Nuggets vs. Pistons: The best player prop bets for Jan. 25
Tonight’s game between the Denver Nuggets and the Detroit Pistons has more drama than one might guess. After all, everyone loves a grudge match.
The NBA’s constant quest for schedule parity and travel reduction has given rise to the so-called "home and home" series, whereby teams play each other consecutively, with each team playing one home and one road game. It can feel like a mini-playoff series at times, and there’s just enough scheme adjustment and game planning to make things really interesting. Sparks can fly too, as familiarity has a tendency to breed contempt.
So will the scrappy Pistons led by No.1 overall pick Cade Cunningham make Denver earn it tonight, or will Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets take care of business?
Nuggets vs. Pistons is set to tip-off at 7:00 p.m. ET on League Pass, and we have the three best player props bets below.
Wed, January 26 2022, 12:00 AM
CADE CUNNINGHAM OVER/UNDER 16.5 POINTS
The 2021-22 campaign was supposed to be a "retooling" season for the Pistons, but it got off to a grim start. Cade Cunningham missed all of training camp with an ankle injury which also kept him out of action for the first two weeks of the season. When he came back, he couldn’t hit the broadside of a barn. On top of that, standout rookie performances from Evan Mobley to Scottie Barnes had many people wondering if the Pistons had made a huge mistake.
Not so fast. Cade was clearly behind the eight ball early on because of his injury, but for those who watched him before his NBA career, there was no panic. Since just before January, Cunningham’s numbers look a lot like a perennial All-Star in the making: 44.4% from the field, 38.9% from 3, 17.5 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 5.5 assists, all while being the focal point for opposing defenses.
Cunningham drew a lot of criticism because he doesn’t have the dynamic explosion of so many No.1 overall picks, but that’s never been his game. He’s more like Luka Doncic or Chris Paul, and though he doesn’t move particularly fast, good luck ever trying to deny him from getting to his spots. And unlike Luka, he’s an elite shooter. There’s really no way to slow him down unless you are blitzing the ball out of his hands and forcing his teammates to beat you, which is how opponents have played him his entire career.
Cunningham is going to be a star in this league, sooner rather than later, and nobody will remember the blip at the start of this season.
NIKOLA JOKIC OVER/UNDER 45.5 POINTS, REBOUNDS, AND ASSISTS
How do you stop Nikola Jokic? He’s simply too big and too skilled, combining all the dirty work of the best traditional bigs with his jaw-dropping passing and scoring from the center position. While nobody has a great answer to that question, the Pistons are particularly vulnerable.
Isaiah Stewart, who will be guarding Jokic most of the game, is a high-energy player, but he’s simply too small. Jokic is 6'11" while Stewart is a generous 6'8". Jokic can see right over him to score, pass, and rebound. If the Pistons double, the Nuggets are nearly guaranteed an open basket. If Jokic pressures the offensive glass, he’s more than likely getting the tip in. In their game on Sunday, Jokic had 39 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists on 12-19 from the field and it seemed like light work.
It’s going to be another long night covering the reigning MVP for Stewart.
SADDIQ BEY OVER/UNDER 2.5 3-POINTERS MADE
It seems Detroit found something with Saddiq Bey. Bey is the Platonic ideal of a 3 and D wing, one of the most desirable archetypes in the entire NBA. But that doesn’t mean this year has been smooth, and Bey’s struggles have been one of many reasons the Pistons are below expectations.
Bey was perhaps a victim of his own success. He succeeded so thoroughly as a star in his role in year one, that he and the team understandably wanted to see if there was even more there for him to explore. So he tried handling the ball more, shooting more 2-pointers, and creating his own shot.
That was okay for a while, but it largely wasn’t working, and it seems that Bey is now back on track to becoming the player he appeared to be in year one. While he’s down to 33.3% from deep on the season, over his last 10 games he’s back up towards last year's mark at 38.0% on 6.6 attempts per game.
The Nuggets defensive limitations on the perimeter should allow him to spring free and keep that going tonight.