Two conference semifinal series get underway in the NBA on Monday night as the Sixers visit the Heat in the East and the Mavericks visit the Suns in the West.
Here’s a pair of player prop picks for each game, odds from BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review), one of BMR’s top-rated sportsbooks.
Philadelphia 76ers vs. Miami Heat, Game 1
Monday, May 02, 2022 – 07:30 PM EDT at FTX Arena
James Harden (76ers)
- Over/Under 42.5 Points + Rebounds + Assists
TNT has the telecast of this Eastern Conference semifinal opener between the fourth-seeded 76ers and No. 1 Miami Heat.
The NBA odds are up to -7.5 – it had been around -4 but then we learned that NBA scoring champion and MVP finalist Joel Embiid was not going to play at least the first two games (he’s not even in Miami) because of an orbital fracture and concussion.
For some reason, Coach Doc Rivers still had Embiid on the court late in Game 6 against Toronto on Thursday even though the Sixers were blowing out the Raptors. Rivers actually had the audacity to justify that: "Everyone was in there, and the other team had all their guys in, too," he said afterward.
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“After Joel made the shot and did the airplane [the prior possession] if you watch the game, I turned and said, 'I'm calling a timeout on the next possession.' I'm not upset that he was in. You can make that a big deal if you want. But just go look at every team, and every game, and their guys are in until about the four-, three-minute mark. That's what it is."
The Prop Pick
I certainly don’t give Philly much of a chance of winning any games without Embiid in the series. Fellow All-Star James Harden, who didn’t shoot well for much of the Raptors series, says he will need to be more aggressive to make up for the 30 points or so per night that Embiid usually scores.
Harden did have his best game in Game 6 against Toronto with 22 points, 15 assists and six rebounds. He only took 12 shots, though, and I’d be willing to bet that number is closer to 20 if not more without Embiid.
NBA Prop Pick: James Harden Over 42.5 Pts + Rebs + Asts (-112) at BetOnline
Jimmy Butler (Heat)
- Over/Under 5.5 Assists
The Heat won’t be at full strength for Game 1, either, as starting point guard Kyle Lowry will miss it with a hamstring injury. He injured that in Game 3 of the first round and hasn’t played since. The club isn’t giving a timetable. Lowry is from Philadelphia and almost chose to sign with the Sixers this past offseason.
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While Gabe Vincent will surely take Lowry’s starting spot again, I think Jimmy Butler will be the primary playmaker and that’s why I like his assists total of just 5.5. Butler is technically listed as questionable for Monday with a knee issue, but he’s playing.
Butler’s assists high in the Hawks series was eight in Game 3 when Lowry left. I’d expect a similar number here – plus, it obviously will be easier as a whole for other Heat players to score off Butler passes because of no Embiid in the middle.
NBA Prop Pick: Jimmy Butler Over 5.5 Assists (-143) at BetOnline
Dallas Mavericks vs. Phoenix Suns
Monday, May 02, 2022 – 10:00 PM EDT at Footprint Center
- To Have 12+ Rebounds And Phoenix To Win
TNT also has the telecast of this Western Conference matchup between top-seeded Phoenix and No. 4 Dallas. No major injuries to report since Suns All-Star Devin Booker returned from his ankle injury in Phoenix’s 115-109 Game 6 win in New Orleans to finish that series. Booker didn’t look that great, though.
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We will call this the 2018 draft parlay play because Suns center Deandre Ayton was the No. 1 overall pick that year and Luka Doncic went No. 3 to Atlanta but then was immediately traded to Dallas.
Dallas essentially only has one true center, Dwight Powell, and he’s undersized and usually plays under 20 minutes per game. The Mavs also have 7-foot-3 Boban Marjanovic but he never plays. Maxi Kleber is really a power forward.
The Prop Pick
Thus, I think Ayton will dominate in the paint. He sure did against the Pelicans, averaging 20.5 points on 70.3 percent shooting along with 9.8 rebounds per game.
“I think we’re much better at finding him as a team,” Coach Monty Williams said of Ayton. “Our first year, I’m not quite sure he was ready for that. And two, we weren’t ready. We didn’t take advantage of it when teams would put a smaller guy on him.
"Now I think there’s some synergy there. The guys who have the ball look for it but then he’s so much better at sealing and wanting the ball and being big.” In two regular-season games against Dallas, Ayton averaged 13.5 points and 15.0 rebounds.
NBA Prop Pick: Deandre Ayton to Have 12+ Rebounds and Suns Win (+134) at BetOnline
- Over/Under 30.5 Points
As for Doncic, he’s obviously spectacular. He’s averaging 32.7 points through his first 16 career playoff games. The only player to average more points per game in playoff history is Michael Jordan (33.4). That said, 30.5 points is a big number against such a good Suns defense.
They also have two terrific defenders they can stick on Doncic in Defensive Player of the Year finalist Mikal Bridges and Jae Crowder (and probably some Ayton as well). Doncic played just one regular-season game vs. the Suns this year and had 28 points.
He’ll probably get around there on Monday but not to 31.
NBA Prop Pick: Luka Doncic Under 30.5 Points (-118) at BetOnline
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.