Best player prop bets for Monday’s NBA slate: Portland offense goes through Lillard

Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers dribbles up the court.
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Ricky Dimon

NBA · 1 year ago

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Since graduating from Davidson (The College That Stephen Curry Built), I have been writing about sports--just about any and all you can think of!--and coaching tennis in Atlanta, Ga. Beyond the four major sports, I am an avid tennis fan and cover the ATP Tour on a daily basis. If I'm not busy writing, you can generally find me on a tennis court or traveling the world wherever a sporting event takes me.

It’s Super Bowl week, but we can’t forget about the NBA—especially not with Buccaneers vs. Chiefs still six days away. And you might as well focus on the hardwood on Monday, especially, because a nice 10-game slate is on the docket. The Los Angeles Lakers will get things started at 7:30 pm against the Atlanta Hawks, while other teams in action include the Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks, Dallas Mavericks, and Denver Nuggets. Get your popcorn ready.

Let’s take a look at the four best player prop bets for Monday.

Damian Lillard Over 8.5 assists (+102)

Lillard is the undisputed leader of the Portland Trail Blazers even when backcourt sidekick CJ McCollum is on the floor. Since McCollum went down with a foot injury in mid-January, Lillard’s usage rate in Portland’s offense has become even more significant. And he has not disappointed amidst the extra pressure. In five recent games without McCollum, Lillard’s point and assist combinations are as follows: 35 and six, 39 and eight, 26 and 10, 30 and nine, and 44 and nine. The Trail Blazers face Milwaukee on Monday and it should be a spirited, high-paced affair with the Bucks ranking eighth in the NBA in pace of play (104.5 possessions per game). That will obviously put a jolt into offensive statistics for everyone involved. In the middle of the pack in terms of assists allowed, the Bucks have watched opponents assist on 70.9 percent of made baskets over their past three contests (for the season the league-high average is 70.7 percent). As usual, Lillard will likely drop plenty of dimes in this one.

Cam Reddish Under 1.5 three-pointers made (-120)

Reddish has stayed under this quota in three of Atlanta’s last four games and he hasn’t drained more than two three-pointers in any outing since Jan. 15. There is no reason why it will suddenly be bombs away for him against the Lakers, who are No. 1 in the NBA in opponents’ threes made per game (10.8) and third in opponents’ three-point shooting percentage (34.1). Nor is it too concerning that De’Andre Hunter is injured, as Danilo Gallinari is healthy now and can start for Hunter at small forward. Reddish can continue backing up Kevin Huerter at shooting guard, so any kind of uptick in minutes probably isn’t forthcoming for the former Duke standout. Whatever damage Reddish does at L.A.’s expense, it will likely come from inside the arc.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to be leading scorer (+240)

Gilgeous-Alexander is always an intriguing play for the leading-scorer prop bet simply because nobody else on the Oklahoma City Thunder scores much (Luguentz Dort is their second-highest scorer, and he averages only 12.7 ppg). SGA heads into Monday’s matchup with the Houston Rockets at 21.9 ppg. The former Kentucky star has scored at least 21 points in five consecutive contests, including 30 against the Clippers on Jan. 22. He also went for 33 points against the Bulls exactly one week earlier. With Christian Wood, Victor Oladipo, and John Wall generally sharing the load for Houston, Gilgeous-Alexander has great value at +240.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander of the Oklahoma City Thunder

Zion Williamson to score more points than Brandon Ingram (-132)

Both Williamson and Ingram are in line for productive days at the offense when the New Orleans Pelicans host the Sacramento Kings. Sacramento is just awful on defense by every metric you can imagine. Its inability to defend the paint and protect the rim could be especially crippling on Monday, and that would obviously lead to a huge night for the 2019 No. 1 overall pick. The Kings are dead last in the NBA in points in the paint allowed per game at 51.9. Williamson, who is eighth in league in paint touches, has scored at least 26 points in seven of the past 10 outings. Ingram has scored more than 24 points only three times in the past 11 games.

Pickswise is the home of free NBA picks and predictions. Make sure to also check out our NBA parlays and ‘NBA prop bets‘ tabs for more expert picks. 

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