There are two NBA playoff games kicking off the week on Monday night. Game 1 of the Celtics vs. 76ers series tips off first, followed by Game 2 between the Nuggets vs. Suns. Both of my preferred NBA player props are from the matchup between Boston and Philly.
I went 12-7 picking NBA player props last week, good for better than +4 units. Plays are listed in order of my confidence. But, make sure to also note the amount of units I’m wagering on each bet as another indicator. Let’s get it!
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76ers At Celtics NBA Player Props
76ers All-NBA center Joel Embiid is doubtful to play on Monday night. Philadelphia is listed as underdogs in the game, indicating oddsmakers don’t think he’ll be ready for tip at 7:30 p.m. E.T. The point total for the game is set at .
Even if he does suit up, Embiid could barely put up 15-foot jumpers without wincing during the team’s morning shootaround. Philly will need other players to compensate on offense in order to hang with the high-powered Celtics’ attack.
Forward Tobias Harris is a good bet to step up in these situations. He’s coming off a 25-point, 12-rebound performance to close out the Nets last series in Embiid’s absence. We’re getting good value for him to score eight fewer points tonight. I’m going over Harris’s points and rebound combo prop.
Tobias Harris Over 24.5 Points + Rebounds (+100 PointsBet | 1u) // 20+ Points (+160 DraftKings | .25u)
Here are Harris’s core points, rebounds, and assists props for the game against the Celtics:
- Points: Over/Under /
- Rebounds: Over/Under /
- Assists: /
Best Option Without Embiid
To say Embiid’s absence will have a massive impact on the 76ers would be quite an understatement. Not only does he protect the rim on defense, he commands the majority of the opposing team’s attention on offense.
Guards like James Harden and Tyrese Maxey depend on their MVP-level center to suck in the defense and create space for them on the perimeter. Harden actually averaged more points per game with Embiid this season than without him. Maxey had some impressive scoring outputs, but the playoffs are different. We just saw him struggle in Game 4 against the Nets, shooting 30% from the field and 20% from deep without a strong post presence to support him.
Harris, meanwhile, had immaculate shooting splits of 57/52/100 last time out. At 6-foot-8, 230 pounds, he doesn’t need help to create his own shot, he’s usually either bigger and stronger or quicker than his defender. In 14 games without Embiid this season, Harris upped his scoring from 13 points per game to 19. If you filter that down to his last four games without Embiid in the playoffs, he’s averaging 26 per game.
I’ll happily take the over on his points prop alone, set at 16.5. But, I like the juice you get for combining the points and rebounds at even money. Harris collected seven boards per game without Embiid, two more than with him. Philly also plays much faster without Embiid, meaning there should be more rebounds available.
Josh Lander is 56-33 and up 26+ units betting NBA player props over the last two months. 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. Click on the odds below to bet now.Editor’s Note
James Harden Under 22.5 Points (-110 DK | 1u)
Here are Harden’s core points, rebounds, and assists props for the game against the Celtics:
- Points: Over/Under /
- Rebounds: Over/Under /
- Assists: Over/Under /
Harden’s reputation as one of the most prolific scorers in NBA history hasn’t aged well since joining the 76ers. His ability to put up points has always been based on layups, foul shots, and three-pointers. While his 3-point shooting has been solid this postseason, he only made three-or more twice, both times with Embiid in the lineup.
His drives to the basket have ended far worse. Harden is driving to the rim more than 13 times per game in the playoffs, scoring just 25% of the time. He’s shooting 23% from the field while averaging just two free throw attempts in those situations. Compare that to James Harden from just three seasons ago and those numbers are all less than 50% of his production from 2020.
Over his last 10 games without Embiid, Harden averages under 20 points per contest. He only surpassed 22 points three times. At this stage of his career, he needs a quality pick-and-roll partner to maximize his impact when driving. With his starting center on the floor this season, Harden averaged more than six PnRs per game, scoring six points off those possessions. Without Embiid, he only attempted the play three times a night, scoring three points.
Playoff Harden Hits Differently
Harden’s inability to show up in the postseason has been a consistent headline since he became a star in the league. Unfortunately for Philadelphia, he’s continued those struggles since coming to the Eastern Conference in 2020. In 25 playoff games since then, he’s only scored more than 22 points five times. Three of those instances came as a member of the Brooklyn Nets after the team had slowly traded away its defense in order to acquire Harden, Kevin Durant, and Kyrie Irving. This Philly roster is much different and way less capable of putting up 120 points in a playoff game.
Suns At Nuggets NBA Player Props
Down 1-0, the Suns will try to solve the Nuggets’ versatile offense in Game 2. Phoenix is listed as underdogs in the game, with a point total set at . Though there are a few props I’m considering, my favorite bet in this game is over Denver’s team total at 116.5.