Best NBA Player Props for Wednesday's Slate (4/21): Riding the Wave with MPJ
Look, I know I’m very excitable on Wednesdays when I’m talking about NBA schedule, but tonight’s slate really is tremendous. Nine of tonight’s 12 games have point spreads of five or less (as of writing), and game totals range from 210 to 239. No matter what your preference, there is a game for you tonight. So, before you place any full-game bets, be sure to check out all of our analysts’ picks.
For me, tonight poses a fantastic opportunity to build on what’s been a great April (32-15 +15.8 units). At this point in the season, as teams are looking to lock in for the playoff push, I put more weight on performance as of late. My two favorite plays focus on just that — players who are looking to continue on their recent success.
Michael Porter Jr. over 20.5 points (-113)
Line available at publishing.
In his second healthy season in the league, Porter Jr. is starting to look like the player people have expected him to be since his high school days. The Nuggets forward has emerged as the team’s third-leading scorer, with 17.7 points per game. Over the last 13 games, he’s ramped up his production, averaging 21.9, and eclipsing this total nine times.
With point guard Jamal Murray lost for the season with a torn ACL, Porter Jr. will be relied on even more. MPJ has averaged an even 21 points per 34 minutes this season without Murray on the court. And, in nine full games without the star point guard, Porter Jr. has eclipsed 20 points seven times.
As I’ve illustrated several times this season, MPJ’s matchup tonight, the Trail Blazers, struggle on the defensive end. Portland’s team defensive rating is second-worst in the NBA, and they allow the sixth-most points (114.6) and the fifth-highest effective field goal percentage (55,2%). Specifically, Portland is a bottom ten defense versus both transition baskets and spot-up shooting. These are the two play types in which Porter Jr. garners most of his points.
Riding the wave has been the theme at this point in the season, and that’s what I’m looking to do here. We’re essentially getting MPJ at slightly below his recent scoring average in a very plus matchup. I’ll take the bait, as I have the Missouri alum projected at 24 points tonight.
Be sure to check out our full game preview for Denver Nuggets vs. Portland Trail Blazers.
Russell Westbrook over 12.5 rebounds (-108)
Line available at publishing.
Gobert, Capela, Sabonis, Embiid — these are the usual suspects on my over rebounding props. Enter Russell Westbrook, whom you might note is about eight inches shorter than those previously mentioned. Despite the vertical limitations, Westbrook is staking his claim as one of the best rebounders in the NBA, yet again. The point guard is averaging 10.9 boards on the season, good for ninth in the NBA. However, over the past 19 games, Westbrook’s average has shot up to 13.6, securing at least 13 rebounds 15 times (79%). In that span, his median is 14 and he is third in the league in rebounding.
With the Warriors coming into town, we are treated to a matchup of the top two paced teams in the NBA. With more possessions come more rebounding opportunities, and Golden State allows their opponents the second-most rebounds per game. In their first matchup, not even two weeks ago, Westbrook grabbed 14 boards, despite guarding Steph Curry for almost 25% of his time on the floor. With Rui Hachimura out with an injury, and Raul Neto likely starting again in his place, Westbrook might be in line for even more non-Curry defensive time, allowing him free reign to crash the boards.
It’s anything but conventional to play a rebounding line this high for a point guard. But Westbrook has proved, year after year, that his play style is wildly unique. I have the UCLA product projected with another 14 rebound game tonight.
Be sure to check out our full game preview for Golden State Warriors vs. Washington Wizards.
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