Thursday’s action on NBA props gives us a sweet little four gamer headlined by a matchup between two early season MVP candidates in Damian Lillard and Kawhi Leonard.
We’ve got props picks and analysis for both of those superstars in this piece, followed by breakdowns of the spots tonight for Terry Rozier and Jimmy Butler.
Portland Trail Blazers Guard Damian Lillard
Over 38.5 Points + Rebounds + Assists (-114)
Fresh off a 129 – 124 loss last night, Lillard gets a plus matchup against the Los Angeles Clippers.
Albeit in a small sample size, the Clippers have not possessed the same defensive prowess as last season. Patrick Beverley, who will match-up against Lillard tonight, is currently giving up an average of 25.4 points per game to opposing Point Guards, 10th-highest in the league.
Lillard is coming into this season a different man. He is averaging a career-high 31.1 PPG, a career-high 7.3 assists, a career-high 5 rebounds, and is shooting a career-high true shooting percentage of 58% from the field, including a 40% from the three-point line… you guessed it, a career-high.
Lillard has been on a consistent scoring run to start the season scoring:
- @ Warriors – 39 Points + 2 Rebounds + 4 Assists = 45 PRA
- Vs 76ers – 33 Points + 5 Rebounds + 9 Assists = 47 PRA
- @ OKC – 23 Points + 7 Rebounds + 13 Assists = 43 PRA
- @ Spurs – 28 Points + 9 Rebounds + 7 Assists = 44 PRA
- @ Dallas – 28 Points + 3 Rebounds + 5 Assists = 36 PRA
- @ Kings – 35 Points + 5 Rebounds + 5 Assists = 45 PRA
- Vs Nuggets – 32 Points + 4 Rebounds + 8 Assists = 44 PRA
He’s hit the 39 PRA plateau in six out of seven games so far. The Clippers are allowing opposing Point Guards to make a league-high 3.8 threes per game, and Lillard is averaging 4 three-pointers made per game.
Currently, the Blazers vs Clippers have the highest Over / Under on the slate at 231.5. The next-closest total is 218.5. Oddsmakers are expecting this game to be fast-paced, and Lillard leads the Blazers in scoring, usage, and opportunities.
We get tremendous value here at (-114) betting on someone who has hit this target in six of seven games, in a fast-paced, high-scoring affair.
Los Angeles Clippers Forward Kawhi Leonard
Over 41.5 Points + Rebounds + Assists (-110)
We want to target this game tonight because of the high Over / Under, and Leonard is the best option on the Clipper’s side. He is off to a sizzling start, particularly at home.
- Home: 32 Points, 7.8 Rebounds and 3.8 assists
- Road: 24 Points, 6.5 Rebounds and 9.5 assists
Portland is horrendous in defending Forwards, ranked 24th at guarding the Small Forward, and when Leonard slides over to the Power Forward spot, he’ll get even a better matchup where the Blazers are 28th in the league defensively.
With Zach Collins out for four months with a shoulder injury, the Blazers are forced to play small at both forward positions. In Collins’ first game out, the Blazers gave up a career-high 34 points and 13 rebounds to Eric Paschall.
Leonard also has a history of roasting the Blazers, averaging over 33 PPG with the Raptors last year.
Leonard is a major part of the Clippers offense — he scores, he runs the point, he stretches the floor, and he rebounds the basketball. He is averaging 44.3 PRA over his last three games.
Miami Heat Guard Jimmy Butler
Over 30.5 Points + Rebounds + Assists (-110)
Jimmy Butler has rejoined the Heat after some personal time off to start the season. Butler is priced way down across the industry because of his new team and he has started the season slowly. However, because of two straight blowouts – one where the Heat won and one where they lost – Butler has only played 29 and 27 minutes his last two games.
He’s in an excellent spot tonight against a Phoenix Suns team that is playing decent basketball, flaunting a 5 – 2 record to start the year. Phoenix and Miami are two of the best defensive teams in the NBA this year with each team having over a 97% defensive efficiency rating to begin the year.
This is typically a spot we try and avoid, but, this is the perfect type of game Butler gets up for, a defensive, grind-it-out battle.
Sometimes it takes time for a new player to get acclimated with a new team and I attribute Butler’s slow start to just that. Even with two blow-outs and limited minutes, Butler is still giving us a good effort in limited action over his first four games:
- @ Denver – 27 PRA
- Vs Houston – 34 PRA
- @ Atlanta – 25 PRA
- Vs Atlanta – 28 PRA
Butler is right there, and the breakout game is coming. It will not be often we get an All-Star player like Jimmy Butler at such a low rate (30.5 PRA), so we need to capitalize while we can and take advantage of such value.
Charlotte Hornets Guard Terry Rozier
Over 28 Points + Rebounds + Assists (-114)
Terry Rozier revenge game!
Rozier circled this game on his calendar the day he left Boston and signed with Charlotte. It took a couple games for Rozier to find his groove, but he has been dialed in his last five games:
- Vs Indiana – 31 Points + Rebounds + Assists & 43 Minutes
- @ Warriors – 32 Points + Rebounds + Assists & 37 Minutes
- @ Kings – 33 Points + Rebounds + Assists & 35 Minutes
- @ Clippers – 22 Points + Rebounds + Assists & 34 Minutes
- @ Lakers – 29 Points + Rebounds + Assists & 32 Minutes
Something that is very key in this pattern is Rozier’s consistency and his minutes going up. He’s much more comfortable with his new team and the coaching staff is trusting him more and more as well.
Boston is a very good defensive team, but they are the weakest at guarding opposing Point Guards and they rank 25th defensively at guarding someone of Rozier’s skillset, a primary Ball-Handler who has shot an average of 16.4 shots per game.