Best NBA Player Props Today: Shy Away from SGA

NBA player prop lines move more than you think over the course of a playoff series, case-and-point Shai Gilgeous-Alexander's points prop. Our NBA betting picks believe it's moved too much in one direction and that it's time to reverse course tonight.

May 15, 2024 • 11:55 ET • 4 min read
Oklahoma City Thunder NBA Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
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Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks will travel to Paycom Center for a pivotal Game 5 against Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and the Oklahoma City Thunder, and we have searched through the NBA odds to find you the best player prop bets for both Game 5s on Wednesday.

The Celtics-Cavaliers Game 5 will have to take a backseat today, as I found more edges in the Western Conference than in the Eastern Conference tonight. I'm here to win units, not spread the love among all the games.

Find out why I'm backing NBA player props for Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, P.J. Washington, and Chet Holmgren in my free NBA picks and predictions for Wednesday, May 15.

Best NBA player props today

Picks made on 5-15 at 11:30 a.m. ET.
Read full analysis of each pick.

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NBA player props for May 15

Prop bet #1: Off Day for SGA

Hitting the button on an Under for a superstar's points prop is consistently the most difficult thing you will have to do in the NBA Playoffs. However, regardless of the name power, there's a certain number for every player where we should bet the Under. With Shai Gilgeous-Alexander trading at 31.5 (+100) for the Under, that's the side I'm betting on. 

Gilgeous-Alexander has gone Over his points total in all four games against the Dallas Mavericks, but initially, this total was trading at 28.5. If Gilgeous-Alexander had been trading at 31.5 in all four games, he would've only gone Over the total in two of the four games.

At 31.5, I like the Under for Gilgeous-Alexander because nothing is coming easy for him in this series. The minutes and usage are high, but he is consistently having to make tough mid-range jumpers to go Over his points total. With the rim protection of Daniel Gafford and Dereck Lively, you aren't seeing any easy layups around the rim for Gilgeous-Alexander; he is earning every bucket.

Not only is every shot tough for SGA, but the pressure to carry the offensive workload should drop a bit as the Oklahoma City Thunder will play Game 5 at home. On the road in the NBA Playoffs, you lean on your superstars, and at home, you usually get better offensive output from all of your role players. Game 5 shifts back to Oklahoma City, but the total is one point higher for Gilgeous-Alexander than we saw in Game 4 in Dallas.

Even with a minutes projection of 43 minutes, we still have an edge on the Under for Gilgeous-Alexander's points prop. That speaks volumes because he hasn't eclipsed 42 minutes in any of the four games played so far. Gilgeous-Alexander is projected to score 30.1 points on Wednesday against the Mavericks, which allows us to price the Under 31.5 points at -137 in the Shai Gilgeous-Alexander odds, but it is available at +100 on DraftKings.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander prop: Under 31.5 points (+100 at DraftKings)

Prop bet #2: Washington wakes up

P.J. Washington is having a strong series against the Thunder, scoring 20+ points in his last three games and attempting at least 11 three-pointers in each of those games. It really comes down to how the Thunder are choosing to guard Luka Doncic, and with Washington's assists total trading at 1.5 (+100) on Wednesday, I'm playing the Over.

Washington is heavily involved in the Mavericks' offensive game plan in this series, and it shows in his usage percentage. In the regular season with the Mavericks, Washington had a usage percentage of 16%, but in this series against the Thunder, it is much higher at 21.1%.

Washington is the player the Thunder defense is willing to concede shots to, and it has led to Washington attacking from beyond the arc. The thing is, Washington is open for even more shots than he is taking, but he doesn't want to jack up 15+ three-pointers per game.

This creates a scenario where Washington is also putting the ball on the floor and driving into the lane instead of settling for a 3-pointer. Once he is in the lane, he is surrounded by lob threats in Gafford and Lively, who can play above the rim and are finishing a ton of dunks on this Thunder defense. Watch a condensed version of Game 4 and see how many assists Doncic and Kyrie Irving collected on dunks to these two players. These are high-value potential assists, and they are also available to Washington.

Washington had zero assists in Game 4, but he still had three potential assists. What really stands out in this series is the eight potential assists Washington had in Game 2. That's a big number for someone trading with a total of 1.5 (+100). The minutes and usage are there for Washington; we just need the potential assists to convert.

Washington is projected to have 2.1 assists on Wednesday against the Thunder, which allows us to price the P.J. Washington odds on Over 1.5 assists at -152, but it is available at +100 on bet365.

P.J. Washington prop: Over 1.5 assists (+100 at bet365)

Prop bet #3: Bet on Chet

I think Josh Giddey's minutes in this series are over. The Thunder didn't start him in the second half of Game 4, opting for Isaiah Joe instead. Down the stretch, when the Thunder made their push in the fourth quarter against the Mavericks, it was with Cason Wallace on the floor. Betting on the Chet Holmgren odds to go Over the total of 2.5 assists (+150) is a ricochet effect of Giddey's reduced minutes.

The Thunder as a team are having a hard time getting quick buckets at the rim, as everything is contested. Whether it's Washington, Derrick Jones Jr., Lively, or Gafford, nothing is easy. When Giddey is on the floor, the Mavericks are putting Washington on Holmgren and Gafford on Giddey. Gafford just leaves Giddey open on the perimeter and can patrol the paint as a free safety. The Thunder can't allow this to happen, so they made a change to start the second half of Game 4.

By inserting Joe, Wallace, or Aaron Wiggins into the lineup, the Thunder force Gafford to be the primary defender on Holmgren. This is where the assists prop for Holmgren comes into play because Holmgren needs to draw Gafford or Lively away from the hoop and weaken the rim protection for his teammates. Whether it's forcing them to guard the 3-point line or attacking them in certain actions that focus their attention on Holmgren, he should be able to create open looks for his teammates at the rim by drawing their attention.

The other thing I like about this prop is that we have an edge on this number with Holmgren only playing 34 minutes in Game 5. To me, that is his floor as the Thunder begin to phase out Giddey. Also, with the game being played in Oklahoma City, any potential assists from Holmgren to role players for a 3-pointer could convert at a higher rate.

Holmgren is projected to have 2.6 assists on Wednesday against the Mavericks, which isn't quite the three dimes we need for a green checkmark, but it's the +150 price point that is the key to this wager. Based on this projection, we can price Holmgren at +111 to go Over the total of 2.5 assists, but it is available at bet365 at +150.

Chet Holmgren prop: Over 2.5 assists (+150 at bet365)

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