It’s a huge Friday night in the NBA and we’re back with our favorite prop bets for Friday’s NBA primetime slate.
Last week: 2-1
James Harden under 37.5 Points
I expect shit to be relatively personal between the Clippers and Rockets in a primetime matchup and that just doesn’t feel conducive to Harden going for 38 in this spot. Yes, Harden did hang 47 on these Clips a couple weeks ago, but that was at home, without Paul George in the lineup, and a game in which he got a nice whistle (17 free throw attempts).
None of those variables are in his favor tonight, and there’s an extra chip on the Clippers’ shoulders defensively here after Russ Westbrook talked shit about PatBev after their last game. That was a mistake; not only do you not want to add any fuel to Beverley’s fire but it’s also incorrect… per NBA.com’s matchup data, Harden was actually 0/6 from the field when guarded by Beverley in that matchup a couple weeks ago. I expect Beverley to absolutely blanket Harden here tonight and “win the matchup.”
Harden has been unbelievable this season, but this is still a comically high number, especially on the road where he’s less likely to be bailed out by the free-throw line. In a game that I generally like to go under, I see Harden stuck around 30 points here tonight. Even when Beverley is off him, PG and Kawhi should both give him a super hard time. The Nuggets also put some great stuff on film in their clinical defensive performance on Wednesday night that Doc Rivers should certainly incorporate.
This is also a great opportunity to test out that Harden strip-club theory. I’m sure LA, his hometown, has plenty of fun to provide on a Thursday night. Let’s see if he’s not a little groggy walking into Staples Center here.
Bradley Beal over 29.5 Points
Beal continues to have an absolutely fantastic year for a Wizards team that quietly has the 2nd best offense in the league thus far. The ‘Zards are at home again tonight and will play host to a Hornets team that is 23rd in the league in the defense. Washington should be able to get absolutely everything they want in this matchup offensively and that starts and ends with Beal, who has been scorching hot as of late. He’s gone over this total in four straight games and seven of his last nine, despite not even shooting the 3-ball that well this season.
Beal should get off 25 or so attempts here and, against a bad Charlotte defense, that should get him over this total easily. The matchup makes things even juicier here, as Charlotte has added Devonte Graham to their starting lineup to create a two-point look with Graham and Terry Rozier. They have a nice little scoring pop when playing together, but both are bad, inexperienced defenders who Beal should take to school all night long.
The Wizards have scored over 120 points in four straight games and they’ll keep it coming tonight at home against a worse defense than any of those teams. Beal continues his torrid start to the season here and goes for 35 easily.
Clint Capela over 14.5 Boards
This number just feels light to me here even though it does make sense to fade Capela’s boards here and look for a regression. The dude has 20+ rebounds in five straight games, and has gone over this number in each of his last six.
Of course, a simple look at his game log will tell you that regression is ripe as he hadn’t gone over that number once in the seven games before the streak started. Maybe, but I’m willing to be a game late here as Capela’s rebounding outburst has coincided with a drastically increased role on the floor. His six-high rebounding totals in the last six games have also been his six-highest minute totals of the season. He’s been playing like a 35 MPG game guy (and actually getting those minutes) rather than a 25 MPG guy, and that increased time on the court just naturally means more rebounds the way that the Rockets play.
I expect the streak to continue here in LAC with a lot of 3-point misses and little competition for boards. Capela goes for close to 20 boards again tonight.