The NBA Play-In Tournament concludes on Friday night with two matchups, one from each conference: Heat vs. Bulls and Timberwolves vs. Thunder. In the West, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Oklahoma City are underdogs in Minnesota with a point total set at . Tipoff is set for 9:30 p.m. EDT and will be broadcast on ESPN. Coby White and the Bulls take on the Heat in Miami at 7:00 p.m. EDT on TNT for the eighth seed in the East. Chicago is a underdog in the game, which features a point total set at .
I’m banking on the Timberwolves to limit SGA’s rebounds and assists, but not his points, and Coby White to continue his hot play against the Heat. Let’s take a look at why.
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Josh Lander is 32-15 and up 19+ 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 Timberwolves NBA Player Props
Find Thunder at Timberwolves player props in the table below.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander: Under 10.5 Rebounds and Assists (-110 FD | 1u) // 35+ Points/OKC ML (+380 FD | .5u)
Here are Gilgeous-Alexander’s core points, rebounds and assists props for the game against the Timberwolves:
- Points: Over/Under /
- Rebounds: Over/Under /
- Assists: /
- Rebounds and Assists Combo: /
New Orleans did an excellent job defending SGA for the first two quarters of Wednesday night’s Play-In Game. The Pelicans doubled Shai with multiple defenders throughout the first half, limiting him to just seven points. They couldn’t sustain it though, as he broke out for 17 points in the third quarter and OKC pulled away with the victory.
I don’t have the gall to take an under on SGA’s point props, especially in another elimination game. I do think there’s good value, however, in taking the under on his more peripheral stats, such as rebounds and assists.
I’m hitting the under for SGA’s rebounds and assists prop on Friday night, but I’m also going to put half a unit at +340 odds on FanDuel that he scores 35 points in a Thunder win.
SGA Focused On Scoring
Shai’s averages against the Timberwolves this season jump off the page at you. In three games against the Timberwolves, he put up 33.3 points, 5.3 assists, and 4.7 rebounds. He averaged pretty much the same exact stats against all opponents after the All-Star break with 33.3 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 5.4 assists.
Before the break, Shai was scoring three fewer points per game (30.8), but grabbing more rebounds (4.7) and dishing out more assists (5.7). Those noticeable changes to his outputs coincided with Jalen Williams’ emergence as a starter for the Thunder, as well as an uptick to Josh Giddey’s numbers.
With an increase in playmaking around him, SGA was free to focus more on scoring the ball. His usage rate increased post All-Star break from 31.3% to 32.3% thanks an extra field goal attempt per game on top of two more free throw attempts.
As a result, he failed to hit the over on Friday’s prop (43.5 PRA) in six of last nine games.
Points, Not Peripherals
Shai only hit the over on Friday’s rebounds and assists prop once in his three games against Minnesota. The one time he did go over was a much different scenario than the one he faces in the team’s second Play-In game.
Thunder center Jaylin Williams missed that game and Thunder PF Jalen Williams was still coming off the bench for Mark Daigneault’s squad, playing less than 30 minutes a night. Instead, Alexander Pokuševski started at power forward and played 24 minutes in the Thunder’s 112-110 loss.
The Timberwolves were missing both starting big men in Rudy Gobert and Karl-Anthony Towns. Not only was Shai expected to rebound and assist more for OKC at that point in its season, Minnesota’s interior presence was severely lacking that night.
SGA’s unorthodox offensive game is fueled by his ability to attack the basket and draw fouls. One reason Minnesota struggled to keep Shai in check during the regular season was its inability to keep its opponents off the line. Despite the offseason addition of of three-time Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert, Minnesota allowed the second most free throws per game
The Timberwolves are most vulnerable against opposing point guards with high usage rates, allowing the fourth-most points to the position. Where they excel is in keeping opposing point guards from scoring and passing, ranking in the top 10 in both of those categories.
I still expect SGA to have his way with Minnesota, it’s just that his way will be to score the basketball rather than pass or rebound it. His points prop sits at 33.5 at most books, meaning he needs to drop 34 points to cash the over.
Considering I like OKC to win this game outright, I’m going to pump up the odds on his scoring prop by adding just one point and combining it with the Thunder’s moneyline (+380 on FanDuel. For those who are interested, I found that bet on FanDuel under the “Player Performance Doubles” option that allows you to parlay player props with another bet or two for some juicy odds.
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Bulls At Heat NBA Player Props
Coby White o9.5 Points (+100 FanDuel | 1u) // o1.5 Threes Made (-110 DraftKings | 1u)
Here are White’s core points, rebounds and assists props for the game against the Heat:
- Points: Over/Under /
- Rebounds: Over/Under /
- Assists: Over/Under /
- Threes Made: /
Chicago became the first-ever 10 seed to win a Play-In Game in the NBA by beating the Raptors just hours before the Thunder became the second.
Zach LaVine was electric in the second half, dropping 30 of his 39 points after the break. He and DeMar DeRozan combined for combined for 62 of the Bulls’ 109 points. I expect at least one of them to have another big game against the Heat in Miami on Friday, but their points props are set very high for a game against the Heat.
Rather than choose which one goes over, I’m eyeing Coby White to get double-digits points and hitting the over on his points and his three-pointers made.
Coby The Cavalry
Chicago is still alive this season, mostly due to a stingy defense and the ability to take care of the ball. Since Jan. 1, the Bulls have the best defensive rating in the league, the fourth-best defensive rebound percentage, and the seventh-fewest turnovers.
The team’s offense has not been quite as stellar, ranking 23rd in offensive rating since 2023 began. Three-point shooting has been its Achilles heel as the Bulls are dead last in the league with just 10.4 made threes per game.
Things got better when head coach Billy Donovan decided to play backup shooting guard and three-point specialist, Coby White, in February. Through Feb. 1, White averaged just 8 points a game in 21 minutes of playing time with 1.5 made threes. Since then, White’s minutes jumped to more than 26 a night, elevating his scoring to nearly 12 points per game and two made threes.
Major Minutes In Miami
Miami isn’t an offensive juggernaut, either, posting the sixth-worst offensive rating on the season. Chicago needs White’s shooting to effectively score against the Heat, rather than Patrick Beverley’s defense, so expect White to play at least 25 minutes.
White scored at least 10 points in all three meetings with Miami this season. His minutes were on par with his season average of 25, but his usage rate skyrocketed to 24% from his normal 18%. Clearly, Coach Donovan agrees extra offense is more important against Miami.
White also recorded at least 10 points in seven of his last 10 games, but only played 25 minutes in seven of those 10 games. In those seven games, he averaged 15 points with three made threes.
As good as Miami’s defense was this season, it struggled to guard the perimeter, allowing the third-most three pointers in the league. Shooting guards have been able to score more effectively than any other position against the Heat. They allowed the 12th-most points to the position over the last 15 regular season games.
White will enjoy playing against one of the worst bench units in the league as well. Miami’s backups had the ninth-worst +/- among benches in the NBA.