NBA playoff props, odds: Is it worth backing LeBron James or Stephen Curry in Game 5?
There have been plenty of storylines in this year’s NBA playoffs. Can Nikola Jokic lead the Denver Nuggets to an NBA championship in a year where they are finally healthy? Jimmy Butler has been phenomenal in carrying the Miami Heat as an eighth seed through the Eastern Conference. Kevin Durant and Devin Booker could arguably be the best scoring duo we have ever seen in the postseason.
All of the above are fascinating stories, but none of them compare to LeBron James and Stephen Curry going head to head in a postseason series for a fifth time. The two greatest players of our generation collide Wednesday in Golden State after L.A. muscled its way to a 3-1 series lead Monday night. But Game 5 shifts back to the Bay, and it’s hard to imagine Curry going quietly on his home floor. Here is how I am going to cash in on Curry, along with two other player props for when the Warriors host the Lakers.
Stephen Curry over 4.5 3-pointers -150
The Lakers' length on the perimeter has made life difficult for the Warriors in this series, but I have seen Curry in this spot too many times to doubt him. He's at his best at the Chase Center, where he finished the season shooting 45.3% from beyond the arc. Curry has hit at least five 3s in seven of his last eight home games with Game 2 of this series being the only miss. The lower volume can be attributed to Curry playing only 30 minutes in the 27-point blowout win.
Curry shooting 50% from deep (9 of 18) in the first two games of the series has me confident he will find his shot early after an uncharacteristic 3-of-14 off-night in Game 4. The Lakers can’t cover the whole floor, and my money is on Steph being ultra-aggressive with everything on the line.
LeBron James under 31.5 Points & Assists -120
Don’t mistake betting an under on LeBron James as discrediting his importance to this team. LeBron James and Anthony Davis are the catalysts that make everything go.
Although, the most impressive part about this run for the Lakers is that James and Davis don’t have to do it all themselves like previous years. Austin Reaves and Lonnie Walker IV delivered Monday night, while D’Angelo Russell shined with 21 points in Game 3. James has a solid team around him and trusts them enough to give them their share of opportunities.
There are two factors that I think are important for this prop. From a player standpoint, James has fallen under this total in nine of the last 10 games. There is also a big gap in motivation between the Lakers and Warriors with the L.A. holding a 3-1 series lead. Los Angeles was in this same spot in the opening series versus Memphis (up 3-1 playing Game 5 on the road) and came out flat. The Lakers fell behind by 14 points in the first quarter, and were never competitive in the 17-point loss. James was 5 for 17 and 1 for 9 from 3-point range. I am not saying this game will follow the exact same script, but it does support the strong contrast in motivation between the two teams.
Andrew Wiggins over 1.5 3-pointers -135
Wiggins played a huge role in Golden State’s championship run last season, and I think they turn to him in a must-win game. In Monday night’s loss to the Lakers, Wiggins and Thompson disappeared on offense in the fourth quarter. With Klay Thompson shooting 36% or less in three of four games, I wouldn't be surprised to see Wiggins get more volume. He has hit at least two 3-pointers in the last three games, while shooting 42.8% from beyond the arc. He is the most trustworthy Warrior (outside of Curry), and I think it makes sense to play him to sink at least two and eclipse this total once again.