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The Indiana Pacers continued their meteoric rise with a nine-point win against the Milwaukee Bucks, while the Los Angeles Lakers pummeled the New Orleans Pelicans to set up the first-ever NBA In-Season Tournament championship.
Here are our favorite NBA player prop picks for Friday.
Both Banchero and teammate Franz Wagner scored career-highs in the last couple of weeks, which is a welcome sign for Magic fans. Banchero poured in 42 points against the Cavs on Wednesday during his last game and is averaging 29.7 points in three games to start the month.
The Detroit Pistons lost 18 straight games—yes, seriously—and have lost contact with all of the defensive principles they started the year with. They’re 24th in defensive rating and falling toward the bottom as constant adjustments to the rotation have not resulted in success. Big man Jalen Duren is also out with an ankle injury, which will leave them thin on the interior.
Young and the Atlanta Hawks have the fifth-best offensive rating and rank second in points per game. Young is the primary catalyst of their offense and averages 27.2 points per night, including 30.4 (and seven games of over 27.5) in his last 12 games. He also scored 30+ in three straight games, which makes an alternate line of 30+ intriguing.
The Philadelphia 76ers are one of the best teams in the league and will tear apart a weak Hawks defense. Joel Embiid is also fresh off a 50-point explosion and will score with ease, which puts pressure on Young to match his scoring output. We believe he can do just that and will go over.
The reigning Defensive Player of the Year averages 19.8 points per night and scored 61 points in his last two games. But despite his scoring trending upward recently, we don’t like his matchup against a Minnesota Timberwolves team that gives up the fewest points per game (105.3).
The Wolves can throw either one of Rudy Gobert at Karl-Anthony Towns at Jackson Jr. both of which (but especially Gobert) can cause real problems for him. Desmond Bane also scored 49 points in his last game and should be ultra-aggressive from the opening tip, which could result in fewer shots for Jackson.
Returning visitors will know that we’re big fans of Sengun assists. The 21-year-old Turkish center has a rare blend of vision and touch that makes him one of the best passing big men in the league, behind only Nikola Jokic and Domantas Sabonis. He cashed 6+ assists in three of his last five outings, which is a strong precedent considering the odds for this line.
The Houston Rockets are only 18th in field goal percentage (47%), but Sengun has been outspoken in his admiration for Jokic and will be motivated to have a great game. He only recorded four assists against Denver a week and a half ago but notched eight just a few days before that, and we believe he can get back to that level on Friday.
Sabonis averages 19 points per game and scored 26 his last time out, which ended a four-game streak of unders. He cashed the over twice (both times scoring 24+) in three games against the Phoenix Suns last year and should be the focal point of the offense, right alongside De’Aaron Fox, tonight.
The Suns are excellent on offense and rebound well but have a glaring weakness on the interior. Their activity on the wing allows them to survive, but their loss against the Los Angeles Lakers was another piece of evidence that showed they are relatively helpless against dominant big men. Sabonis needs to be ready for a scrap with Jusuf Nurkic, but he’s skilled enough to assert himself and take advantage of Phoenix’s weakness.
Grant is a sports and sports betting journalist who prides himself on delivering breaking news and insightful analyses of the industry. Grant graduated from Virginia Tech in 2021 and is feverishly pursuing his ambitions in the sports betting field.
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