On TNT Tuesday, the Grizzlies get a rare national TV home game hosting the white-hot Pelicans. Then, the struggling Warriors try to rebound with well-rested starters against the visiting Clippers. Each week throughout the season, TheLines will look at some matchups for the televised slates and try to figure if there are any TNT NBA player props worth a look.
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New Orleans Pelicans At Memphis Grizzlies
Quick, name the team with the best efficiency differential in the league for the past two weeks. This team also has the best against-the-spread differential (by a huge amount) and the best defense.
Since you knew this was about either the Pelicans or Grizzlies, you probably figured it was the Grizz if you haven’t been paying a ton of attention to the NBA lately. But, it’s actually New Orleans which has leaned into a highly unusual double-center lineup and reaped big dividends. They had four straight easy wins and covers — the closest game was 15 points — before a late collapse cost them a fifth against Denver.
If you think there’s something to this recent trend, the game under — a hefty — is probably a good place to start when betting this one. By extension, the market prices on most of the props will be too high.
Still, crazy things can happen in small samples, so it’s difficult to say how much credence to give this.
CJ McCollum And Jonas Valanciunas Props
CJ McCollum has been absolutely on fire since moving over from the Blazers via trade. He’s averaging 26.1 PPG on 51.8% shooting while making 40.3% of his 3s.
While Memphis has a good defense statistically, that mostly comes from forcing a ton of turnovers and cleaning up the boards. Neither of those things should really affect McCollum too much as he’s always been a low-turnover player who shoots a high percentage.
Memphis also gives up the third-most above-the-break 3s, per Cleaning The Glass, which plays into McCollum’s hands nicely. If there’s a Pelican who looks primed for a nice day scoring-wise it’s probably him.
One should probably have less optimism about Jonas Valanciunas. He has a tough matchup inside against Steven Adams and Jaren Jackson Jr., both solid defenders. His scoring has been generally down a bit since the trade that brought in McCollum. That could continue here.
Rebounding won’t come easily for him either since Memphis has the league’s top rebounding rate.
Ja Morant And Desmond Bane Props
How (and how well) the Pelicans defend Ja Morant will be the biggest thing to watch in this game. New Orleans does a pretty good job preventing intrusion into the paint, but once players do get there, they tend to convert at a pretty high rate. Having Valanciunas as your main big man will do that, although Hayes provides a bit more resistance.
Might rookie defensive ace Herb Jones get a shot to slow Morant? The young stud point guard is one of those players where if he’s on, it probably doesn’t matter what’s in front of him.
If the Pelicans can turn him into more of a passer, he’s a good bet to go over his assist prop because the Pelicans are pretty leaky in terms of allowing 3s. Morant should find targets on the perimeter.
Top marksman Desmond Bane may benefit most from this, though he hasn’t been shooting his best lately. Still, look and see if the market offers a lower number than usual on Bane’s points and/or 3s. Bane’s been one of the best shooters in the league this season and could rebound if given some open looks.
LA Clippers At Golden State Warriors
The Warriors have taken the unusual step of essentially punting a game while in the midst of a close playoff seeding race with Memphis. They are not that far clear of the fourth-place Jazz, either. Yet, they elected to hold out all of their starters besides Kevon Looney for the road game in Denver on Monday.
Since that game was on the road and they follow up at home, we have to expect they’re going to play all of their guys against the Clippers. But, it’s a situation worth monitoring just in case anything unusual remains afoot.
Certainly, the Warriors need to regroup. They’ve lost eight of their past 10, with the wins coming against the super-tanking Blazers and in a coin flip at home against the Lakers.
Both of these teams lean on top-10 defenses and play at middling paces. So, we should expect most players to tally numbers a bit under their seasonal averages.
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Stephen Curry And Klay Thompson Props
One weakness that stands out among these two teams is the Clippers are very poor on the boards. The issue is finding a way to exploit this in the prop markets. Most of the Warriors’ best rebounders (with Draymond Green presumably still out) are their lower-usage and lower-minutes players. If you poke around the markets and use the above props tool, you might find something, though.
Alternately, you could try to grab a smaller over on Stephen Curry. His prop looks to usually land right at his average of five boards, so if you see over 4.5 with decent juice, you might get some value even if it’s not the most exciting sweat.
Scoring-wise, Curry and his fellow splash brother Klay Thompson should be in for a fairly strenuous night. The Clippers have the wings and the athleticism to switch some of their off-ball stuff. They’ve defended the 3-point line well all year, ranking top 10 in both fewest attempts allowed and accuracy allowed, according to Cleaning The Glass.
Reggie Jackson Props
Offensively, the Clippers’ attack centers around a frankly unhealthy amount of Reggie Jackson. It seems unlikely the team envisioned a 96th-percentile usage for Jackson when the season started, but the numbers are where they are on a team severely lacking in shot creation.
There a couple of competing things pushing and pulling in regards to Jackson’s scoring here. On the one hand, Jackson is facing a tough defense geared to stop him, albeit one lacking its best defender in Green.
On the other hand, Golden State does allow a fairly high rate of 3-point attempts from above the break. That’s where Jackson takes a pretty high volume of shots and particularly enjoys pulling early in shot clocks at times.