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NBA Playoff First-Round Player Props: Will Jazz Hold Harden Down?

James Harden shooting basketball
BetOnline has set James Harden's points per game total at 30.5 as he faces the rugged Utah Jazz defense in the opening round of the NBA playoffs. By Keith Allison (Flickr) [CC License].
  • 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.

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
Over 30.5 -110
Under 30.5 -110

*Odds taken 04/13/19

Harden With Heart

Harden posted Β 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.

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).

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
Over 28.5 -110
Under 28.5 -110

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).

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.

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
Over 16.5 -110
Under 16.5 -110

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.

He averged an NBA-leading 15.6 rebounds per game this season. but Drummond didn’t deliver against Milwaukee.

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.

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An industry veteran, Bob literally taught the course on the history of sports at Elder College. He has worked as a Sports Columnist for Postmedia, appeared as a guest on several radio stations, was the Vice President of the Society For International Hockey Research in Ontario, and written 25 books.