Back like we never left! The All-Star Break was a much needed recharge, but now it’s time to get back to the grind. We went 3-0 last time out (our last article before the ASB), for a record of 11-6 in the month of February. Let’s take advantage of the new landscape, following all the trade deadline deals, fired/extended coaches, and rested players! With prop bets, we don’t need to wait for season-long storylines to play out. Every day is a new day. Fantrax wants to help you win a bit of money, so we will be giving you NBA Player Prop Bets every week. We’ll shy away from keying in on any particular sportsbook, as we know odds vary, and so do props. We’ll focus on our projections, and allow you to find your best odds. Let’s get into today’s prop bets.
NBA Player Prop Bets for February 23
Jayson Tatum OVER 29 Points:
Fresh off of an NBA-record, 55 points in the All-Star Game, it’s safe to say Jayson Tatum isn’t rusty. The Celtics take on the Pacers tonight and Tatum might feel a little deja vu when he steps on the court. That’s because just like in the All-Star Game, Tatum won’t be facing any defense. The Pacers are currently 23rd in defense and 8th in pace. There will be plenty of extra possessions for Boston in a pace-up matchup, and even if this was a top ranked defense, there’s no stopping Jayson Tatum if he gets going. Tatum averages 30+ PPG on the season, so expecting OVER 29 is completely reasonable. I wouldn’t be surprised if you couldn’t find + odds for it, by tip-off, but you should be able to. Regardless, he’s dropped 29+ in 4 of his last 7 games. I feel comfortable taking this OVER, and may go as high as 33+ if I wanted to get better odds.
Ja Morant UNDER 26 Points:
I hate taking UNDERs. I especially hate taking UNDERs on superstars. But this one…makes sense to me. The Grizz are matching up against the 76ers tonight. This Philly team boasts a top ten defense (ninth currently). While that’s a big factor in this call, the crux of this thesis is that Philly is one of the slowest-paced teams in the league. Currently ranking 26th. James Harden pounds the ball until he gets a look or pass that he likes. Joel Embiid catches the ball at the elbow on either side and all of his teammates watch until he makes a move, or passes out of a help defense. Philly has two great players. That can’t be debated. But it’s certainly not the most beautiful/free-flowing offense in the world. That said, I expect much fewer possessions than average for the Grizz, and with Morant averaging 27 PPG on the year, I like him to hit that UNDER tonight. An UNDER he’s hit in three of his last five games. He also hasn’t taken more than 20 shots but twice in his last five games. With Desmond Bane back in the mix, he plays far less hero ball. I don’t pretend to know who will win this matchup, but I don’t think we see a huge game from Morant tonight.
LeBron James OVER 40 Points + Rebounds + Assists:
LeBron James is now the greatest scorer of all time. He’s cemented in that legacy. But he does the other things too. That’s what makes him such a unique player. As the Lakers navigate their new-look team, I expect Bron to do a little less shot taking, and a little more directing. Making sure DLo is in this spot here. AD takes that shot there. Malik Beasley pops through that screen down low, for the easy corner three, over there. I wouldn’t be surprised to see less points from LeBron tonight, but with more rebounds and assists, as he goes through the “most important 23 games of (his) career.” LeBron wants to make the playoffs because in a wide open Western Conference, the Lakers have a chance to win it all. He’s had 40+ PRA in four of his last five games. Facing a Warriors team that’s 19th in defense and 1st in pace shouldn’t stop him from extending that streak.