The NBA Play-In Tournament continues on Wednesday night with two more games on the slate: Raptors vs. Bulls and Pelicans vs. Thunder. First up, the Raptors are home favorites over the Bulls with a point total set at . The game tips at 7:00 p.m. EDT and is broadcast on ESPN. Oklahoma City tips off in New Orleans against the Pelicans at 9:30 p.m. EDT on ESPN to settle the Western Conference’s nine-versus-ten matchup. I’m eyeing a couple of NBA player props on the Thunder in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddey. OKC is a underdog in the game, which features a point total set at .
Let’s jump into why I’m expecting big things from SGA tonight, and why that should eat into Giddey’s output.
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Josh Lander is 31-11 and up 22+ units betting NBA player props over the last month. 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
Thunder At Pelicans
Find Thunder at Pelicans player props in the table below.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander: Over 32.5 Points (-112 FD | 2u) // 35+ Points (+135 FD | 1u) // SGA -1.5 Pts More Than Brandon Ingram (-120 | 1u)
Here are Gilgeous-Alexander’s core points, rebounds and assists props for the game against the Pelicans:
- Points: Over/Under /
- Rebounds: Over/Under /
- Assists: /
The stars came out in the first two Play-In games Tuesday night. Trae Young led his team to an upset of the Heat in Miami and LeBron James fueled a double-digit comeback for the Lakers in LA.
I’m expecting more of the same from Thunder star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander on Wednesday night. Shai’s props are set fairly high, but for good reason – SGA’s unique style of play for a guard his size is the ideal weapon for a fight with the Pelicans’ stingy defense.
I’m taking the over on SGA’s points props in New Orleans on Wednesday night, and am also betting he will outscore Brandon Ingram.
Bets Up For SGA
By setting Shai’s prop at 32.5 points, oddsmakers are aware that he’s had great success against the Pelicans. Over his last six meeting with New Orleans, SGA averaged 33 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists in nearly 38 minutes per game. He’s earning more than 10 points a game from the line on 11 attempts, both numbers just a tick higher than his season averages.
Shai cooked the Pelicans in New Orleans this season, averaging 33 points a night over his two games at the Smoothie King Center. He scored nearly half those points from the free throw line while posting a 39% usage rate.
I’m confidently putting two units on SGA to go over 32.5 points, but I also want to juice those odds up with a an alternate line. FanDuel is offering the best odds that Shai will score at least 35 points at +135 and I’m taking it.
Let Shai Cook
With the Thunder’s season on the line, expect Shai to play at least 38 minutes Wednesday night with another high usage rate.
The Pelicans’ game plan against the Thunder this season has been to allow SGA to handle the ball while staying close to his teammates and it’s worked. New Orleans took three of four from OKC and its only loss came when both Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson were absent from the lineup. It would be odd for them to move away from that winning formula in Wednesday’s Play-In game.
Considering how abnormally poorly he shot the ball in New Orleans this season (40% from the field and 16% from deep) there’s also good reason to expect SGA to outperform his previous point totals. Even more so if he gets to the free throw line as often as he has against the Pelicans, who allow the eighth-most free attempts to opponents over the last month of the season.
Ingram only faced the Thunder once this season, dropping 34 points in a three-point victory for the Pelicans. However, Ingram didn’t have Zion or C.J. McCollum in that game. Zion is still out, but McCollum will be in the lineup and expected to score.
The Thunder have been anything but a world-beater on defense this year, but they have had success against opposing small forwards. Over the last 15 games of the regular season, OKC limited small forwards to the third-fewest points per game. Much of that success was due to the return of defensive-specialist, Lou Dort. Dort was sidelined with an injury for a month before returning to revive the Thunder defense.
New Orleans might have a much better defense than the Thunder, but it struggles with point guards more than any other position. The Pelicans allowed the 10th-most points per game to opposing point guards over the last month of the season.
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Josh Giddey u32.5 Points, Rebounds, and Assists (-109 Caesars | 2u) // u5.5 Assists (+112 FanDuel | 1u)
Here are Giddey’s core points, rebounds and assists props for the game against the Pelicans:
- Points: Over/Under /
- Rebounds: Over/Under /
- Assists: Over/Under /
- Points, Rebounds, and Assists Combo: /
Projecting Josh Giddey to go under his props Wednesday night in New Orleans is directly correlated to my previous bet that Gilgeous-Alexander will go over his.
The Pelicans’ defense was second-best in the league the last month of the season and is far too good to allow multiple opposing players to have high-quality games at the same time. New Orleans also played at the eighth-slowest pace in the league during that time, which limits the amount of possessions available for multiple Thunder players to put up huge stats.
If SGA goes off like I think he will, it only makes sense Giddey’s stats will suffer as a result. I’m betting Giddey goes under his points, rebounds, and assists combo prop.
Bad Matchup For Giddey
Giddey has yet to find success against the Pelicans in his career. In seven games, he’s averaged a combined 27 points, rebounds, and assists in 32 minutes per contest.
He’s only hit over Wednesday’s prop (32.5 PRA) twice and both of those games were in OKC. In three career road games versus New Orleans, Giddey’s averages drop to 23 combined points, rebounds, and assists, and he’s failed to go over tonight’s prop each time.
No Dimes For Josh
I like the extra juice we’re afforded for taking the under on just his assists as well. In four games against the Pelicans this season, Giddey averaged less than four assists and only hit six once.
New Orleans has a stifling defense full of rangy wings whose long arms close off passing lanes and limit assists. Over the last 15 games of the season, the Pelicans limited opponents to the fourth-fewest assists in the league.