We're nearing what is simultaneously the most depressing and most relieving portion of the NBA playoffs. On Wednesday, there will be only one game on the slate: Suns vs. Nuggets. The same is true for Saturday. At the rate Nets vs. Bucks is going, that series won't last much longer. The games we still have left in front of us are typically the best of the season, but it's a reminder that we are well and truly running out of basketball.
It makes life easier on you as a gambler. The first round is so dense that watching every game live isn't really an option, so staying informed becomes a good deal harder. Now we're honing in on a smaller group of teams, all of whom we've seen play one full series. The season may be drawing to a close, but your opportunities for profit are not. With the Suns and Nuggets as the only game on the slate Wednesday night, let's focus purely on props for today's best bets.
All lines via William Hill Sportsbook
Phoenix Suns vs. Denver Nuggets
The most important development for DeAndre Ayton in this series has been his conditioning. He played less than 31 minutes per game in the regular season, but against Nikola Jokic, he's going to have to push 40. Phoenix can't allow Jokic any minutes against Dario Saric or Frank Kaminsky, so Ayton staying on the floor is critical. Well, he played 36 minutes in Game 1 and looked plenty capable of playing more had the game been closer. Ayton averaged over 12 rebounds per 36 minutes during the regular season, so a double-double is more than attainable here. The pick: DeAndre Ayton will have a double-double.
Now that Chris Paul appears to be healthy, Cameron Payne is likely to not only play fewer minutes, but take fewer shots. He can play with Paul and did so in Game 1, but with a fully healthy backcourt, his role is likely to be more limited. He scored only seven points in Game 1, and single digits should be the expectation on most nights now. The pick: Cam Payne Under 9.5 points.
Aaron Gordon scored 18 points in Game 2, and while that volume is somewhat unusual for him, Phoenix's smaller lineups create plenty of opportunities for him to score as a cutter. Jokic creates those chances not only through his passing, but by drawing Ayton away from the basket. The Suns don't have much rim-protection beyond him, so Gordon's ability to get behind the defense should be valuable in this matchup. The pick: Aaron Gordon Over 12.5 points.