Tonight should be a great night of NBA basketball. We have four teams competing in game two of the conference semi-finals with every game being a “must-win”. As we have done in the past, we have a few prop bets we like for tonight’s games. This time we have two bets from both game, one involving a player from each team:
Boston Celtics @ Milwaukee Bucks
Al Horford Over 15.5 Points @ 1.86/-115
In game one of the series, we saw Al Horford score 20 points in 31 minutes. This was the first time he got over 20 points so far this postseason, but it is not surprising considering his success against the Bucks this year: 18, 21, and 20 points in the meetings against them during the regular season. It is also not a surprise to anyone who has seen Bucks center Brook Lopez try to defend as he is always one of the worst defenders, and can’t stop anyone. Despite Horford scoring only 16 or more one time this postseason, expect him to do it again. In the first playoff series vs. Indiana, Horford had to go up against Myles Turner, a great defender. This series with the Bucks is also played at a higher pace, thus more opportunities for Horford. Expect Horford to play around 35 minutes where has averaged just over 20 points per 35 minutes vs. Milwaukee this season.
Brook Lopez Under 18.5 Points+Rebounds+Assists @ 1.76/-130
Once again, I am picking on Brook Lopez as I believe this is not the right matchup for him. The issue I have with Lopez is the number of minutes he plays and his matchup. Aside from playing inconsistent minutes, Al Horford is not a great matchup as he is a player that likes to space the floor, therefore it often limits his opponents to have rebounds because he plays away from the basket. Likewise, Brook Lopez is a player who plays out by the 3-point line, limiting his offensive rebounds and causes him to have inconsistent scoring performances. In the last four meetings with Boston, Lopez only got 19 combined once, in a game where he had 8 rebounds. Unless Lopez exceeds averages by a lot in one category, I would be surprised to see him exceed 18.5.
Houston Rockets @ Golden State Warriors
James Harden Under 34.5 Points @ 1.83/-120
James Harden has an interesting storyline heading into this game after a controversial game one where he could not get any foul calls. The referee’s on the court appeared to have missed several calls on Harden, causing outrage from the Houston Rockets, as well many fans after the game. Harden is an inconsistent player sometimes, he can get 40 points easy, but he could also get 15 points as well. I’m not going to waste time overanalyzing this. While the referees could possibly make-up for their previous mistakes and give Harden free throws all night, we are going with past history here, as the numbers are one-sided:
Last 20 games vs. Warriors: 17/20 under 34.5 points
Last 20 playoff games: 16/20 under 34.5 points.
This is strictly a value bet, but one that I think is worth it. This season Kevin Durant is averaging 5.0 three-point attempts per game and has made 1.8 of them per game shooting 35.3%. However, in the postseason things have been interesting has Durant is averaging almost 7 attempts per game.
Here have been his attempts in each playoff game so far: 2, 1, 10, 6, 12, 14, and 3.
Here were his attempts in playoffs vs. Rockets last year: 6, 7, 8, 5, 6, 5, 11
Regular season attempts vs. Rockets this season: 2, 5, and 7
Obviously, this bet is not close to a guarantee, so be careful. However, from a statistical standpoint, this bet has the potential to be great value if we can get at least 6-8 attempts from Durant. This bet has won four out of the last five games. As mentioned, it’s a risk, but 2.20 is one I would take. I believe there is decent value here.