Prop bet #1: Terry finds his guys
Trading Terry Rozier may have been a salary dump for the Hornets, but the Miami Heat genuinely needed the veteran point guard. His impact has been felt immediately in South Beach, averaging 12.6 points, 5.6 assists, and 4.6 rebounds in nine games since that trade.
His assist numbers have been consistent, handing out five in his first game and at least matching that in six of his next eight games. This assist prop remains stuck at 5.5 with the Under priced as more likely because Rozier has dished out exactly five assists in four of his nine chances with Miami.
However, his afternoon should be a quicker game with more possessions than usual for the Heat. Credit the Boston Celtics for that, the No. 9 pace in the NBA in the last 10 games.
Furthermore, this afternoon timing should put the ball in Rozier’s hands more often. Roll your eyes at this thought if you wish, but younger players tend to struggle more in afternoon games.
No one in the NBA likes them — one could wonder why any NBA games are played on Super Bowl Sunday — but younger players have the least experience with playing through nap time.
Assume Jaime Jaquez Jr. and Caleb Martin have lower usage rates today, simply bumping up Rozier’s as a result. With this assists prop not inflated — Rozier’s points prop is at 15.5, a bucket too high for confidence — the value becomes clear.
Terry Rozier prop: Over 5.5 assists (+120 at DraftKings)
Prop bet #2: Snipin’ in South Beach
It’s not yet showing itself in the standings, but the Heat are finding a better form lately. And it very well may show itself before long, with the 76ers plummeting without Joel Embiid and the Magic perhaps still short of being ready for the crucible of meaningful springtime basketball.
The Heat could climb out of the play-in before April.
If they do not, however, blame the dichotomy of their 3-point defense.
In the last 10 games — again, Rozier was traded for nine games ago, hence this context — only the Bulls have forced a higher rate of 3-point attempts. Of all field-goal attempts against Miami, 43.6% of them have been from beyond the arc.
The problem for the Heat is they rank only No. 11 in 3-point percentage, 37.8% of those looks hitting the bottom of the net.
No one on Boston is more poised to capitalize on that than Kristaps Porzingis, his prop still sitting at only 1.5 made threes despite topping that in eight of his last 10 games. Porzingis has hit 2.5 threes on 5.5 looks per game in that stretch.
He may approach seven looks tonight, and that would make four threes more likely than just one.
Kristaps Porzingis prop: Over 1.5 made threes (-117 at Caesars)
Prop bet #3: Sleepy Shai
Why would the NBA schedule a promising young team onto a back-to-back on Super Bowl weekend? Make it make sense.
The sooner the NBA recognizes its revenue will not drop much, if at all, by cutting the schedule to 72 games from its current 82, the sooner the product will improve. Regional television deals have already fallen apart so that lost revenue will not be because of fewer games.
The number of nationally broadcast games would not need to change. And per-game ticket costs can rise appropriately to compensate for the 12% cut in games.
As a reward, the Oklahoma City Thunder would not need to play this afternoon, 24 hours after getting walloped by the Mavericks. That may seem the saving grace, that no one on the Thunder played more than 28 minutes thanks to getting blown out, but the grind is still the same. A day of prep, the adrenaline of a game, travel back to OKC, etc. That all still happened.
Add on top of it the intangible of playing through nap time — nearly every NBA player catches some shuteye in the middle of the afternoon on a usual game day — and there is plenty of reason to doubt Shai Gilgeous-Alexander today.
The Thunder may be understandably worried about the Western Conference standings, not wanting to give up ground in the four-team race for the top seeds, but easing into a schedule loss would be logical. They come for everyone at some point, this timing is just frustrating.
Yet Gilgeous-Alexander’s points prop remains 31.5 across the board with one book even offering plus money on the Under.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander prop: Under 31.5 points (+105 at DraftKings)