Today’s Best NBA Player Props Bet Picks & Predictions, Monday 5/13: Cavs keep Brown in check

Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown (7) blocks a shot by Miami Heat guard Max Strus (31) in the fourth quarter during game three of the 2022 eastern conference finals at TD Garden.
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Ahaan Rungta


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NBA & MLB writer for Pickswise, also specializing in NFL betting and fantasy football. Rungta also works in analytics & betting for PlayerProfiler. For Ahaan Rungta media enquiries, please email
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We are into the meat of the second round of the NBA playoffs. This season I am 59-40 for a +13.8% ROI on the season with player props in this article series. These are my favorite NBA player prop bets for the 2-game playoff slate of Monday, May 13. You can also find out our NBA picks for Celtics vs Cavaliers and Thunder vs Mavericks.

Darius Garland, CLE, 1Q Over 3.5 points (+100)

Line available at FanDuel Sportsbook at time of publishing. 1u.

This prop is the ultimate definition of a buy low. Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Darius Garland has missed this line in each of his first 3 games but a virtual must-win home game on Monday poses a good spot to bounce back.

Garland has recorded at least 8 minutes of playing time in the first quarter in each of the first 3 games of the series and 8 of his last 9 playoff games. Overall, since the return of Evan Mobley to the lineup in late March, when he, Garland and Donovan Mitchell all start together Garland still averages 3.68 points per 8 minutes. The Boston Celtics are also a solid matchup for him, as they continue to be more concerned with the elite scoring prowess of Mitchell and will play a weak drop coverage defense on the pick-and-roll against Garland, who can pull up in the midrange and beyond the arc to rack up points.

Garland is just 1-for-5 so far in the first quarter from deep, but all five of his attempts have been either open or wide open, per NBA Stats. It is smart to bet on positive regression at this price for a guy whose shooting splits were better at home this season. In this matchup I am projecting 4.5 points in the first for Garland, so this line is playable up to a -125 price.

Read our full Boston Celtics vs Cleveland Cavaliers predictions

Jaylen Brown, BOS, Under 24.5 points (-122)

Line available at DraftKings Sportsbook at time of publishing. 1u.

Jaylen Brown has saved the 2024 playoffs to play some of the best basketball of his life; he has been the Celtics’ best player on their run so far. However, Game 4 against an adjusting Cavaliers defense is a great time to fade an inflated line.

He has played this entire series without Kristaps Porzinigis, and in Game 1 he took advantage with an ultra-efficient 12-for-18 from the field in a 32-point performance at home. In Game 2, after Cleveland head coach J.B. Bickerstaff mentioned needing to adjust against Boston’s top shooters, Brown fell back down to Earth — scoring 19 points in 3 quarters — and did not play the fourth quarter in a blowout. In Game 3 we got our first “normal” game script of the series and Brown played 41 minutes. Although he got to 28 points, he needed absurd efficiency (13-for-17 from the field and 2-for-3 from three) to get there. The adjustment from the Cavaliers is clear; they won’t let Brown be a spot-up shooter and will instead force him into the paint to finish over Evan Mobley, which is where their defensive strength lies. Some regression in shooting on the road should be expected for Brown, who saw a significant dip shooting splits on the road this season.

On the season Brown averages 26.8 points per 36 minutes in games without Porzingis and that included several spikes against porous paint defenses and several games where other main rotation players were out for Boston. Tonight I project Brown for 22.5 points, making this prop playable up to a -125 price.

We also have a Celtics vs Cavaliers Same Game Parlay as we look to follow last night’s +400 winner!

Derrick Jones Jr., DAL, Over 8.5 points (-112)

Line available at DraftKings Sportsbook at time of publishing. Recommended 1u wager.

In this article series I have won money all season long buying in on the forgotten offensive bags of role players and I am buying in once again on a role player in a great matchup coming off some stinkers. One of the few ways the Dallas Mavericks have to contain the explosive offense of the #1-seed Thunder is with the defensive versatility of Derrick Jones Jr.

It is why he received 36 minutes in his first game of the series where he wasn’t in dire fire trouble in the first half, despite having one of the worst offensive games of his career. In the last two games, Jones went 3-for-12 and 1-for-10 from the field, respectively, and in that span, 7 of his 8 three-point attempts were open or wide open, per NBA Stats. This insane volume is no coincidence. While Luguentz Dort is occupied with the task of containing Luka Doncic, Oklahoma City’s defense can be exposed in the form of spotup shooting and cuts to the rim, where they were a below-average defense all season long. This is how Jones does his scoring and he will continue to have those clean looks in Game 4.

Once again, we are banking on regression to the mean for a player whose shooting splits are much better when playing at home. Since Dallas reconstructed their lineup following the Trade Deadline to include Jones along with their new acquisitions, Jones averages 9.4 points per 30 minutes — if he can keep himself out of early foul trouble, he will have plenty of opportunities to clear this line with ease. In this spot, we project 10.75 points for Jones — this prop is playable at a 9.5 line for a pick ’em price, as well.

Read our full Oklahoma City Thunder vs Dallas Mavericks predictions

Max Strus, CLE, Over 2.5 threes made (+196)

Line available at FanDuel Sportsbook at time of publishing. 0.75u.

This number is simply a mis-price. The Celtics’ defense has not adjusted much all season due to their overall success, and in the playoffs they have not proven that they will adjust. They were among league leaders in wide open three-pointers allowed and continue to let role players have open threes even if they get hot from downtown. That is why Max Strus has 18 three-point attempts in the first 3 games of this series, 14 of which have been classified as open or wide open (per NBA Stats). Most notably he is shooting 1-for-9 on open threes, a category where he posted a 36.3% clip in the regular season. Overall Strus’ shooting sees an improvement on his home floor, and despite 3 vastly different game scripts he has seen at least 35 minutes in each game — mainly due to the lack of defensive depth behind him on Cleveland’s roster.

In this spot I am projecting 6.50 attempts and 2.25 makes, which means the implied probability of 34% on this bet — that I have closer to 40% — is a steal and playable up to a +150 price. Strus is due for a blowup game and it is worth considering a small sprinkle of the ladder play (4+ threes) at the listed +430 price.

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