Underdog NBA Picks: 3 ESPN Friday Night Playoff Predictions Include Paul George

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Written By Josh Lander | Last Updated

We’re down to two NBA playoff games Friday night. In the East, the Magic look to extend its series with the Cavs in Game 6 at home. Out west, the Clippers hope to push the Mavericks to seven games as well with a clutch road win. I don’t project many points coming in either matchup, with two strong leans to under for both game totals. As a result, all three of my best bets for tonight involve players going under their prop lines. All three plays can be found on U.S. sports betting sites as straight plays or as a part of Underdog NBA picks. Let’s take a look at why I’m fading Evan Mobley, Paul George, and Ivica Zubac.

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NBA Player Prop Pick: evan mobley under points + rebounds + Assists (1 unit)

Underdog NBA Picks: Higher or Lower Than 27.5 Points, Rebounds, and Assists

Mobley has played about as well as expected during this turbulent series. The Cavs’ young forward is averaging 14 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 2.2 assists in 32 minutes of action per game. At about 24 PRA per contest, a line of 27.5 PRA for Game 6 immediately stands out. This is where Jarrett Allen’s status enters the conversation. Allen is listed as questionable to play, however he was also seen participating in the team’s shootaround session Friday morning.

If Allen does play, we’re getting great value to hit the under on Mobley’s PRA prop line before that’s made official.

Mobley has fared much better without his starting center around when facing Orlando. Over the last six games with Allen, Donovan Mitchell, and Darius Garland, he’s failed to record more than 27 PRA in five of them, despite averaging nearly 33 minutes. Interestingly, his scoring stays about the same, but his rebounds and assists take a major dive compared to when even just one or two of those players are available.

Most notably, the former 4th overall pick isn’t nearly as active as a playmaker. In his last six games vs. the Magic, Mobley is only averaging 2.8 potential assists, alongside 1.8 of actual assists. As for his rebounding, when the two bigs play together on offense, Mobley is pushed out to the extended wing and even encouraged to pull a few threes. On defense, Allen defends opposing centers, leaving Mobley matched up with forwards and wing players.

With Allen’s positive outlook to participate in Game 6, under 27.5 PRA is the play for Mobley.

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NBA Player Prop Pick: Paul george under points + assists (1 unit)

Underdog NBA Picks: Higher or Lower Than 28.5 Points + Assists

Fading Paul George in a big spot in the playoffs has historically been a smart bet. For starters, look no further than this year’s postseason. George has gone under Friday’s prop line in four of the five games this series. The only time he went over (33 points, 8 assists in Game 4), PG connected on seven of his 10 three-point attempts for an absurd 70% from deep.

Let’s consider that an outlier, considering he made 41.3% of his threes during the regular season. In the other four games of this series, the veteran wing has tallied 16.5 PPG with shooting splits of 38%/31%. With just four free throw attempts per game, it’s safe to say he’s lacked the necessary aggression often required for playoff success.

As for his assists, L.A. hasn’t exactly shot the ball well this postseason. Still, George has averaged just 7.4 potential assists across all five games. Even if his teammates were shooting better, he hasn’t been looking to facilitate open shots for them. I’ll take the under for PG’s PA in what I project to be the final game for the Clippers this season.

NBA Player Prop Pick: Ivica zubac under points + REBounds + Assists (1 unit)

Underdog NBA Picks: Higher or Lower Than 10.5 Rebounds

It pains me to bet against one of my favorite NBA centers, but Ivica Zubac’s rebounding numbers have taken a noticeable dip in the last three games. Looking closely into it, you can see Jason Kidd made a few key changes to incite the downturn in Zu’s effectiveness on the glass. In Games 1 and 2, Kidd’s defense avoided double-teaming any of the Clippers players, including Zubac. The result: L.A.’s big man posted monster rebound numbers of 15 and 12, respectively.

Since then, however, Zubac has gone cleanly under Friday’s rebound prop line, hauling in 8, 4, and 6 between Game 3 and Game 5. During that span, the seven-year vet has seen twice as many double teams, even when he doesn’t have the ball. He can thank Maxi Kleber, who has come in alongside centers Dereck Lively and Daniel Gafford much more often than in the first two games. By playing two viable big men at once, the Mavs have effectively neutralized Zubac when shots go up.

Kleber might not have the same freedom to harass the Clippers’ starting center if any of the Clippers forwards could make a shot. He’s been responsible for guarding Amir Coffey, Mason Plumlee, and Russell Westbrook during his time on the floor. Between the three of them they’re averaging 29% from the field and 25% from deep.

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