Clippers vs. Jazz: The best player prop bets for Game 1
The Los Angeles Clippers narrowly survived the Dallas Mavericks and now enter the second round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs with an even more difficult matchup against the top-seeded Utah Jazz.
As the No. 1-seed, the Jazz will enjoy home court advantage as well as extra rest after an easier opening series. Here are three best player props to wager on for tonight's action from Vivint Arena.
Wed, June 9 2021, 2:10 AM
Kawhi Leonard Over/Under 27.5 Points
Kawhi Leonard is the best player in this series and was unquestionably the decisive factor in the Clippers moving on to face the Jazz. The two-time NBA Finals MVP averaged over 32 points per game on 61% shooting from the floor. The trend points toward Leonard continuing to score at will with his unique ability to calmly get anywhere on the court that he wants, but I expect tougher sledding in Game 2.
The Utah Jazz's team defense is significantly better than the Mavericks’ was. The Jazz were the fourth most efficient defense in the league this season, compared to the Mavs’ 21st-ranked D. In the two games this season in which Leonard played the Jazz, he averaged 24.5 points per game.
Rudy Gobert gets much of the credit for his ability to protect the rim, but Royce O’Neale is also quickly gaining a reputation around the league as a lockdown defender. The third-year player out of Baylor is listed as a power forward, but at just 6’4” he has plenty of quickness and athleticism to stay in front of most of the league’s best shooting guards.
O’Neale will likely get an opportunity to slow down Leonard, and with fellow great defenders Gobert and Mike Conley nearby, expect Leonard to have much more difficulty replicating the incredible shooting percentage we just witnessed in his last series. I expect the market has this number inflated a bit based on Leonard’s most recent success.
Royce O’Neale Over/Under 6.5 Points
Speaking of O’Neale, I expect him to be up to the task of slowing down Leonard and Paul George. However, if he's putting in extraordinary effort on defense, don’t expect his number to get called as frequently on the other end of the court.
O’Neale averaged 7.0 points per game in the regular season. In three games against the Clippers, however, he averaged just 6.0 points per game on 36.8% shooting, compared to his season average of 44.4%. Leonard and George are not only All-Stars on the offensive end, but on the defensive end too.
Expect O’Neal to get a taste of his own medicine, and for the Jazz to look elsewhere on the Clippers' roster for weak spots.
Rudy Gobert Over/Under 13.5 Rebounds
Rudy Gobert knows he's one of the most dominant centers in the league and exerts himself defensively each and every night with that attitude. His effectiveness can be seen in a number of ways, but it's especially evident on the glass, where he finished second in rebounding this season at 13.5 boards per game.
The Clippers are just 23rd in the league in offensive rebounding, and don’t have a truly dominant center to push Gobert out of position. "The Stifle Tower" will have ample opportunities to accrue - at minimum - his average output, and with a few good bounces here and there should easily surpass 14 rebounds against the Clippers.