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NBA Player Prop Picks (5/5/23)
For Friday’s slate, the Philadelphia 76ers return home after splitting games on the road with Boston; they now have home-court advantage and will want to capitalize on this opportunity, especially with MVP Joel Embiid back in the starting lineup. Meanwhile, Phoenix must protect its home floor against the Denver Nuggets, who are up 2-0 in the Western Conference Semi-Finals. Below, we have selected a few of our favorite player props for these two exciting games. Take a look!
Jamal Murray u22.5 Points (-120)
It hurts my heart to fade Jamal Murray, as it has been a breath of fresh air seeing him explode so far in the 2023 playoffs, but all signs are pointing to a mediocre game. Murray had been electric in home games, averaging 33.3 points, 6.8 assists, and five rebounds on a 52/54/95 shooting split, before putting up a stinker (3-15 shooting for ten points) at Ball Arena in Game 2 against Phoenix.
However, Murray has not performed exceptionally well on the road in the playoffs thus far, posting just 18.5 points on a 41/23/80 shooting split. While our sample size of two games is relatively small, there is enough of a margin between his home and road outings that it is more than fair to be bearish on him away from Ball Arena.
The bottom line is that Phoenix is in a “must-win” situation; if it goes down 0-3 in the series, there is virtually no chance it can come back and win four-straight games. The Suns are going to be playing intense defense all night, and Murray’s confidence will probably not be quite as high after an 0-9 night shooting from deep.
Joel Embiid o1.5 Blocks (-145)
After suffering a somewhat significant knee injury and deciding to play through it, Joel Embiid returned in his first game back and posted a modest 15 points on 4-9 shooting. Even with his injury status, it is surprising to see Embiid shoot merely nine times in 27 minutes of play. Drastic changes could happen regarding his volume in Game 2, but you should be wary of his points and rebounds props.
What clearly has not changed since injuring his knee is his output on the defensive end of the floor, where he logged five blocks in fewer than 30 minutes of play. As a matter of fact, Embiid has recorded at least two blocks in six consecutive games, flexing his athleticism and defensive IQ. In a crucial Game 3 at home, Embiid should play more minutes and have a similar defensive performance.
Nikola Jokic o26.5 Points (-105)
Joker’s field goal attempts per game in the first three Nuggets’ outings were certainly modest; however, in the past four games, he has made it a point to make his presence more known from a scoring standpoint.
As a matter of fact, Jokic has averaged just shy of 27 field goal attempts and 34 points per game during that stretch. He has hit the over on this line in three of those four games, crushing it in two of them. While he has not been quite as efficient from the field, this is the kind of volume you want to see from a player who shot over 63% during the regular season.
Even though his overall percentage is lower, he has shot the ball well from behind the arc in the postseason (46.7% in seven games), adding another efficient area to his offensive game that defenses have to acknowledge. All things considered, the fact we are getting near-plus odds on this is surprising, given the emphasis he has placed on scoring recently.