The big men are at the top of the MVP standings these days, but it’s still a guard-centric league in 2022. And in tonight’s props, we take on two of the hottest young guards in the league with a guys they’re all chasing and still hoping to play like they’re on their best day.
Below, I’ve outlined three prop bets I play, using the Action Labs Player Prop tool to compare our NBA projections to published props on a variety of sportsbooks. On top of that, I have four other bonus props you can play on tonight’s 12-match slate. Let’s go.
NBA Players’ Accessories and Picks
Tyrese Maxey, over 16.5 points (-110)
|76ers vs. Cavaliers||76ers -2.5|
|Time | TV||7 p.m. ET | NBA League Pass|
We’ve played Tyrese Maxey a few times lately, and we’ll keep riding the Maxey train.
Maxey broke out this second season, but it was fair to wonder how his role might change with the arrival of James Harden. With such a heavily used player, it was reasonable to expect Maxey’s numbers to drop.
But exactly the opposite happened. Maxey’s scoring is booming and he’s thriving in his new off-ball role alongside Harden and Joel Embiid. He consistently gets the ball in advantageous situations with space to attack, and he also gets more – and better – 3 points.
In eight games with Harden so far, Maxey is averaging 19.6 PPG. He’s topped that point line in six of eight games, hitting over 75% of Harden’s games. He also hits a bunch of 3s with Harden. Maxey has gone 49% of his 3s in Harden’s games, making 2.4 on nearly five attempts per game.
And in fact, those numbers are obscured by that giant crap from a game against Brooklyn, when Philadelphia completely failed to show up. Maxey scored just four points in 28 minutes that game and went 2 of 7 from the field without 3 points. Outside of that match, he actually averaged 21.9 PPG in his matches with Harden and made 2.7 3s per game.
That includes a 33-point outing against those Cavs, which came with five 3s, nine free throw attempts and five assists, all of which are highs during this recent streak with Harden. The match clearly worked in favor of Maxey.
The question then becomes how best to play Maxey, and I’m sticking to the traditional point line. His tally is down a bit since the hot start – Maxey scored over 20 in his first four games for Harden, but went under 20 in each of the last four. We can play over 20 points at +164, so that’s an avenue if you want to be more aggressive.
You can also play over 1.5 3s at +100 at DraftKings. Maxey exceeds that number in six of Harden’s eight games (75%), and you can play for three 3s at +245 in FanDuel, which he has done four times (50%). If Maxey is posting a really big score, it’s probably because he hit a bunch of 3s, so that might be the best way to play an escalator angle here.
I’m looking for a safer win, so we’ll stick to the points. We project Maxey to 18.4 points. I’ll look for another big night and play -130 or pivot to one of the above substitutes.
Darius Garland, Over 2.5 3 points (+120)
Tyrese Maxey is the only budding star guard we face in this game. We’ll also look at the other side of the game and roll with Darius Garland, a first-time All-Star who is getting better and better.
Garland told reporters that playing in the All-Star Game in front of the home fans boosted his confidence, and the numbers back it up as Garland is absolutely on fire after the break. His numbers since then are 27.1 points and 10.9 assists per game. That includes 2.7 3s per game as well as 19.5 potential assists, which leads the league in March according to NBA advanced stats.
The question is how we can best play Garland’s hot streak. Do we play his points, his assists, his 3s or a combination of these?
Our Props Tool prefers 3 points, so that’s the direction I’m going. Garland has gone over 2.5 makes 3s in seven of his last 10 and his attempts are up lately plus we get this one at +120 so that’s a really nice line of juice more in our favor .
You have other options. Garland has topped his 23.5-point line in nine of the last 10 games and in both of Philadelphia’s games if you want to go that route. He’s also had double-digit assists in five of his last nine since the break, including a monster 19 cent game against the Sixers.
You can play Garland for double digit assists at +130 on PointsBet. It doesn’t increase the odds of playing for a double-double, but a 20/10 game is played at +193. And if you want to play 10+ assists with 23.5+ overall, you can do that at +292 at FanDuel.
