Josh’s Best NBA Player Prop Bets For Monday Night: Will James Harden Record 8 Assists?
NBA action rolls on with eight games on Monday night. The Nuggets, Pistons, Celtics, Kings, and Rockets are all playing for the second night in a row, so keep an eye on late-afternoon injury reports. We had a clean 2-0 sweep in last week’s NBA player prop bets article, so let’s keep it going. I’ve got three-player prop bets for tonight, including a look at James Harden’s assists in the Clippers vs. Spurs game. For my full list of plays, make sure to check out the Coast 2 Coast episode at the bottom of the page!
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James Harden under 7.5 assists
At first glance, assists doesn’t seem like a lot for the NBA’s reigning assists leader. However, Harden’s situation in Los Angeles is not like those he faced in Philadelphia, Brooklyn, or Houston. The Clippers simply don’t play the style of ball on offense that creates assist opportunities.
L.A. averages the fewest passes per game in the league, leading to the majority of their buckets coming off unassisted makes. Ty Lue’s squad posts the fourth-fewest assist points created, meaning they aren’t even creating potential assists. No team executes in isolation as often as the Clipps do, running their offense through one guy on 11.4% of their possessions. As a result, Harden has averaged fewer than 10 potential assists per game since joining the team.
It would be naive not to mention that Russell Westbrook recently volunteered to come off the bench, which could cause Harden’s assist numbers to increase. In the one game with Russ out of the starting lineup, Harden put up seven dimes against the Rockets, his highest total this season. His potential assists were still incredibly low at just 11 on the night.
It’s difficult to see Harden’s potential assists increasing to a number that gets him consistently over seven assists. I’ll keep taking the under here until the Clippers’ offense shows it can create more assist opportunities for its playmakers.
Clippers vs. Spurs Player Props
Giannis Antetokounmpo Over Assists
After 12 games together, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard appear to be figuring things out on offense. The Bucks’ spacing was clunky and disorganized through the first nine games despite posting a top-ten offensive rating. Such is the power of having two of the top 15 offensive players in the game on one team; you don’t need to be perfect to have success.
Over the last three games, Milwaukee’s offense is starting to click. A major reason for that is Antetokounmpo’s resurgence as a playmaker rather than as the roll man in a heavy pick-and-roll gameplan. Through the first three-quarters of the season, Giannis played the part of roll man on nearly 14% of the Bucks’ possessions. As a result, he only saw 8.2 potential assists per game and rarely found himself in space with the ball in his hands.
In his last three outings, the Greek Freak has averaged 14.2 potential assists per game. He’s been the roll man just 7% of the time, opening up his options to pass more once he has the ball. While he only managed two assists against a stingy Bulls defense, he put up nine in just 28 minutes against the Hornets and seven in the Mavericks’ last game.
Washington will afford him even more chances than normal to find open teammates. In three matchups with the Wizards last season, Giannis averaged 10 dimes per game on 17 potential assists. He also put up 23 points in the paint per game, about half as many as most teams average. Washington’s inability to stop Giannis down low with Kyle Kuzma or Deni Avdija means they have no choice but to double and triple-team him. When that happens, there are usually at least two players standing all alone for a wide-open shot.
The Wizards have only gotten worse on defense this year. I would consider a small ladder play with Antetokounmpo’s assists up to seven or more.
NBA Coast 2 Coast Podcast
Check out the NBA Coast 2 Coast podcast each and every weekday with co-host Nate Weitzer and give him a follow on Twitter, @jlboogy.
Same Game Parlay: Mitchell Robinson 8+ Rebounds / Rudy Gobert 10+ Rebounds
As two of the better rebounders and shot blockers in the league, it’s always a fun battle when Rudy Gobert and Mitchell Robinson square off. The key to this wager is that they both need to be on the floor to guard each other. Robinson has averaged nine boards in 31 minutes per game against Gobert’s teams over the last four matchups. Gobert has averaged nearly 12 in 34 minutes a contest.
Both of these big men limit their direct opponents to the fewest rebounds per game. The Knicks are number one at limiting opposing centers’ rebounds, the Timberwolves are second.
There should also be a decent amount of rebound chances for both of these teams. New York elicits the fourth-most rebound chances, snatching up more of them than any other team. Despite playing at the slowest pace in the league, the Knicks still take the fourth-most shots. That’s in part because they get so many second chances off of offensive rebounds. The other reason is that they miss so many shots, posting the fourth-lowest true shooting percentage.
Expect Rudy to limit the amount of rebounds and shots available to the Knicks in this one. He’s leading the league with more than 22 rebound chances per game. At a 57% individual rebound rate, that should push Gobert past the 10 boards we need from him.
Best of luck with your NBA player prop bets.
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