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NBA Player Prop Picks (5/20/23)
Denver secured narrow victories in Games 1 and 2 but will be on the road for Game 3 against a hungry Lakers squad. Which players do we project to step up, or fall off, for both teams? Take a look below at our player props and in-depth analysis to see!
Nikola Jokic o52.5 PRA (-120)
At first glance, 52.5 seems like such an outrageous PRA (points, rebounds, and assists) line for any player, even one as talented and effective as Nikola Jokic; however, Jokic has had great success away from home in the 2023 Playoffs and against the Los Angeles Lakers in the first two games of the Western Conference Finals.
As a matter of fact, Jokic has posted roughly 36 points, 12 assists, and 11 rebounds in his five games on the road this postseason, crushing this line with his averages; he has also eclipsed it in four of those five bouts. Interestingly enough, those four overs have been consecutive, as Game 3 against Minnesota was the last time he failed to put up insane numbers on the road.
— NBA (@NBA) May 19, 2023
In Game 1 against Los Angeles, Jokic obliterated this line, finishing with 69 points, rebounds, and assists combined, but missed the over by just one point, rebound, or assist in Game 2. Regardless, it is not too much of a challenge to convince yourself to tail him on the road in this spot.
Los Angeles has had no answer for Jokic through the first two games. The only answer has been time; his dominance drops off substantially in the fourth quarter, as he has failed to record a bucket this series. That will change in Game 3, so expect another monstrous outing.
Austin Reaves o2.5 Threes (+140)
Austin Reaves has certainly had a “coming-out party” for the Los Angeles Lakers during the 2023 Playoffs, but his past five games have been particularly impressive. During that stretch, Reaves has averaged 21 points on a 49/57/100 shooting split. No, that is shockingly not a typo.
We love this prop for a number of reasons. For one, we are getting plus money on something that has hit in five consecutive games, with the past two coming in flying colors (five three-pointers.)
Additionally, the volume here has been tremendous, as he has averaged seven 3PAs during that span and nine per game in his past two. If that volume continues, we have a significant advantage on the implied probability here. Reaves is on a heater, shooting 57% in his past five games, even with several of those coming on the road in a hostile environment.
Lastly, this is a favorable matchup, as Reaves could continue to get clean looks as the pick-setter in the pick-and-pop with LeBron James. The Lakers have been trying to isolate James on Jamal Murray by forcing a switch, and even in a “hard hedge and recover” situation, Reaves may still have enough time to get off a great look from deep.
Rui Hachimura o13.5 Points (-115)
Hachimura has a sort of interesting trend happening right now: he has been playing better on the road than at home. Don’t take my word for it; look at the numbers. He has averaged just 7.5 points per game at home in six games in the postseason while posting 16 per game on the road. Hachimura has been playing four or five minutes fewer on average at home, but it is still an intriguing trend.
Hachimura has failed to hit this number in five consecutive home playoff games, with the sole game he went over this line being in Game 3 against the Memphis Grizzlies, a team that had not properly game-planned for him.
Still, that does not scare us.
In the past two games against the Nuggets, Hachimura has torched them, posting 17 and 21 points on a combined 16-21 from the field. While we can’t expect him to continue playing with that level of efficiency, his ability to apply rim pressure has been needed, and he will get some easy looks around the basket, as Denver does not have a true rim protector.
Lastly, Hachimura has averaged 29 minutes in the first two games of this series, giving him even more opportunity than usual to put points on the board.