We project Garland to 2.8 3s tonight but only 22.4 points. I think this score line is a little conservative, but I’m going to trust the projections and stick with the 3 since we’re getting +120. Garland is above that line in nine of his last 12 (75%). I will play any number plus or pivot to any of the other combos above if this line moves.
Steph Curry, Over 3.5 3 points (-142) | More than 4.5 3s (+164)
|Celtics vs. Warriors||Warriors -2|
|Time | TV||10 p.m. ET | ESPN|
Hush, I have a secret. I’ve done endless hours of film studies and I’m finally ready to reveal something to you. Are you ready?
………Stephen Curry is better with Draymond Green.
WHAT ???? Shocking, I know. Who could have seen this coming?!
Curry had an MVP season earlier this year with the Warriors, basketball’s top team. Then, in the second half of the season, Curry turned icy, his shooting and scoring was down, and the Warriors struggled to defend or play like more of a .500 team. It’s almost like Golden State is missing out on the deserving DPOY, connective tissue, and heart and soul of their team for half a year!
Green returned to the floor Monday night, and you’d never believe it, but the Warriors immediately looked like the Warriors again.
Golden State played 15 minutes with Curry and Green on the court together and in those minutes the Warriors scored 56 points – and Curry scored 41. Curry finished with 47 points, his most since November, and shot 7 in 14 out of 3 points.
Curry is averaging 28.9 points on 75 possessions and making 14.0 3-point attempts with Green on the court this season. Without him, those numbers drop to 24.9 and 10.6, and his shooting percentage also drops. It’s the modern version of Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. At some point, we just have to accept that these guys are both great because they help each other make themselves even bigger.
The 3 points stand out in particular. Curry can’t always get his shot alone at an effective pace, especially against a big defense like the Celtics, but his synergy with Draymond opens up plenty of other avenues to find his shot. The numbers speak for themselves.
Without Green, Curry is averaging 3.7 treys per game. With him, that jumps to 5.2 marks per game, and he’s topped that 3.5 line in 31 of those 35 games, hitting over 89% of the time. He also had at least five 3s in 21 games with Draymond, a robust 60% success rate for a prop that we get at +164.
You can even go further down that escalator and play six plus 3 at +320 on PointsBet if you want, but with Green’s limited minutes and a tough game, I wouldn’t go too crazy.
However, the return of Green to training changes everything. Boston is a tough game and has always given Curry problems, but we should play Steph’s 3 line with Draymond back on 3.5 until the books remember to adjust it.
Bets on bonus NBA props
- Russell Westbrook, Under 6.5 assists (-145 PointsBet): Westbrook’s numbers have fallen off a cliff with his game. He just doesn’t play as much or touch the ball as much, and that’s well documented at this point. Over the past 27 games, Russ has gone under 6.5 dimes 22 times, hitting less than 81 percent of the time and averaging 5.3 APG. He’s also underhanded in all three of Wolves’ games this year, all of which have come before this cold expanse.
- Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Over 14.5 Points (-105 PointsBet): Why not play one of those Washington players Russ was traded for? Caldwell-Pope’s numbers have been up lately with the Wizards shorthanded and in need of shots and use. He’s averaging 18.2 PPG over the last nine games and seven times on that line (78%) with more shots and minutes.
- Dorian Finney-Smith, more than 1.5 assists (+150 DraftKings): This is a props column, but why not play a little DFS today too? Finney-Smith has multiple assists in seven straight games. We’re projecting it at 2.2 cents, and Brooklyn’s lack of defense should help the cause. This one will still be a sweat, but you gotta love +150 for a prop that hits seven times in a row.
- Bruce Brown, over 19.5 PTS + REB + AST (-120 DraftKings): Brown continues to play big minutes when Kyrie Irving sits, and it really does feel like the Nets are deliberately using Brown like they will use Ben Simmons once he’s ready. Brown is averaging 33.2 MPG in his last nine games without Kyrie. When playing 30 minutes this year, he averages 23.1 PRA. He’s surpassed that in seven of the last 10 such games and was a bucketful away in two others.