NBA Finals: 3 Player Prop Bets to Target for Game 1
Player props can be useful in a variety of ways, from taking advantage of them straight up (to the tune of cold hard cash) to measuring a player's potential to produce in daily fantasy basketball. Here we'll focus on utilizing our projections and a slew of other tools to help make money betting player props.
For this article, we are using the odds provided at FanDuel Sportsbook to pinpoint spots where value can be had tonight.
Please note that betting lines and our player projections may change throughout the day after this article is published.
Chris Paul Under 20.5 Points (-112)
It's really great to see Chris Paul make it to his first NBA Finals, and he helped the Phoenix Suns clinch the West with a 41-point outburst in Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals. We don't see him repeating that kind of scoring performance tonight in Game 1 of the NBA Finals.
We have to take Paul's overall playoff stats from this postseason with a grain of salt, because he's dealt with a shoulder injury and missed time due to COVID protocols. With that said, he's scored at least 21 points only five times in 14 playoff games, averaging 18.1 points per night.
In the regular season, he averaged 16.4 points, and he's playing only slightly more than one more minute per game in the playoffs than he did in the regular season, although rotations will surely be tight tonight.
We project Paul to score 18.8 points tonight.
Mikal Bridges Over 10.5 Points (-128)
Mikal Bridges' role shrunk as the series versus the Los Angeles Clippers progressed, bottoming out with Bridges seeing only 23.9 minutes and scoring nine points in Game 6. He netted just nine, five, and six points in the last three games against the Clips, taking only 17 shots over that span.
But in the series before, Bridges was a key cog against the Denver Nuggets, scoring at least 11 points in all four contests with spike games of 23 and 16 points. He ended the series versus Los Angeles Lakers in solid fashion, as well, recording 10, 13, and 11 points in the final three games.
The Milwaukee Bucks allowed the 10th-most points per game to small forwards (21.9) in the regular season, and our algorithm likes Bridges to get to the over on his points prop at this line. We forecast him to score 11.3 points.
P.J. Tucker Over 1.5 Assists (+158)
P.J. Tucker is averaging 29.0 minutes per game in these playoffs, and he saw an average of 32.0 minutes per game against the Atlanta Hawks. Those are huge minutes, and being out on the floor that much gives him a solid chance to register at least two assists.
Of course, we wouldn't get a line of 1.5 assists for a player who logs huge minutes if said player was much of a factor on offense. Tucker certainly isn't as he holds a 7.5% usage rate in this year's postseason.
But he got at least two assists in four of six games versus the Hawks, and he did see a little bit of a usage boost over the final two games when Giannis Antetokounmpo was out. Tucker shot a combined 15 times in that span and had single-game usage rates of 12.8% and 8.0%. Giannis is expected to sit for today's Game 1.
We project Tucker to total 1.7 assists. Given that the over is priced at +158 while the under is -200, the over is clearly the way to go.