- BetOnline is offering a series of player prop wagers on the first round of NBA Playoffs
- NBA scoring leader James Harden of the Rockets faces the stiff Jazz defense
- Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo gets to take advantage of a hobbled Blake Griffin in the Bucks-Pistons series
Houston Rockets guard James Harden posted some historic offensive numbers while dominating the NBA this season.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) April 11, 2019
But he will face a stiff test to open the NBA playoffs against the Utah Jazz. Utah is the NBA’s no. 2 defensive team, while Houston finished the regular season as the league’s no. 2 offensive squad.
Harden’s per game point totals are among several first-round NBA playoff player prop wagers on offer from BetOnline.
James Harden PPG vs Jazz
|PPG by James Harden vs Jazz||Odds at BetOnline|
*Odds taken 04/13/19
Harden With Heart
Harden posted league-high averages of 36.1 points, 6.6 rebounds and 7.5 assists per game. He made 317 unassisted three-point field goals this season, shattering his own NBA record.
Harden carried a demanding load this season for the injury-ravaged Rockets, who had their regular starting five available for just 26 games.
✔️ Only player to top 2,800ppg, 500ast, & 500reb
✔️ Only player to avg. 35ppg and 7apg
✔️ Nine 50pts+ games
✔️ 32 straight games of 30pts+
✔️ 57 games of 30pts+
✔️ Largest scoring margin, 8.1ppg, over the second-leading scorer since 1962-63@JHarden13 | #RunAsOne 🚀 pic.twitter.com/WMeaqVdc20
— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) April 12, 2019
Will all that wear and tear impact him against the solid defense of the Jazz?
Rudy Gobert defended the most shots at the rim in the NBA this season. Derrick Favors held opponents to a league-low 50.7 field goal percentage at the rim and Gobert was sixth (52.9).
The Rudy Gobert DPOY campaign is here, and it’s off to a hot start with the John Coltrane tribute album 🔥 pic.twitter.com/OgxtigM8Qt
— Dime (@DimeUPROXX) April 5, 2019
Three of Houston’s eight worst offensive games this season came when facing Utah. Harden averaged 33.5 points against the Jazz, but posted a 19/24 assist/turnover ratio, his worst of any opponent. And he’s shot below 30% from three-point range the past two postseasons.
Still, expecting Harden to go over 30.5 ppg isn’t asking a lot. Play the over.
Giannis Antetokounmpo PPG vs Pistons
|Total PPG by Giannis Antetokounmpo vs Pistons||Odds at BetOnline|
Greek Freak Should Fly
The Detroit Pistons were the only Eastern Conference playoff team to hold Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo under 21 points per game (20.8).
— NBA (@NBA) April 11, 2019
But the Greek Freak will be facing a Pistons squad with its star, Blake Griffin, hobbling around on a left knee in need of surgical repair.
Griffin, who missed four of Detroit’s last seven regular-season games, generally draws the assignment of defending Antetokounmpo.
In four meetings this season, the Pistons held Antetokounmpo to 15 points twice. He went off for 32 points in a 107-104 win at Detroit on Dec. 17.
Blake Griffin emerges from trainers room to shoot some free throws after Pistons practice. pic.twitter.com/RpTdAcDvrd
— Jennifer Hammond (@HammerFox2) April 12, 2019
Regardless, it’s probably expecting too much for Antetokounmpo to go over 28.5 points per game. The Bucks figure to win this set easily, and might well take advantage of that fact to limit his minutes. Bet the under.
Andre Drummond RPG vs Bucks
|Total PPG by Andre Drummond vs Bucks||Odds at BetOnline|
Cleaning The Glass
While the Pistons should get spanked quickly by the Bucks, you can still count on Detroit center Andre Drummond to be a rebounding machine. He’ll be even more vital on the boards with Griffin ailing and uncertain.
Down the stretch as the Pistons fought for their playoff spot, Drummond was a machine at cleaning the glass, pulling down 17 or more rebounds in eight of the last nine regular-season games.
— NBA TV (@NBATV) April 11, 2019
He averged an NBA-leading 15.6 rebounds per game this season. but Drummond didn’t deliver against Milwaukee.
Among the players who played at least 50 games at 15 min/game this season, Andre Drummond is :
-2nd rebounder/100 poss (22.9)
-2nd at REB% (% team's REBs taken by player)
-1st at REB/game (15.6)
– 1st at CONTESTED REBs (7,6/game)
Drummond is the best NBA rebounder. pic.twitter.com/mhrd0BU0CJ
— NBA Advanced Analysis (@analysies) April 13, 2019
He averaged just 10.5 boards per game in four meetings with the Bucks this season. Drummond never pulled down more than 14 in a game, twice being held to single digits.
The bar has been set too high here. The under is the money play.