Best player prop bets for Saturday's NBA slate: Trae Young to feel the Portland cold

Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young fighting through contact
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Germantas Kneita


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Like most Lithuanians, I started watching basketball from the age of six. I'm based out in London and played basketball at the University of Lincoln here in the UK. I had always had an interest in the NBA but things really took off in the summer of 2010. That year Linas Kleiza led Lithuania to 3rd place at the World Championships and signed with the Toronto Raptors to replace the departing Chris Bosh. I've been a Raptors fan since that day and I've not missed a game since. I've been handicapping games for more than a decade, specializing in player props. For Germantas Kneita media enquiries, please email

The NBA brings more action to you on Saturday to compliment tonight’s NFL playoffs divisional-round action. With six games to choose from, including James Harden’s potential Brooklyn Nets debut, there is plenty to get excited about tonight. Here are four of the best player props for you to consider tonight. Make sure you also check out our picks on the side and total for every game as well.

Nikola Vucevic over 2.5 made threes (+144)

With the injury bug that has hit the Orlando Magic guards, it has fallen on Nikola Vucevic to pick up the slack, especially on the scoring side. He is the most established shooter on this Magic squad from deep, shooting 41 percent on the season, making an average of 2.4 threes per game. This over has a real chance to hit as result, as Vucevic attempts 5.8 shots per game and the Nets are a favorable matchup for him to have a huge scoring night.

Brooklyn is 22nd in the league in opponent points per game but more importantly, they have DeAndre Jordon on the inside which is likely to encourage Vucevic to step out of the paint and get his points elsewhere. The last established rim defender Vucevic faced off against was Brook Lopez of the Milwaukee Bucks, and Vucevic ended up attempting 10 three-point attempts in that game. I am expecting him to approach tonight’s matchup in a similar way.

Be sure to check out our full game preview for Orlando Magic vs. Brooklyn Nets.

Chris Boucher over 16.5 points (+100)

Chris Boucher aka ‘Slimm Duck’ has been sensational lately. He looks like an early contender for the most improved player of the season, having increased his scoring from 6.6 points per game last season to 15.3 this year. He is establishing himself as a great stretch four knocking down 48 percent of his attempts from deep. His ability to knock down his free throws and crash the offensive glass has allowed him to punish his opponents in a variety of ways and maintain a great level of efficiency.

In every game that Boucher has played 25+ minutes this season he has been able to score at least 20 points. He played 30 minutes against the Hornets the last time out and will likely see the same amount of action tonight, as his shooting could be the key to unlocking the zone defense Charlotte used the last time out. Nick Nurse seems to have an increased level of trust in his ability and he should see plenty of action on the floor tonight.

Be sure to check out our full game preview for Charlotte Hornets vs. Toronto Raptors.

Jonas Valanciunas over 13.5 points (-122)

Jonas Valanciunas is coming into this game after a monster 24-point and 16-rebound performance against one of the best big men in the game, Karl-Anthony Towns. He was all set to face another tonight, but Joel Embiid has been ruled out of the game, and instead, Dwight Howard will take his place. Whilst the 35-year-old Howard is still an above-average defender, he is not the rim defending force that he once was, averaging just 0.6 blocks on the season. I expect Valanciunas to have his way with him in this one as a result.

Howard offers little offensively so Valanciunas will be able to focus on his scoring and helping Memphis fill the void left by the injured Ja Morant. He has scored 14 or more points in seven of the 11 games he has played this season and is averaging 18 points in the last seven days. Coming off his season-high in points, Valanciunas should feel confident he can replicate the same performance here.

Be sure to check out our full game preview for Philadelphia 76ers vs. Memphis Grizzlies.

Trae Young under 27.5 points (-110)

Trae Young has been cold and not in a good way. His scoring this season is down nearly seven points per game compared to last year and he is only averaging 13 points per game in his last four outings. Tonight’s game will be his second on a back-to-back after the Utah Jazz demonstrated a masterclass in how to shut Young down, holding him to just four points and one made field goal attempt. I expect Portland would have been taking notes.

Young has scored 28 or more points just once in his last seven outings and has been criticized by teammate John Collins about the way he runs the offense, which doesn’t seem to have helped his confidence. Portland has a couple of killers at the guard positions, I don’t expect them to open the door for Young to bounce back here.

Be sure to check out our full game preview for Atlanta Hawks vs. Portland Trail Blazers.

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