Viva Las Vegas. The NBA’s first-ever In-Season Tournament has at last arrived at Sin City, and the semifinals are kicking off with a matchup between two undefeated tournament teams: the Indiana Pacers and the Milwaukee Bucks.
The Pacers upended the favored Celtics on the back of Tyrese Haliburton’s incandescent play, while the Bucks used an outrageous shooting performance to send the Knicks packing.
Best Bucks vs Pacers player props today
- Haliburton Over 27.5 points (-125 at BetRivers)
- Beasley Over 3.5 made threes (-115 at SIA)
- Middleton Under 24.5 PRA (-115 at bet365)
Picks made on December 7 at 1:00 a.m. ET.
Read full analysis of each pick.
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Bucks vs Pacers player props for December 7
Prop bet #1: Superstar
There are no two ways about it. Tyrese Haliburton is a legit superstar.
I got burned backing Haliburton against the Celtics, but I still believe the assessment was sound. He's now an offensive player with no limits, his production can’t be muted by doubling, or by switching big defenders onto him. He cooked Derrick White and Jrue Holiday alike while still getting his teammates going.
And all that while having to use an inhaler at halftime due to the illness that was weighing him down. Now he should be healthier and brimming with more confidence than ever, and the drop off from Boston's perimeter defenders to Malik Beasley and Damian Lillard is one of the steepest cliffs in the NBA.
But one thing that both Boston and Milwaukee do have in common, is the tendency to concede the above-the-break three, Haliburton’s favorite shot.
Haliburton was too passive in the first half against Boston, and good players don’t make the same mistake in back-to-back games. Tyrese should come out looking for his shot early and often, and I have zero confidence in the Bucks starters to slow him down.
Haliburton is averaging 29.8 points over his last 10 games. I like his chances to get to 30 on Thursday.
Tyrese Haliburton prop: Over 27.5 points (-125 at BetRivers)
Prop bet #2: Easy Beasley
Malik Beasley has had a star-crossed few seasons. He was a regular with the Timberwolves before landing with the Jazz as part of the Rudy Gobert trade. He was then flipped from the Jazz to the Lakers, but he struggled all of last season, and L.A. let him go for nothing at the end of the year.
So when the Milwaukee Bucks turned around and signed Beasley for the minimum, it wasn’t a surprise. Every team needs shooting. What was a surprise was that Beasley was immediately elevated into the starting lineup alongside Lillard.
Though the defense has been porous, the gamble has paid off. With the spacing that Lillard and Giannis Antetokounmpo provide, Beasley is having the best shooting season of his career. He’s up to 46% from downtown on the season on 6.6 attempts per game.
However, Beasley has really hit his stride over the last two weeks. He’s averaging 4.6 made threes per game since November 26 and has not hit fewer than four in any game in that span.
He was part of Milwaukee’s historic 3-point barrage that secured their victory over the Knicks in the quarterfinal, going 6-for-10 from deep.
Malik Beasley prop: Over 3.5 made threes (-115 at SIA)
Prop bet #3: Khris middling
In most cases, I’ve been going with Overs in matchups where the Pacers have been concerned, but for Khris Middleton, I’m making an exception.
Middleton has been an All-Star talent for much of his career, and his returning to that level is crucial if the Bucks are going to compete with the best of the Eastern Conference in the spring, but while he's made progress dealing with his lower body injuries, he’s still far away from the player he was previously.
Middleton is averaging a career-low in minutes (21.1) for the second season in a row. His shot attempts, rebounds, and assists are down across the board. Overall, he's averaging just 21.5 total points, rebounds, and assists over his last 10 games.
While he broke out against the Knicks, he only managed to eclipse 25 combined points, rebounds, and assists because he was hot from three and tallied seven assists.
The Pacers proved in their game against the Celtics that they can defend high-level wing players if they put their mind to it. I like the young legs on Indiana to hold Middleton to a low-productivity game.
Khris Middleton prop: Under 24.5 points + rebounds + assists (-115 at bet365)
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