Mike's Past Picks
When Paul George is healthy, he usually plays a ton. He hasn’t missed a game yet this season and has averaged 35 minutes per game. The Clippers have played 11 games with James Harden. George had at least 10 combined rebounds and assists in nine of them. The Kings just played last night and rank inside the top-half of the league in pace of play, so look for George to exploit their tired legs and cash this over.
Desmond Bane has only scored 19 combined points over the last two games, but he’s still averaging 23.6 points for the season. The Grizzlies have been decimated by injuries, leaving Bane with a career-high 29.3 percent usage rate. This is a great matchup for him against the Jazz, who have played at the 11th-fastest pace and have the fifth-worst defensive rating in the league. The last time he faced them in Memphis, Bane scored 37 points. Look for him to get back on track and hit the over.
Max Strus is averaging a career-high 35 minutes per game. He is also shooting 38.5 percent from behind the arc, which has helped him score at least 13 points in seven of his last nine games. The Hawks have played at the third-fastest pace and they have seventh-worst defensive rating in the league. With so much of their attention likely on trying to slow down Darius Garland and Donovan Mitchell, expect Strus to get enough open looks to hit this over.
Alperen Sengun is playing four more minutes per game this season compared to last season. His usage rate has also increased by five percentage points to 26.4 percent. That has helped him scored at least 21 points in six of his last seven games. The Mavericks don’t have much size up front and they have the sixth-worst defensive rating in the league, so look for Sengun to hit this over.
This is a great matchup for Cade Cunningham. The Wizards have played at the second-fastest pace and have the worst defensive rating in the league. In his last game, he faced a Pacers team that has played at the fastest pace and has the third-worst defensive rating. He emerged from that matchup with 31 points on 26 shot attempts. With all of the shot attempts that he can handle likely coming his way again, he has a great opportunity to reach at least 25 points.
Gus Edwards has become a touchdown machine for the Ravens. He has reached the end zone at least one time in each of the last five games. With 10 total carries inside the five-yard line during that span, he was able to total nine touchdowns. The Ravens should have no problem moving the ball, given that the Chargers have allowed the most passing yards per game in the league. That should leave Edwards with multiple opportunities to reach the end zone.
C.J. Stroud has thrived during his rookie season. He has thrown for at least 336 yards in each of the last three games. The Texans have played five games at home and Stroud had at least 306 passing yards in four of them. This is a great matchup for him to have another great stat line, given that the Jaguars have allowed the fourth-most passing yards per game in the league. When Stroud faced them in Week 3 in Jacksonville, he threw for 280 yards on only 30 pass attempts in what was a lopsided win for the Texans.
The Timberwolves have been one of the best teams in the league with Anthony Edwards leading the way. He is shooting 46.7 percent from the field and 84.7 percent from the charity stripe, both of which are on pace to be the best marks of his career. While he has scored at least 27 points in just six of his 14 games, he had two more games in which he just missed with 26 points each. This is a favorable matchup versus the Kings, who have played at the 12th-fastest pace in the league. Last season, he scored at least 27 points in three of four games against them. Look for him to hit at least that total in their first meeting this season.
Cade Cunningham is not efficient, shooting just 40.5 percent from the field this season. However, his 30.8 percent usage rate has enabled him to average 21.4 points per game. In a difficult matchup against the Nuggets in his last game, he produced 27 points over 38 minutes. This is a stellar matchup against the Pacers, who have played at the fastest pace and have the worst defensive rating in the league. While this line is set higher than his season scoring average, the matchup should still help him hit the over.
The Pistons have themselves a building block in Ausar Thompson. The rookie has stormed out of the gate with averages of 11.3 points, 10.1 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.1 steals and 1.7 blocks per game. He has stellar athleticism, which has helped him wreak havoc on defense. The Pacers have played at the fastest pace in the league, so that athleticism could also leave him with plenty of opportunities to attack the rim. In a similarly favorable matchup against the Hawks 10 day ago, Thompson scored 21 points over 35 minutes. Don’t be surprised if he blows past this over.
The Pacers just gave up 152 points to the Hawks on Tuesday. They have played at the fastest pace and have the second-worst defensive rating in the league. Scottie Barnes is averaging 19.6 points per game and has seen his usage rate increase from 20.3 percent last season to 24.6 percent this season. He has the ball in his hands a lot, so look for him to exploit the Pacers’ defense and hit this over.
Mikal Bridges is averaging 20.3 points per game this season, so this might seem like a high number for him to hit. He has scored at least 25 points in just one of his last six games. However, this is a great matchup against the Hawks, who just allowed 157 points to the Pacers on Tuesday. The Hawks have played at the third-fastest pace and have the seventh-worst defensive rating in the league. As one of the Nets’ primary scorers, look for Bridges to have one of his best scoring performances of the season.
A move into the starting lineup has provided a significant boost for Jalen Johnson, who is now averaging 31 minutes per game. That has helped him score at least 15 points in five of his last seven games. Both of these teams rank inside the top-three in the league in pace of play, while the Pacers have the fifth-worst defensive rating. Given his current role, look for Johnson to score at least 15 points again.
Dejounte Murray is averaging 21.8 points per game and shooting 48.5 percent from the field this season. What’s great about him for player props is that he spends a lot of time on the floor. He averaged 36 minutes a game last season and is averaging 35 a game this season. Both of these teams rank inside the top-three in the league in pace of play, while the Pacers have the fifth-worst defensive rating. Expect Murray to have a big night in the scoring column.
The Timberwolves and Knicks both rank inside the top-five in the league in defensive rating. The Knicks have used their defense to get off to an 8-5 start, while the Timberwolves are sitting atop the Western Conference at 9-3. The Timberwolves are a perfect 5-0 at home, which included impressive wins over the Nuggets and Celtics. As good as the Knicks have been, expect the Timberwolves to remain undefeated at home.