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Bucks vs. Lakers: The best player props for Feb. 8

Profile Picture: Rory Breasail

Rory Breasail

February 8th, 2022

Tonight’s TNT nightcap features two of the most talented rosters in the NBA, as Giannis Antetokounmpo leads the Milwaukee Bucks against LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Bucks are winners of three in a row, but are just two wins above fifth-place Philadelphia as the Eastern Conference remains locked in a life-or-death struggle to secure home-court advantage and avoid the Play-In.

The Lakers, meanwhile, are just 4-6 in their last 10, but with all their stars finally healthy, they’re desperate to build off of last game’s victory over the New York Knicks.

Bucks vs. Lakers tips off at 10:00 p.m. ET on TNT, and we have the three best player prop bets for tonight’s action below.

Wed, February 9 2022, 3:00 AM

LA Lakers

Moneyline

+130

Spread

+3.5

Total

O 231.5

MIL Bucks

Moneyline

-162

Spread

-3.5

Total

U 231.5

BOBBY PORTIS OVER/UNDER 1.5 3-POINTERS MADE

I’m not sure there are too many players in the NBA that are having as much fun as Bobby Portis right now. After uninspiring stops in Chicago and New York, Portis has found a real home in Milwaukee and has been critical to the Bucks’ success.

But even Milwaukee probably didn’t expect they’d have to rely on him this much. On defense, they still badly miss Brook Lopez, but on offense, Portis is an even better fit next to Giannis than Brook. For while Lopez receives a lot of press for transforming his game from a post-up big into a 3-point spacing five, in truth Brook’s shooting has been a more theoretical threat than a real one.

Not so with Portis. Portis is a 42.2% 3-point shooter on 4.6 attempts per game. That puts him in the 93rd percentile among bigs, per Cleaning the Glass. He keeps that number high because he plays strictly within his role - all of Portis’ 3s are assisted catch and shoot attempts. Even when his shot is falling, he doesn’t take bad ones. For a player sometimes accused of dominating the offense to the team's detriment in the past, this transformation is a massive credit to him.

In his last two games, he’s gone 10-13 from deep, or 77%. The Lakers let opponents attempt more 3s than all but nine other teams, and Portis should keep the hot streak going tonight.

PICK: OVER 1.5 3-POINTERS MADE (-113)


ANTHONY DAVIS OVER/UNDER 24.5 POINTS

The Lakers this year are seemingly always one loss away from a full-blown crisis. As a result, blame has found everyone involved in the organization at some point or another. Anthony Davis is no exception, and he’s taken a bit of a beating this year in terms of public perception. 

There’s some fair criticism to be had. His defense has taken a step back, he’s frequently hurt, and his 3-point shot has completely deserted him (a grisly 17.5% this season). The latest indignity? He wasn’t selected for the All-Star game; not as a starter, reserve, or even as a replacement.

But at this point, the noise of this Lakers' season is threatening to drown out an obvious and important truth: Anthony Davis is an incredible basketball player, who at 28 is still very much in his prime. He’s averaging 23.7 points and 10.2 rebounds and shooting 57.1% from 2. His points per game, rebounds per game, and eFG% are all *higher* than last season when he was a no-doubt All-Star. While one can quibble with aspects of his game, it’s clear that the narrative around Anthony Davis is obscuring his actual play.

Davis is averaging 29.2 points in his last five games, and his per-game averages against Giannis and the Bucks are higher than his career norms. After losing out to Dejounte Murray as the West All-Star replacement, he’s sure to be properly motivated to dominate on national TV tonight.

PICK: OVER 24.5 POINTS (-113)


JRUE HOLIDAY OVER/UNDER 17.5 POINTS

Speaking of All-Star snubs, while it wasn’t too surprising that the defending champion Bucks received two All-Star selections, it was a bit strange that Anthony Davis’ former teammate, Jrue Holiday, wasn’t among them. Holiday is well-known as a defensive savant, most recently seen crushing Chris Paul’s championship dreams in the NBA Finals last season, but this year he’s also been an outstanding offensive player.

Holiday is playing with that post-championship confidence and is nothing like the erratic shooter and hesitant decision-maker he was during last year's playoffs. It’s led to the most efficient season of his career (56.5 eFG%), which is also the most efficient by any point guard in the NBA this year - 100th percentile among point guards, per Cleaning the Glass.

The Lakers’ guard defense has been a consistent issue, and none of Malik Monk, Russell Westbrook, or Austin Reaves have the combination of strength, size, and savvy needed to slow down Holiday.

PICK: OVER 17.5 POINTS (-113)

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