Best NBA Player Props for Wednesday's Slate (3/31): Dame Time (to Pass the Ball)

Feb 17, 2021; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (0) calls a play against New Orleans Pelicans during the first half at the Smoothie King Center
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More commonly known as @PropBetGuy on Twitter, Doug Carter has been crunching the numbers on player props for years. He's also a staunch defender of future Hall of Famer, Eli Manning.

March ends tonight, and with it comes a great slate of NBA basketball. Twenty teams are in action with almost all games involving a team (or teams) making their playoff push. I’m here to clue you in on the player prop side, but for game sides and totals, be sure to check out all of our analysts’ picks.

With the typically large Wednesday docket of games, there are many player props that offer value tonight. I’ve isolated my favorite two bets, honing in on one favorable and one unfavorable matchup.

Damian Lillard over 7.5 assists (-113)

Line available at publishing. Playable to -130.

Lillard is having another one of those seasons that reinforces the fact that he is very, very good at the game of basketball. Again pushing 30 points per game, he’s also averaging 7.8 assists, just shy of the career-high of eight per game from last season. He’s vaulted himself into the MVP conversation, as he’s kept the Blazers very much in the thick of the Western Conference playoff race. Focusing on his facilitating, he’s dished out at least eight dimes in 23 of 44 games.

We know that any Blazers game can turn into the latest episode of Dame Time when Lillard takes over from a scoring perspective. So, in focusing on an over prop on his assists, it’s best to look to isolate the games where he won’t feel the need to score at a breakneck pace.

One factor is playing away from home — the point guard is averaging 8.6 assists per game on the road (compared to 7.0 at home). He’s hit this number in 13 of 21 away games. And another contributing factor is the quality of opponent. Versus the worst 12 teams in the NBA, based on winning percentage, Lillard averages 8.2 assists per game (median of 9), hitting this prop in 14 of 22. And lastly, when combining the two and looking at games where Dame is on the road versus poor teams, his average jumps to 9.6 assists, exceeding 7.5 in eight of ten opportunities.

Tonight’s opponent, Detroit, is currently tied for the second-worst record in the NBA. It’s a prime spot for Lillard to continue to get his teammates involved and rack up the assists. I have the Weber State product projected with nine dimes tonight.

Be sure to check out our full game preview for Portland Trail Blazers vs. Detroit Pistons.

Malik Beasley under 18.5 points (-113)

Line available at publishing. Playable to -130.

Beasley returned from his twelve-game suspension last week to underwhelming results. He scored only 22 combined points in two games, shooting 24 percent. Admittedly, two games are not enough to buck the trend of his 20 points-per-game average this season. However, the dynamic of the Wolves lineup did shift in his absence. Rookies Anthony Edwards and Jaden McDaniels have elevated their play (and point totals) within the starting lineup, while reserve guards Jaylen Nowell and Jordan McLaughlin have also stepped up.

As a volume jump shooter who relies heavily on the three-pointer (52 percent of his points come from behind the arc), Beasley should struggle in tonight’s matchup versus the Knicks. New York has been playing some fantastic defensive basketball this season, specifically versus shooters. The Knicks allow the second-lowest effective field goal percentage and the lowest three-point percentage. Versus the top 10 teams in effective field goal percentage defense, Beasley’s average sinks to 17 points per game. He’s stayed under this total in seven of 11 such games.

In his first matchup with the Knicks this season, he scored a season-low six points (in 38 minutes) and struggled with the Knicks’ physicality. Coupling New York’s defense and his re-acclimation into the lineup, I project another underwhelming night for the sharpshooter.

Be sure to check out our full game preview for New York Knicks vs. Minnesota Timberwolves.

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