Back to the grind.
After focusing on some of the game legends last night with NBA player props focused on LeBron James and Kevin Durant, I’m spotlighting a few of the young up-and-coming or unheralded players in the league with today's free NBA picks.
With nine games on the slate, I’ve poured over the NBA odds at every sportsbook and have landed on bets for Mikal Bridges, Brandon Miller, and Max Strus.
Best NBA player props today
- Bridges Under 23.5 pts (-113 at FanDuel)
- Miller Over 1.5 threes (-180 at bet365)
- Strus Over 12.5 pts (-110 at DraftKings)
Picks made on November 30 at 2:00 a.m. ET.
Read full analysis of each pick.
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NBA player props for November 30
Prop bet #1: Bridges defers
Mikal Bridges is a player any NBA team would love to have. He defends, he’s a good teammate, he’s an iron man, and he’s developed into a strong individual scorer. When Bridges first got traded to the Brooklyn Nets last season, he went on a scoring tear that had many thinking he was a future lock for the All-Star team.
That’s cooled off a bit, though Bridges has been very effective this season. But there’s been another Net who has stolen his limelight from, at least when he’s been healthy: Cam Thomas. Thomas is a flamethrower in human form, a player who seems to score 40 points every time he’s given the opportunity to produce.
Even though Thomas is not as good a player as Bridges, he has a trait that Bridges lacks: a complete lack of self-conscience. Bridges' comfort zone as a player is to be a secondary option, a supplementary player who supports a star. Thomas is an old-school, unrepentant gunner.
So, Bridges' scoring average took a jump when Thomas went out with an ankle injury by nearly three points. Now Cam is returning to action on Thursday, but Bridges' prop has remained static at 23.5 points. While playing alongside Thomas this season, Bridges has averaged just 20.4.
Bank on Bridges to take a backseat again with Cam back in the rotation.
Mikal Bridges prop: Under 23.5 points (-113 at FanDuel)
Prop bet #2: Miller time
The Charlotte Hornets don’t have a lot to be happy about right now. They’re 5-11, LaMelo Ball just suffered another severe ankle injury, and their most prominent role in the In-Season Tournament was to be fodder for the New York Knicks' attempts at snagging a wild-card spot.
But there has been a lone bright spot: the play of Brandon Miller. When the Hornets took Miller with the No. 2 overall pick in this year’s draft, they were roundly criticized for passing over Scoot Henderson, viewed by many as the superior prospect but a perhaps awkward fit alongside LaMelo.
While draft arguments aren’t settled in a manner of 15 games, it’s inarguable who has been the superior player to this point, and that’s Miller. Miller has already showcased all the necessary wing skills at 6-foot-9 that ensure he has a floor as a high-level starter.
He is routinely defending the other team’s best player on any given night and is game for it. He’s also showcased an incredibly comfortable rhythm as a shooter, coming off screens and moving without the ball. While he has a long way to go as a self-creator before he can ascend to stardom, he’s a good player already, which is about as big a compliment as you can pay to a rookie.
Miller is averaging three treys a game over his last five outings, and with Ball set to be out for an extended time, the Hornets are going to need his shooting more than ever. The Nets are also a team that invites opponent threes in volume, with 39.1% of all opponent offense coming from behind the arc per Cleaning the Glass.
Brandon Miller prop: Over 1.5 made threes (-175 at bet365)
Prop bet #3: The Strus is loose
The Cleveland Cavaliers flamed out of the playoffs last year and the issue was easily identified. While they had put together a top four that would make many teams envious, they were staring at a black hole at small forward. They moved quickly in free agency and locked up Max Strus, who has filled the role ably ever since.
Strus is a 3-point specialist, but he’s also not a one-trick pony. He’s a solid defender on the wing and also has a developing floor game. But most importantly, you can’t simply take him out of the offense by face-guarding him or closing out hard.
He demonstrated time and time again during his tenure with the Miami Heat that he’s unafraid to catch and blow right by a closeout and slam it home for two. That makes him a good matchup against the Portland Trail Blazers, who are an okay first-effort team when it comes to defense, but once they have to make a second rotation, or a low man has to help at the rim, things go wrong.
The Blazers are decent at defending 3-point attempts, but they get murdered at the rim, allowing the second-highest frequency of shots in the restricted area per Cleaning the Glass. Strus can punish that.
He’s also begun to develop two-man game chemistry with Evan Mobley, with the Cavaliers brass no doubt envisioning a similar symbiosis in the future between Mobley and Strus that imitates the one that he had with Bam Adebayo.
Strus is averaging 14.8 points per game over his last 10 and has 13 or more in seven of those. The Cavaliers have been up and down this season but Strus has been rock solid.
Max Strus prop: Over 12.5 points (-110 at DraftKings)
Not intended for use in MA.
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