Wednesday night brings a pair of Game 2s, and hopefully we get a couple better games than Monday night. Both home teams ran out to big leads in Game 1 before holding on late, and now they’ll hope to repeat the feat.
Game 2 is usually a great spot to bet props in playoff series since you can pick up on early series trends and capitalize on lines before books move them, so let’s see what we see in those comfortable Game 1 wins and make some picks.
We’ll be using the Action Labs Player Prop tool to compare our NBA projections to the props posted at a variety of sportsbooks. Below, I have laid out three prop bets that I’m playing, the case for each bet and the best books to find odds on those player props.
NBA Player Props & Picks
Jimmy Butler Over 1.5 Steals (-135)
|76ers vs. Heat||Heat -8.5|
|Time | TV||7:30 p.m. ET | TNT|
Jimmy Butler is a thief.
Butler has been playing outstanding basketball this postseason. He might have been the best player in the first round and led all players in Box Plus-Minus as he did a little bit of everything as Miami dismantled Atlanta. Butler missed the closeout game but averaged over 30 points along with 7.8 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game.
He’s also cranked up his defense in the playoffs. Butler averaged 2.8 steals against Atlanta, and this has become a staple for him. Butler came into the league as a try-hard defender before developing the rest of his offensive game. He’s always been an elite wing defender, but as he’s aged and spent more of his energy on offense, he saves his top defensive efforts for the games that matter most.
Like the playoffs.
Butler had two more steals in Game 1 against Philadelphia, which gives him 17 thefts in five playoff games. He’s had multiple steals in every game, and the Sixers are a bit turnover prone right now as they sort through how to run a new offense without Joel Embiid. James Harden is always good for a handful of turnovers, and Butler should continue to make his presence felt on defense.
Butler has multiple steals in three of his four games against Philadelphia, and you know he relishes playing his old team. His defensive energy will be up, so I’ll look for a couple more steals and play the over.
Devin Booker Over 4.5 Assists (-135)
|Mavericks vs. Suns||Suns -6|
|Time | TV||10 p.m. ET | TNT|
Devin Booker returned from that hamstring injury to help close out the New Orleans Pelicans, and the hammy looked just fine in an easy Game 1 victory for the Suns.
Booker scored only 23 points on 7-of-20 shooting but filled up the box score anyway. He got to the line and converted 8-of-8 freebies, and he also added nine rebounds and eight assists.
The eight assists are what stood out. Booker had eight dimes in Game 1 against the Pelicans too. Dallas swarms perimeter players and tries to get the ball out of their hands, and the Mavs were successful enough getting it out of Booker’s hands — it’s just that he consistently got the ball to someone else who could make Dallas pay for it.
Booker had 17 potential assists in Game 1, a huge number, and his teammates converted eight of those into actual assists. That’s a pretty typical conversion rate, around half, and if we get anything close to those 17 potential assists in Game 2, this over will be a cinch.
Really, the entire potential assists leaderboard was pretty interesting for Phoenix. Booker’s 17 were most, but Chris Paul wasn’t second either. Paul had only five potential assists and just three actual dimes. Jae Crowder was actually second with eight potential assists.
Crowder has multiple assists in five straight playoff games, and it’s not hard to figure out that his over 1.5 dimes is a pretty strong play with anywhere near eight potential assists. That’s -146 at FanDuel, and Chris Paul’s under 9.5 assists (-115) also looks playable considering he didn’t even have that many potential assists in Game 1. And since these plays are correlated, you can play all three together as a +395 Same Game Parlay at FanDuel if you like.
By the way, if you really want to get funky, you can play a Booker triple-double at FanDuel — you’ll have to build it yourself as 10-plus rebounds and assists in a Same Game Parlay — at an absurd +16350. That’s a pretty hefty long shot, but Booker did have one in last year’s playoffs, and he was only one rebound and two assists away from another in Game 1. At that number, it’s worth a sprinkle, even if it’s just the sprinkliest of sprinkles.
Dorian Finney-Smith Over 4.5 Rebounds (-144)
|Mavericks vs. Suns||Suns -6|
|Time | TV||10 p.m. ET | TNT|
The Mavericks were a one-man show in Game 1 with Luka Doncic doing a little bit of everything, but Dorian Finney-Smith has become the glue guy on this team that does all the other little things along the way.
Finney-Smith is no slouch himself. He’s filling up the box score with 13.4 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.7 3-pointers, 2.4 assists, and 1.1 steals per game doing a little bit of everything for Dallas, and he always gets the top defensive assignment against the opponent too. Finney-Smith has played at least 40 minutes in every playoff game this season as well. He’s become integral to everything Dallas does.
So far this playoffs, that especially includes rebounding. Dallas doesn’t have many big men in its arsenal. Dwight Powell gets the start but is more of a roll man. Maxi Kleber comes off the bench and was red-hot on 3s in Game 1 but really struggled defensively. Davis Bertans is mostly just a tall shooting guard.
Dallas is playing a lot of smaller lineups, and that means the Mavs need Finney-Smith to play big, especially on the glass. He’s been up for the challenge. DFS has gone over 4.5 rebounds in six of seven playoff games for the Mavs, and he went over that number in six of seven last postseason too, so this is nothing new. He’s at 6.4 RPG across the two postseasons.
As Dallas trailed big late in Game 1, they tried a few lineup combinations, including one that put Finney-Smith in his biggest role yet — center. Actually 11% of Finney-Smith’s minutes have come at the “center” this postseason, per Basketball Reference. If the Mavs go even smaller to get more offense out there, they’ll need DFS to play bigger than ever.
Finney-Smith has gone over 4.5 boards in 12 of 14 games (86%) the last two playoffs, and the two unders were by a single board. If you just want to take the win, more power to you.
If you’re hungry for more, you can go over 5.5 boards at +125 at DraftKings, but why stop there? Eight or more rebounds is +475 at PointsBet. Not bad. But the long shot I’ll be playing is +1650 for a double-double at BetMGM. Finney-Smith just did that in a closeout game against Utah, and he had one last year too.
He’s had double-digit points in all but one playoff game (and had nine in that one), so it’s mostly just a bet on DFS playing bigger than ever and racking up the boards in the 40-plus minutes he’s sure to get.
And you know what? Even if he does, Luka Doncic is still the only Dallas player anyone will notice. But DFS is just fine with that — and we will be too as we count our winnings.