It’s a huge Friday night in the NBA and we’re back with our favorite prop bets on the board for the primetime slate.
Last card: 3-0.
1. Ja Morant over 19.5 Points
Let’s go back to the well with the rookie here who we’ve been on to go over this total a couple times before. Morant continues to up his scoring average as the season goes along and is now up to 19 points per game overall. He’s a tenacious scorer offensively who develops seemingly every game as both a shooter and a driver; he’s gone over this total in six of his last ten games and the matchup here is right. The Grizzlies seem to be loosening their leash on Morant recently, as the 28 minute limit that he had been on to start the year has been lifted. In new expanded minutes, Morant has gone over this total seven times out of the nine games that he has played over 30 minutes. Coming off an injury and on normal rest, Morant has played 32+ minutes in back-to-back games and I expect nothing less here. The volume should be right with 30+ minutes and 15-20 field goal attempts.
In terms of matchup, Morant should be plenty motivated to steal the show here as he goes up against fellow top-10 rookie point guard Darius Garland. Everyone knows the type of competitor Morant is and I expect him to be full-throttle and trying to make a statement tonight. Now add in that this Cleveland backcourt is fresh off allowing a combined 90 points to Charlotte (35 for Rozier, yuck) and Toronto’s backcourts in their last two games, and is playing the second-worst defense of anyone in the league. The Grizzlies are nothing special offensively, but they can feast on bad teams, especially by getting out in transition where they rank fifth in the league in fastbreak points. They play at the 4th-fastest pace in the league, led by Morant who is a menace attacking the rim in transition. The Cavs, meanwhile, are awful defensively in transition, allowing the 3rd-most fastbreak points of anyone in the league. The Grizzlies’ dominance in transition should spell a few easy buckets to lighten up this prop total a little bit, and Ja should dominate this matchup and let Garland know about it. 20+ points and a “big game” for the rookie feels in the cards.
2. Nikola Jokic over 37.5 Points + Rebs + Asts
I absolutely love Jokic to go over this total here as he’s been a completely different player the past couple of weeks and is starting to recover from his early season blues; I honestly believe he’s back to being the superstar he was last season which makes this prop total feel super low. He’s averaging 42.5 counting stats per game during this 4-game home-stand for the Nuggets and has obliterated this total a few times recently. He’s a triple-double threat tonight as the Nuggets look to continue playing great and protect home court.
The matchup here is super-ripe for Jokic, as the Timberwolves come to town playing some horrendous defense recently. They have the 3rd-worst defense in the association over the last 10 games, and are allowing over 120 points per possession in the month of December. There should be very little resistance here for the Nuggets to get going offensively, which hopefully means plenty of counting stats for Jokic as their engine. The T-Wolves are also in the bottom ten in the league in rebounding and defensive rebounding in their last ten games, opening up a little edge for Jokic to pad his numbers on the glass. Look for Jokic to be aggressive here tonight and, if he gets his full 35 minutes, fly over this total with a dominant performance at home on Friday night.
3. Buddy Hield over 19.5 Points
Even with a tough matchup here and some understandable fear in the market about the way that DeAaron Fox’s return affects Hield’s role, I think the value on this line is too good to pass up tonight. Hield is averaging almost 22 a game this season and had gone over this total in ten straight games prior to going under it in his last two. This line of course seems to have baked in a serious regression due to Fox coming back; I just don’t think that Hield all the sudden becomes a <20 ppg game guy, no matter who he’s playing next to. The Kings are super well-rested here as they haven’t played since Tuesday, so Hield should be ready for his 35 minutes tonight giving us plenty of volume… in the one game they played this season off a full three days rest, Hield played 37 minutes. With big volume on the way and an over-reaction of a line move, Hield should get his 20 tonight and go over this total with cushion.