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Odds Favor James Harden Scoring the Most Points on Day 2 of 2019 NBA Playoffs

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James Harden is favored to lead the NBA playoffs in scoring on Sunday. Photo by Keith Allison [CC License].
  • James Harden averaged 33.6 points per game versus the Utah Jazz this season.
  • Paul George shot just 40.9% from the field in April and 40.3% in March.
  • In four games against the Detroit Pistons, Giannis Antetokounmpo averaged 20.8 points per game.

After the 2019 NBA playoffs got started with a four-game slate on Saturday, the other four playoff series get underway on Sunday. Bovada has posted a prop on who’ll have the most points scored on Sunday and to no one’s surprise, James Harden is favored.

Odds to Score the Most Points on Sunday

Player Leading Scorer Odds at Bovada
James Harden +225
Giannis Antetokounmpo +400
Paul George +500
Damian Lillard +700
Donovan Mitchell +900
Kyrie Irving +1600
Blake Griffin +1600
Russell Westbrook +1800
C.J. McCollum +2200
Bojan Bogdanovic +2500
Andre Drummond +2500
Khris Middleton +2500
Jayson Tatum +2500
Chris Paul +4000
Eric Bledsoe +5000

*Odds taken April 13

Examine The Totals

As per usual with these types of props, the first place I’ll look is the game totals. What we see here is that the Oklahoma City-Portland game has the highest total on the board at 225, followed by the Detroit-Milwaukee game at 219, then the Utah-Houston affair at 214.5 and then Indiana-Boston at 209.5.

Of course, it’s not a direct correlation but it is important to note that sportsbooks aren’t expecting a ton of points in Harden’s game.

Harden Torched Jazz In Regular Season

Harden faced the Jazz four times in the regular season and torched them for 33.5 points per game. But all four meetings came from February 2nd or earlier, and the Jazz were a different team after that point. Utah was 32-26 on February 23rd, but finished 18-6 the rest of the way.

The Jazz were sixth in the NBA in points allowed per game over their final 15, finishing seventh in opponent field goal percentage opponent three-point percentage. That doesn’t mean that they’ll have an answer for Harden, but it does mean they’ve been playing well.

The challenge with betting anyone else here is that Harden’s average is much higher than anyone else. He averaged 36.1 points per outing; Paul George was second in the league with 28.0 points per game while Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 27.7. Harden will have to have a big off-day to finish behind anyone else, so I’d bet him.

George’s Shoulder Is A Concern

We were hit with a surprise ‘doubtful’ for Joel Embiid yesterday and he managed to play, but we saw how his injury impacted him. He finished just 5-of-15 from the field and 0-5 from three. Paul George is dealing with a shoulder injury and while he’s expected to play, it could limit him.

George shot just 40.9% from the field in April and 40.3% in March. Clearly, something is bothering him. He scored 35.0 points per game and shot 44.0% in February and averaged 29.6 points and shot 45.1% from the field in January. He’s dropped off. With that shoulder injury, I’ll pass on him here.

Avoid The Greek Freak

Giannis is third in line, according to the betting odds, but I’ll pass on the MVP candidate as well. He didn’t post his best numbers against the Pistons this season, so it’s hard to expect him to lead the day in scoring knowing that.

In four games against Detroit, Giannis averaged 20.8 points per game. That’s the second-lowest mark against any team in the East. For whatever reason, he served more as a facilitator in those contests, averaging a healthy 7.0 assists.

With the low total and the shaky track record versus Detroit, there are better options to lead Sunday in scoring.

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For over 15 years, Dave has been working in mainstream media and sports betting. He hosted a station on Sirius Satellite Radio for four years, and is currently a senior writer for AskMen. He's interviewed hundreds of hundreds of high-profile sports stars like Shaquille O'Neal and Floyd Mayweather.