NBA lineups are in a constant state of flux due to players entering and leaving the league's health and safety protocols, but the chaotic situation has actually created plenty of value when it comes to NBA betting.
In particular, the NBA player prop bets market — as we can take advantage of situations where some players are forced to step up in the absence of teammates while others are able to take advantage of the backups they find themselves matched up against.
That's where we're looking for a betting edge with our best NBA player prop picks for Monday, December 27.
NBA player props for December 27
Picks made on 12/27/2021 at 11:25 a.m. ET.
Click on each pick to jump to the full analysis.
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Today’s best NBA player props
Man among backups
The Boston Celtics already had plenty of players in the league's protocols and just added All-Star forward Jayson Tatum to that list today.
Thankfully they activated Al Horford from that list on Saturday and while he sat out Boston's game that night, to work on his conditioning, he should be good to go today against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The Timberwolves are decimated by COVID-19 at the moment with point guard Patrick Beverley expected to be their only regular starter in their lineup today. The T-Wolves are one of the worst rebounding teams around, ranking 27th in the league in rebounding rate. They'll be even worse on the glass tonight with their top two rebounders in Karl-Anthony Towns (9.1 rebounds per game) and Jarred Vanderbilt (8.6 rpg) ruled out.
With Horford averaging 7.8 boards per game this season, take the Over on his rebounds total tonight.
Pick: Al Horford Over 7.5 rebounds (+115 at DraftKings)
Dance of the unicorn
The Dallas Mavericks and Portland Trail Blazers are both very shorthanded as they face off tonight at the MODA Center. The Blazers just added big men Jusuf Nurkic and Cody Zeller to the health and safety protocols list to bring their total number to seven. They're also still without guard C.J. McCollum, who is recovering from a collapsed lung. while All-NBA point guard Damian Lillard is listed as questionable for personal reasons.
Dallas has six players out due to protocols, including Luka Doncic and Tim Hardaway — who combine for more than 40 ppg on almost 35 field goal attempts per contest. Thankfully for Mavs fans, power forward Kristaps Porzingis returned from a toe injury on Christmas Day — and dropped 27 points.
Porzingis struggled to connect on his shots from the perimeter but went 8 for 13 from inside the arc, while also going 11 of 13 from the charity stripe. Expect Porzingis to pick up the scoring slack and go Over his points total against a Blazers squad that ranks 27th in the league in defensive rating.
Pick: Kristaps Porzingis Over 23.5 points (-110 at FanDuel)
James Harden missed four straight games (including three in a row after entering COVID protocols) but if you expected him to return with a bit of extra holiday weight and rust on Christmas Day... you would have been wrong.
The Beard came back with a vengeance, scoring 36 points while adding 10 assists and 10 rebounds in a 122-115 win against the Lakers. The Nets stayed in Los Angeles and will face off against the Clippers tonight.
Brooklyn will need another big performance from Harden, with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving currently on the protocol list and Irving not set to make his season debut until next month. Harden struggled to score at times earlier this year, especially with the emphasis from the league on not calling ticky-tack fouls, but he's been finding a way to get to the line lately.
In his first five games of the season, Harden took just 15 free throw attempts but in six games this month he has taken 63.
Let's not forget that this is a guy who led the league in scoring with more than 34 ppg in back-to-back seasons in 2019 and 2020 and that he took on more of a facilitator role alongside KD in Brooklyn. With Durant out, expect him to revert to his high-scoring ways especially against a Clippers squad that is missing its best perimeter defender in Paul George.
Pick: James Harden Over 27.5 points (-115 at DraftKings)
Did you know that if you played today’s NBA props as a parlay, you could win $66.74 on a $10 bet?
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