NBA Player Props: Picks for Anthony Davis and More | August 20, 2020
After the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers were dealt surprising losses in their respective Game 1s, the two teams will be back in action on Thursday, August 20, to try and rebound in the first round of the NBA Playoffs. It’s the Bucks vs. Magic and Lakers vs. Blazers games that we’ll be focusing on in this NBA player props article.
On Wednesday, we had picks for six NBA player props and went 4-2 with those, picking up another 1.52 units. The Philadelphia 76ers still didn’t have an answer for Jayson Tatum and fell to 0-2 in the series against the Boston Celtics. Lou Williams’ 23 points were enough to get him over the 16.5-point mark but not enough to get the LA Clippers a win over the Dallas Mavericks. Combining the 4-2 record from Wednesday with the 4-1 result from Tuesday puts us at 8-3 on player prop picks this NBA Playoffs, which is good for +4.42 units. Let’s see if we can keep the train rolling down the tracks for Thursday.
Nikola Vucevic – Under 22.5 points (-114)
In Game 1 against the Bucks, Orlando Magic big man Nikola Vucevic went off for 35 points and 14 rebounds. It’s the only time this season that Vucevic has posted more than 30 points in a game. Twice during regular-season play before shutdown did Vucevic score 30 points in a game. During the eight seeding games, Vucevic averaged almost 20.4 points per game.
In the SharpSide sports betting app, we find a Vucevic player prop for over/under 22.5 points. That’s one we’re going to take the under on for a few reasons.
We feel the line is a little inflated given Vucevic’s recent performance of scoring 35 points. Vucevic played in three games against the Bucks during the regular season and posted point totals of 21, 21, and 14.
Vucevic and the Magic caught the Bucks sleeping a bit in Game 1 and nearly everything went right for Orlando, including Vucevic shooting 62.5% on his field goals and 62.5% from behind the three-point line, where he knocked down five of eight threes. On the season, Vucevic has a 47.7% field goal percentage. Behind the arc, he’s 33.9%. Having him go off for 62.5% in both areas while attempting many more shot attempts as compared to his season averages seems like an outlier more than anything.
The Bucks are one of the best defensive teams in the NBA, but they let the Magic score 122 on them in Game 1. There is no way that head coach Mike Budenholzer is going to let that happen again, and there’s no way he’s going to let Vucevic go off like he did.
Evan Fournier – Over 17.5 points (-121)
Despite playing more than 35 minutes in a high-scoring game in which his team put up 122 points, Evan Fournier only tallied 9 points in Game 1 against the Bucks. Call it positive regression, call it correlation – whatever the case may be, we like the Fournier player prop on over 17.5 points on Thursday.
We don’t anticipate Vucevic being nearly as productive as he was in Game 1, which leads us to believe that Magic points will need to be scored elsewhere. That’s where Fournier comes in, who averaged 18.5 points per game in the regular season and 20.5 points per game in four competitions against the Bucks.
Anthony Davis – Over 30.5 points, over 1.5 threes
For our last picks of the day, we’re looking at a couple of Anthony Davis player props for Lakers vs. Blazers Game 2. In Game 1, the Portland Trail Blazers upset the Lakers 100-93. Other than LeBron James and his 23-point, 17-rebound, 16-assist triple-double, the Lakers didn’t look good. In fact, James might have had more than 20 assists had his teammates been able to catch a pass or make a shot. One of those bad performers was Davis.
Despite scoring 28 points, Davis did not play well. He shot 33.3% from the floor and missed all of his three-point attempts (5). He even shot just 70% from the free-throw line where he’s a career 80% shooter. It was apparent the Lakers understood how much of a mismatch Davis is for Portland, but he just wasn’t executing as best as he should have. We expect Davis to play better in Game 2, much better. Whether it’s Jusuf Nurkic, Hassan Whiteside, or Wenyen Gabriel, no player for Portland should be able to stop Davis.
Davis racked up 39 minutes in Game 1, second to only the 41 minutes played by James. These two are going to have to continue to play a ton of minutes throughout the playoffs if the Lakers want to have a shot at the title. The supporting cast around them just isn’t that good. When you can’t rely on the scrubs, the stars are going to have to carry all of the workload.
When it comes to three-pointers, Davis is a career 32% shooter and he’s averaging 33% from behind the arc this season. Given how much Nurkic and Whiteside can provide big bodies for the Blazers in the paint around the basket, Davis will be looking to use his athleticism and float around outside which can give him plenty of looks from deep. Could he brick out again? Sure, but it’s not likely and we’ll be taking the over on 1.5 threes for Davis on Thursday.
Lastly, there’s a chance Rajon Rondo plays in Game 2. He’s been upgraded to questionable and could see action. Diving into the RotoGrinders CourtIQ tool, we can see how this could benefit Davis. In 1,657 minutes with Rondo off the court during the regular season, Davis averages 25.8 points per 36 minutes. In 473 minutes with Rondo on the court, Davis averages 31.09 points per 36 minutes and his usage gets a 2.2% bump. We already like the over on 30.5 points for Davis independent of the Rondo news, but if Rondo’s able to play then we like it even more.
All player prop lines mentioned in this article are taken from the SharpSide sports betting app. Download the app today to make player prop picks for your chance to win real prizes for free.