did drop 42 points earlier this season versus the Magic, with Gordon as his primary defender.
All in all, this line reads too low for eleven time All Star, in what should be a closely contested game. I have Durant’s points projected into the 30s tonight.
Khem Birch over 23.5 points + rebounds + assists (-105)
Line available at publishing.
The newly acquired Raptors center has played some good basketball for his new team. In the absence of Chris Boucher, Birch has put together an eight game stretch where he’s averaged 24.3 PRA. And still without Boucher, the injury plagued Raptors will also be sans Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet, and OG Anunoby tonight. Birch’s usage and production should increase, as the Raptors will lean on him, Pascal Siakam and Gary Trent for production.
The Grizzlies come into town tonight (well, the Raptors temporary town of Tampa). This season, the Grizzlies have allowed the eight highest PRA to opponents. And over the last fifteen games, the Grizzlies are giving up the sixth most rebounds, and the sixth highest frequency of points in the paint to their opponents. Birch should be able to capitalize across the board versus the high-octane Grizzlies.
After toying as a backup and fringe rotation player, the fifth year veteran is finally getting his chance to play and produce. Capitalizing on his chances thus far, I expect that to continue tonight. I have Birch’s PRA projected in the high 20s tonight.Last updated: Sat 8th May 2021