- Christmas Day brings us a full slate of NBA player props, and I’ll tell you how to play Luka Doncic’s Over/Under of 49.5 points + rebounds + assist (PRA)
- Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks travel to Los Angeles to take on the Lakers — tip-off at 8:00 PM ET
- The Mavericks are six-point underdogs in a game with a 227.5-point total
The yearly tradition continues, with the Association gifting us five premier matchups, and I’m excited to bring you some Christmas Day NBA props for the occasion. The Mavericks and Lakers coming off losses, and both will look to right the ship in game two.
Doncic is one of the premier stat sheet stuffers in the NBA, but in this one, I’m seeing some value in his under.
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NBA Christmas Day Props
Mavericks Guard Luka Doncic
Under 49.5 PRA (-120 @ FanDuel)
Note: This is an alt-line available at FD and is my preference, but I would play this down to 47.5
Doncic averaged 28.8 points, 9.4 rebounds, and 8.8 assists last season, for a PRA average of 47. In sixty total regular-season games, he split this number exactly, going over and under 30 times each. Versus the Lakers, however, Doncic stayed under this number in three of four games.
The Lakers are one in seven teams in the NBA last season who were in the top half of opponents effective field goal defense, and in the bottom half of possessions per game. Essentially, their games are played at a slower pace with great defense. In eleven games versus those seven slow-paced, defensive teams, Doncic stayed under this total eight times, only averaging 44 combined points rebounds and assists.
Going back a little further, Doncic has averaged 36.8 PRA against the Lakers in his career.
With the Lakers retaining their core (and adding defensive stalwart Marc Gasol in free agency), I believe they’ll continue to play to a similar style this season. And at the end of the day, it is increasingly harder to hit the over on such a high number with less opportunity and tougher defense.
The Lakers, coming off their championship run and a record short offseason, will look to slow the pace. That was their strategy versus Dallas last season, where they held the Mavericks under their season pace totals by an average of 4 possessions. It was successful for Los Angeles, winning three of four matchups.
Doncic is without his wingman Kristaps Porzingis to start the season. This, coupled with a few other defensive-minded rotation pieces, has forced him to compensate a bit offensively.
Through the three pre-season and one regular-season game, Doncic is shooting only 40% from the field and 24% from three-point range. Additionally, he’s averaging an assist every 5.4 game minutes, well below his rate of 3.8 from last season.
Doncic is a stud, and he is sure to put together a season worthy of MVP consideration. But given the tough matchup and all of the extraneous factors of the quick turnaround, I see a lighter game for Luka in this one.