With six games on the schedule for Thursday night, keep an eye on the playmakers when each game tip-off!
When the Oklahoma City Thunder and Philadelphia 76ers tip-off, James Harden's ability to control play with rebounding will be the focus. Without Kevin Durant available, Kyrie Irving's playmaking ability will need to take a jump when the Brooklyn Nets host the Boston Celtics. And when the Toronto Raptors and Charlotte Hornets play, Fred VanVleet will try to let his playmaking make up for his recent scoring slump.
Let's check out the bets!
James Harden is known for his scoring and playmaking ability, but his ability to get the ball off the glass and push the pace is crucial to Philadelphia's game. At DraftKings Sportsbook, Harden is a +100 to clear 6.5 rebounds when he faces the Oklahoma City Thunder.
On the season, Harden is averaging 21.8 points, 11.0 assists, and 6.5 rebounds on 43.6% from the field and 37.6% from three-point range. Through his last five games though, Harden has averaged 21.2 points, 10.6 assists, and 7.6 rebounds on 42.9% from the field and 38.2% from three. He's been able to clear 6.5 three times in his last five games.
The Thunder play at a pace that empowers rebounding. They average 44.3 rebounds per game (8th in the NBA), but allow their opponents 47.6 rebounds per game (30th in the NBA). If he can maintain the pace, Harden will have plenty of opportunities to clear 6.5 rebounds against this pacey Thunder team.
Kyrie Irving will step into the slot of the number one option when he takes the court, as Kevin Durant will be unavailable for Brooklyn. At PointsBet, Irving is a +110 to clear 4.5 assists when he takes on the Boston Celtics.
Irving's role has been different compared to past seasons, but he's still flourished averaging 26.0 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 4.7 assists in his 30 appearances. Over his last three games, Irving has averaged 24.3 points, 6.7 assists, and 3.3 rebounds on 40.3% from the field and 30.3% from three-point range.
With Durant unavailable going into this match, Irving will take on the role of a primary playmaker for most of Brooklyn's offensive possessions. With so much focus on him, expect his ability to create for teammates to take the spotlight.
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Fred VanVleet hasn't lived up to last year's All-Star season, but he's been able to affect the game in different ways despite his poor shooting. At Caesars Sportsbook, VanVleet is a +114 to clear 7.5 assists when he takes on the Charlotte Hornets.
On the season, VanVleet is averaging 18.4 points, 6.3 assists, and 4.2 rebounds on 37.6% shooting from the field and 32.8% from three-point range. Over Toronto's recent 2-2 run, VanVleet has averaged 18.0 points, 7.4 assists, and 6.2 rebounds on 34.6% from the field and 31.4% from three-point range.
While his offense hasn't been efficient this season, VanVleet is still a responsible guard who has an impressive 3-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio. Given Charlotte's pace of play, expect VanVleet to have a positive night in terms of his playmaking. Opportunities are sure to be ample, especially with the Hornets being likely to adjust and close out harder on shooters.
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