Nuggets vs. Hawks: The best player prop bets for Dec. 17
The Denver Nuggets and Atlanta Hawks will button up their season series tonight when the two teams clash at State Farm Arena.
The last time they met on Nov. 12, the Nuggets came away with a decisive 105-96 victory thanks to a strong performance from Nikola Jokic. The reigning MVP finished with 22 points, 19 rebounds, and 10 assists and led all players with a +19 plus/minus rating. Trae Young chipped in a game-high 30 points for the Hawks, but it wasn’t enough as Atlanta shot just 41% from the field and 18% from beyond the arc.
The Hawks enter tonight’s game largely intact, but it’s a different story for the Nuggets, who will be without five key rotational players including Jamal Murray, PJ Dozier, JaMychal Green, Austin Rivers, and Michael Porter Jr. Their collective absence is a big reason why Atlanta is favored to win this evening, despite the fact the Hawks are perched on the outside of the play-in picture after the first quarter of the season.
Sat, December 18 2021, 12:30 AM
Tip off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET, and we have the three best player prop bets below.
Nikola Jokic Over/Under 26.5 points
Nikola Jokic’s first instinct has never been to score, but he’s had to adjust his game this season due to injuries to some of Denver’s most dynamic playmakers. The three-time All-Star is taking 17.8 shots in 2021, which represents a significant uptick over his first five years in the league. The good news for the Nuggets is that his increased output hasn’t adversely impacted his efficiency, as Jokic is hitting 37.9% of his 3-point attempts and 65.9% of his 2-point attempts for a career-high 26.6 points per game.
Jokic has been especially prolific since Michael Porter Jr. went down on Nov. 6. Five of his six highest scoring games of the season have been with MPJ on the bench, including a 39-point outburst against the New Orleans Pelicans a week ago.
Jokic prefers to pass, but with few reliable targets left on Denver’s roster he’ll need to jack up plenty of shots tonight to keep the Nuggets afloat. Ride the Over.
Trae Young Over/Under 10.5 assists
Anyone who watched Trae Young carve up the Knicks and Bucks in the 2021 Eastern Conference Playoffs knows he's a phenomenal player. His 48-point gem against Milwaukee in the Eastern Conference Finals was, without question, one of the most electrifying postseason performances in franchise history.
Young has repeatedly proven that he can drop 30 points in his sleep, but dishing out 11 dimes is another matter altogether. The crafty guard has never averaged more than 9.4 assists per game in his four-year career, and is coming off a four-assist performance against the Orlando Magic on Wednesday. He was also held to a single-digit assist total against Denver in November.
Can Young deliver 11 dimes or more? Absolutely, but he won't tonight as he hunts for his own shot against the decimated Nuggets.
Trae Young Over/Under 2.5 3-pointers
It's no secret that Young idolizes Steph Curry. He's modeled his game after the two-time MVP and seldom misses an opportunity to sing his praises. Young was among the first players to take to Twitter to congratulate Curry on becoming the NBA's all-time 3-point king, and is widely regarded as one of the few players who can one day surpass his total.
All of this is noteworthy because Young will be playing his second game since Curry broke the record, and chances are he's going to want to prove he belongs in the conversation. The All-Star guard is averaging 7.2 3-point attempts this season and has made three treys or more in five of his last eight games.
Young won't catch up to Curry in one game, of course, but he will inch a little closer this evening against the Nuggets.