Today’s NBA Player Prop Picks: Ayton Dominates Inside in His Return

Deandre Ayton has missed the last three games but returns tonight against the Suns' rival, and a small foe, in the Mavericks. Ayton's ability to own the paint in this matchup highlights our NBA player prop picks for tonight.

Last Updated: Jan 26, 2023 1:22 PM ET Read Time: 4 min
Deandre Ayton Phoenix Suns NBA
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

We’ve got six games on tonight’s NBA card for hungry basketball bettors to dig into, and that means there is plenty of value to be found in the player prop market.

Expect Jayson Tatum to bounce back when the Celtics take on the Knicks, while Darius Garland will let it fly against the Rockets, and Deandre Ayton should make his presence felt in the paint when he returns to the court against the Mavericks.

Here are my best NBA player prop bets for Thursday, January 26.

NBA player props for January 26

Picks made on 1/26/2023 at 1:00 p.m. ET.
Click on each pick to jump to the full analysis.

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Today’s best NBA player props

The odds widgets below represent the best odds currently available for each betting market at regulated sportsbooks.

Lucky looks

Jayson Tatum maybe hasn’t been the most efficient shooter recently but that hasn’t done anything to stymie his confidence. I expect the Boston Celtics superstar to keep letting it fly from downtown when they visit the New York Knicks on Thursday night.

Tatum has been a solid 3-point shooter for the Celtics this season, hitting 35.3% of his attempts from deep, but he is coming off a game against the Heat where he went just 2-for-5 from 3-point range. However, that hasn’t been the norm lately.

Tatum has been attempting an average of 11 threes per game in the eight games prior to Tuesday night’s matchup against the Heat, hitting 37.5% of those attempts and four or more threes six times over that stretch.

He’ll get a chance to return to those numbers against the Knicks, who give up a lot of looks from the perimeter. In fact, only the Rockets and the Magic allow more than the Knicks' 37.9 3-point attempts per game.

The Knicks also had trouble slowing down Tatum in their only other meeting this season, where he went 6-for-13 from beyond the arc in Madison Square Garden back on Nov. 5.

Getting a plus-money return makes this a solid play tonight.

Jayson Tatum Prop: Over 3.5 made 3-pointers (+110)

Blast off

Cleveland Cavaliers star guard Donovan Mitchell is likely to sit out tonight’s matchup against the Houston Rockets. Luckily, the Cavaliers have another star guard in Darius Garland, and he’ll be in a prime position to take advantage of this matchup with the Rockets.

Garland is averaging 21.7 points on 44.3% shooting this season, which includes an impressive 39.3% from 3-point range. Garland also hasn’t been shy about taking a few extra shots when Mitchell is out of the lineup. In the seven games he’s played without Mitchell this season, he’s upped his field goal attempts per game from 16.7 to 19.4.

The best way to attack this Houston defense is on the perimeter. The Rockets have arguably the worst 3-point defense in the NBA, ranking dead last in opponent 3-point attempts per game while ranking 22nd in opponent 3-point shooting percentage.

Overall, Garland has been in a groove when it comes to the 3-ball, hitting 39% of his 8.2 attempts from deep per game over his last five contests. He’s hit three or more threes three times over that stretch and four times in the seven games without Mitchell.

This matchup against the Rockets' defense is the best yet. Back Garland to go Over his made threes prop tonight with confidence.

Darius Garland Prop: Over 2.5 made 3-pointers (-120)

Bright frontcourt 

Deandre Ayton is set to return to the lineup for the Phoenix Suns after missing the last three games with an illness and the Suns’ center could be in for a big game tonight when they host Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks.

The Suns have done a solid job of navigating the schedule with both Ayton and star guard Devin Booker sidelined recently, coming into this one winners of four in a row. Now they get the boost of Ayton back in the paint, which is where he should put in some good work tonight.

The Mavericks are struggling, having lost five of their last six overall, and one of their biggest issues is on the glass. With Christian Wood sidelined with a thumb injury, Doncic is the Mavs' only reliable rebounder. When your point guard is your best rebounder, you’re going to have problems.

Dallas ranks dead last in the NBA when it comes to rebounding rate and 20th in opponent rebounds per game. It also ranks 16th in opponent points in the paint.

Ayton is averaging 9.9 rebounds per game this season and had grabbed double-digit boards in five of his previous six games. With his rebounding total set at 9.5 and juiced to the Over, let’s find a little more value by backing him to record a double-double tonight.

In two games against the Mavs this season Ayton is averaging 19 points and 9.5 rebounds, recording one double-double in those games. He has 22 double-doubles in 40 games played. Ayton is a great bet to get No. 23 tonight.

Deandre Ayton Prop: To record a double-double (+105)

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