NBA Player Props: Picks for Jayson Tatum, Joel Embiid, and More | August 21, 2020

Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics
Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics (photo credit: USA TODAY Sports)

Welcome back to another round of NBA player prop picks from SharpSide. We’ll once again be focusing on the late games on the day’s slate, which means we’ll be eyeing the Celtics vs. 76ers and Clippers vs. Mavericks matchups.

The NBA player prop picks went 2-2 on Thursday, which puts us at 10-5 in the NBA Playoffs. Thursday’s plays gave us another 0.24 units to the good and we’re up 4.67 units overall. On Thursday, Anthony Davis had a monster game in a blowout win by the Los Angeles Lakers over the Portland Trail Blazers. The Orlando Magic suffered a blowout loss of their own and we missed both plays there, as Nikola Vucevic went off again and Evan Fournier couldn’t find the bucket.

For Friday, August 21, we’ve got a trio of NBA player props from the Celtics vs. 76ers game and one from the Clippers vs. Mavericks game. Let’s take a look.

The NBA player prop lines mentioned in this article are taken from the free-to-use SharpSide sports betting app.

Jayson Tatum – Under 28.5 points (-115)

They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Well, call us insane because we’re going back to the counter to take a Jayson Tatum player prop that is under on points despite the fact that he’s easily cleared the over in the first two games this series against the Philadelphia 76ers. For Friday, we’re taking the under on 28.5 points for Tatum’s player prop.

The 76ers absolutely have to contain Tatum. Philadelphia is down 0-2 in the series and things don’t look good for them. Tatum has struggled against the Sixers in the past, but that’s been when the team has had Ben Simmons to play lockdown defense on him. Without Simmons, Tatum is having his way with the 76ers, but we’re still going the other way on this one.

It’s a must that Philadelphia defends Tatum better. They need to let other Boston players try and beat them, especially without Gordon Hayward in the mix. Boston’s top guy, and one of the top scorers in the league right now, is Tatum. Lock him down, double team him, and make someone like Kemba Walker or Jaylen Brown beat you.

The player prop line on Tatum’s points has increased each game over the last three. It was 22.5 on August 11, then 24.5 on August 17, then 27.5 on August 19. It’s now 28.5 and feels a little inflated. One thing we like about taking the under on 28.5 points for Tatum is that there’s plenty of room for him to still get his while going under. Tatum has scored a combined 55 points in the first two games off 32- and 33-point performances. He could go for 20 or more points in Game 3, have a solid day but still come in under 28.5.

Marcus Smart – Over 12.5 points (-116)

With Hayward out, Marcus Smart figures to slot into the starting lineup once again. That’s what happened in Game 2 and we expect the same for Game 3, as there’s no need for Boston to change things up given that they’re up 2-0 against Philadelphia and have things working in their favor.

If you looked at Smart’s minutes played in this series, you’d notice that he played 32 minutes in Game 1 and 30 minutes in Game 2. You’d then wonder why he didn’t log more minutes in Game 2 having been in the starting lineup with Hayward out. Well, Game 2 was a blowout that saw the Celtics win by 27 points. Smart didn’t need to be on the court in the last several minutes of the game and he wasn’t. Smart’s playing time is a big reason why we like the over on his player prop of 12.5 points.

Looking at the Celtics vs. 76ers odds, we can see the Celtics are 5-point favorites on the point spread and the total is around 216 at many sportsbooks. That puts this game’s outcome in the range of 110.5-105.5 in favor of Boston. Factoring in how important this game is for the Sixers, this one feels as though it will be a close one, which means we can expect Smart to get those added minutes at the end of the game.

Smart is averaging 12.9 points per game this season and has been a bit out of form during the NBA bubble. We know he loves to shoot and we expect a better performance from him in Game 3.

Joel Embiid – Over 29.5 points (-109), over 12.5 rebounds (-112)

Everything the 76ers do on offense goes through Joel Embiid. It has to with Simmons out. Down 0-2 in the series and in desperate need of a victory in Game 3, we expect Embiid to have a big game.

Embiid has 60 points and 26 rebounds in two games against Boston this series. He played more than 37 minutes in Game 1 and more than 34 minutes in Game 2 that resulted in a blowout. With how important this Game 3 is, expect Embiid to get a ton of minutes once again, and he’ll be getting those minutes against a team that struggles against elite big men in scoring and rebounding.

We know the minutes will be there, we know how important this game is, and we know the Celtics don’t have anyone that can guard Embiid or out-rebound him. Give us the over on Embiid’s player props for 29.5 points and 12.5 rebounds.

Ivica Zubac – Under 7.5 rebounds (-115)

Montrezl Harrell is back for the LA Clippers, having played 15 minutes in Game 1 and almost 22 minutes in Game 2 against the Dallas Mavericks. As a player who averaged 27.8 minutes per game in the regular season, we expect Harrell’s time on the court to continue to increase. He missed all of the seeding games due to the death of his grandmother and now has two games under his belt to get his conditioning back.

Look for Harrell to get 24 minutes or more as long as this one doesn’t turn into a blowout. Looking at the Clippers vs. Mavericks odds, we find a point spread of 5 points and a total of around 231. These teams split the first two games in high-scoring affairs and we expect another competitive one on Friday that Harrell should see a ton of run in.

With Harrell on the court more, Ivica Zubac’s minutes should take a hit. During the seeding games, Zubac topped 24 minutes played in five of the eight games, and he played more than 21 minutes in six of the eight games. In Game 1 of this series, Zubac played more than 22 minutes and then played a little more than 18 minutes in Game 2. During the regular season, Zubac averaged 18.4 minutes per game, so 18-19 minutes feels more in line with where he’ll be at for Game 3 and going forward.

Less time on the court likely means less production for Zubac. We feel this Zubac player prop should be at 6.5 rebounds and even then we could make the same case to take the under on rebounds for Zubac.

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.

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