The path to the NBA Finals continues Wednesday with two more national TV games on ESPN. The Kevin Durant Bowl happens with no KD as the New York rivals – Nets and Knicks – play at MSG. Then, everyone gets to see if the Lakers can sink further against the Jazz. Each week throughout the season, TheLines will look at some matchups for the televised slates and try to figure if there are any ESPN NBA player prop bets worth a look. You can also search ESPN NBA player props using our tool below.
Click on the odds anywhere in this post to bet now. If some prop markets are not yet open for those players, the player tiles will show futures markets. Check back later if this is the case.
ESPN NBA player props tool: Find the best odds
Brooklyn Nets at New York Knicks
The Nets just played a superstar-less game against the Kings and were surprisingly able to break their incredible 11-game losing skid with a dominating victory. Even though this is a road game, Kyrie Irving should be unavailable for the in-state matchup, so we can expect the same sort of lineup from Brooklyn.
One thing to note coming out of that Kings game is the team played at a very slow pace. We can’t know for sure after one game if that’s going to be a pattern, but looking at the lineup, it does look rather lacking in speed.
Against the bottom-of-the-table paced Knicks, a slow game will likely be on the menu.
As for the Knicks, the key thing to note is they will likely miss RJ Barrett for another game. He sat out Monday’s loss to OKC, and there doesn’t appear to be much reason to rush him back from his ankle injury. He can just rest through the All-Star break and hopefully come out fully healthy on the other side.
Seth Curry Props
Obviously, the headliner in the big James Harden trade on the Nets side was Ben Simmons, but he hasn’t joined the team yet for game action. Instead, throw-in Seth Curry took a somewhat surprising leading role in his debut. He had a monster usage rate over 31% and poured in 23 on an efficient 10-of-18.
It seems unlikely the market will expect another huge game, but if it does, grabbing some unders should be profitable. We should be skeptical he will repeat that level of usage in what looks like a pretty egalitarian offense where any hot hand could lead the team in shots.
Even if he does, the majority of players have a trade-off between usage and efficiency via an inverse relationship. More usage usually means less efficiency. Curry had a more efficient scoring game than his averages in Philly, where he had a much smaller role.
Throw in a glacial Knicks team that’s not terrible on defense and we can hope the market over-reacts to the debut and posts too high a number.
Julius Randle and Evan Fournier Props
With Barrett and his shot-heavy ways on the pine, Julius Randle has gone back to the usage monster he was most of last season. He has led the team by a large margin in shots and free throw attempts the past few games.
He should chuck away once again, but the market will likely reflect this reality.
A sneakier look might come with Evan Fournier’s numbers. He has been firing up an unholy volume of 3-pointers. Since Barrett went down, Fournier has taken 13, 13 and 10 from beyond the arc. Sure, he went 1-for-10 one of the games, but that only potentially masks what should be a large number here. Both Fournier 3s and Fournier points overs are worth a look if they don’t reflect his massive volume.
Utah Jazz at LA Lakers
With three days of rest coming in, the Lakers find themselves in what will likely be a rare favorable spot considering the difficulty of their closing schedule. Can they take advantage and break out of an ugly slump of seven losses in nine games?
The Jazz also got some good news with Rudy Gobert returning to lineup. That puts their starting lineup back intact. The question is, will the team limit his minutes? He only played 22 minutes but the team completely flattened Houston so only one starter cracked 30.
Overall this looks like a game where Utah’s offense could have an insane day. They have the most efficient offense in the league and are playing up in pace against the surprisingly speedy Lakers. Two other efficient, 3-point bombing teams just played the Lakers and turned them into target practice.
- Golden State on Feb. 12: 117.3 points per 100
- Milwaukee on Feb. 8: 132.7 points per 100 (!)
Rudy Gobert Props
Rebounding has been a major problem for the Lakers this season. They rank 25th in rebounding rate according to ESPN’s numbers. This issue could be magnified here with the Jazz coming in second in the league on the glass.
Obviously, Gobert looks like the prime beneficiary. He has the top defensive rebounding rate in the entire league, per Cleaning The Glass, and he’s no slouch on the offensive boards with an 82nd-percentile rate.
Could the Lakers get him in foul trouble? They do attack the rim more frequently than all but one team, but with just the 18th-ranked free-throw rate, Gobert seems pretty safe to play his normal minutes assuming the team’s trainers and staff OK it.
Given these factors, look for Gobert to surpass his rebounding and blocks props.
The Lakers are poor in both allowing rim attacks themselves (28th) and stopping people who get there (24th) as well, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Gobert score more than his usual share of the team’s points.
Anthony Davis and LeBron James Props
How will the Lakers opt to combat the strength of Gobert up front? Will they dust off Dwight Howard and/or DeAndre Jordan? Or will they stick with the smaller lineups they’ve preferred of late?
Given the lack of impact of those guys, they’ll likely see if they can lean into their smaller groups. If that’s the case, Anthony Davis should get a large amount of looks on Wednesday. The Jazz love to give up mid-range jumpers, which have made up a huge portion of Davis’ shot diet.
Given that Gobert will prefer sliding away from him to better protect the rim, we can anticipate Davis to get all the mid-range looks he wants. Will he make them? That’s another story entirely. But, if you want to bet on volume winning out in a perceived tough matchup here, you’ll likely get access to a somewhat low number on an Anthony Davis points prop.
A discussion of LA Lakers player props can’t fail to mention LeBron James as well, of course. The Warriors allow a very similar shot profile to the Jazz and James responded with a 3-heavy shot selection, jacking 10 times from deep. That will ramp up the variance on his scoring props.
What about his 3-point props? Looking at some past numbers, it seems the line usually sits at 2.5 with pretty heavy juice on the over. He’s a little cold right now after a 9-for-27 performance against the Warriors. If you can get a solid plus-number on under his 3s, that’s probably worth a shot. Another cold shooting night or another strong Jazz defensive performance can keep him under.