NBA Playoff Prop Bets: Will Russell Westbrook Lead All Scorers on Friday Night?
The 2017 NBA Playoffs rage on tonight, as we get three more intense games for Friday night. Two series could extend to 3-0, as the Celtics and Thunder fight for their playoff lives, while somebody will earn a 2-1 advantage in an intense first round bout between the Clippers and Jazz.
Adding to the intensity is a killer NBA Playoff prop bet at Bovada, which allows us all to gauge which star player will put up the most points on Friday. There is tons of drama surrounding these games, so the door is at least slightly cracked open for several options to come through.
Odds to Lead in Scoring (4/21)
The key will be figuring out which players have the most realistic shot and of those candidates, who offers the most upside. Here’s how the odds shake out at Bovada tonight:
- Russell Westbrook, PG, Thunder (+125)
- James Harden, SG, Rockets (+275)
- Isaiah Thomas, PG, Celtics (+375)
- Jimmy Butler, SF, Bulls (+500)
- Blake Griffin, PF, Clippers (+1200)
- Gordon Hayward, SF, Jazz (+1200)
- Chris Paul, PG, Clippers (+1200)
- Dwyane Wade, SG, Bulls (+1200)
Technically we can’t rule anyone out at first glance, as everyone has motivation and a path to success. There are flaws for some of these guy’s cases to lead the league in scoring tonight, though, so let’s chip away at them as we break down each player’s argument below.
This is the most logical play and the leader, as he erupted for 50 points in game two and is jacking up shots left and right for OKC. His first round series shifts to his home floor, too, so it’s pretty arguable Westbrook will be extra motivated to show up so OKC can stay alive in this series.
As we learned in game two, Westbrook is going to put up shots and even when his shot isn’t falling he won’t stop and he’s going to get his numbers. Win or lose, Westbrook is a clear risk of putting up 40+ points and that’s probably the starting point for tonight’s leader. The question is, can anyone else in this list realistically challenge him?
Yep, Harden can. We know that because Harden has produced 37 and 35-point efforts in the first two games of this series and he hasn’t even looked that good doing so. Point being, Harden hasn’t even truly caught fire yet, and if he does tonight, it’s not crazy to think he can deliver 40-50 points in a huge game three road tilt.
He’s not jacking shots up quite as carelessly as Westbrook is and he also has the annoying Andre Roberson draping him, though, so him going completely nuts seems to be a curbed bet tonight. That being said, Vegas probably has him right as the guy that can best challenge Russ for tonight’s lead in points.
Thomas is a very worthy candidate for several reasons. Not only do the Celtics badly need an epic performance out of him to nab their first win of this series, but he could feel a mental and emotional lift following his sister’s funeral and he also won’t have to deal with Rajon Rondo (broken thumb) on the other side.
The downside is Thomas will be on the road and hasn’t found success easy to come by in this series. In addition, Chicago’s team defense has been quite good and if anything else, the absence of Rondo might call for the longer Jimmy Butler to shadow Boston’s top scorer even more. Thomas could still top 30 points tonight, but it’s tough to see him notching 40+ points in this matchup.
I’m not against Butler exceeding expectations in this spot, however. Not only can Butler can easier buckets than someone like the diminutive Thomas, but he’s also playing in front of his home crowd and could be forced to keep the ball in his hands more with Rondo sidelined.
Butler has already been getting his way in this series (30 points in game one) and it could take a huge effort to lead Chicago to a surprising 3-0 lead. Boston does have the wing defenders to tighten things up on the perimeter, though, so Butler going nuts here might not be that realistic.
We’re losing steam as we go down the list here. Blake Griffin has an easy path to points as a versatile and athletic big man that loves to attack the rim, but Utah’s defense has remained quite stiff. Star center Rudy Gobert is out again for this one, but Griffin’s high-end output is probably going to be capped around 30 points.
Griffin will surely be needed down low and anytime Gobert is out he’s a solid bet to perform well, but he’s not a guy who routinely explodes far beyond 30 points. The ceiling is too low in a slow-paced matchup.
The odds don’t look amazing for Hayward, either, as he’s been struggling with a stout defender in Luc Mbah a Moute following him all over the court. Hayward has still found a way to put the ball in the bucket, but it’s been all he can handle just to muster 19 and 20 points across his first two games in this series.
Hayward can erupt and has a versatile game, but the pace has been slow in this series and the individual matchup isn’t ideal at all. He could turn in his best effort yet at home, but it probably stays below 30 points.
This is actually an interesting one, as CP3 could once again put it on himself to will the Clippers to a huge win. The matchup with the Jazz on the road isn’t fun and George Hill provides a pesky individual assignment, but Paul can shoot the lights out when he’s on and he tends to come up big in huge games.
Does that mean CP3 is a lock for even 20 points in this tough road tilt? No, but these are pretty fun odds for a guy that has scored 25 points in each of the first two games in this series. He clearly knows how to get buckets and with the rest of his team handcuffed by this matchup, it’s not crazy at all to imagine him pouring in his best effort yet. Even if he does that, though, his cap is probably around 35-38 points and that would take quite an amazing effort.
Last, but not necessarily least, we have the aging but ever explosive D-Wade. Most will be anticipating a huge game out of Jimmy Butler with Rajon Rondo out in this one, but Wade could see an increase of playmaking and shot opportunities, just as well.
Like Butler, Wade is back at home and facing a desperate Celtics team that has the tools to step up defensively, but hasn’t really done so to this point. Wade has been quiet in this series so far (11 and 22 points), but we saw him get in a groove in game two and the Bulls could end up relying on his clutch playoff experience in a huge game three at home.
Wade is an aging commodity, but he knows how to score the ball and seems to be good for one massive outing anytime he’s in the playoffs. He’s understandably not the most likely option with Butler ahead of him, but he’s not the worst flier bet.
Who Will Friday’s NBA Leading Scorer Be?
Ultimately, this remains Russell Westbrook’s race to lose. Westbrook is what makes the Thunder go, they’re back at home and he just got done scoring 50 points. He’s going to need to be massive yet again, so anything short of 40 points would be relatively shocking.
Harden is a close second and Butler provides solid odds at +375, but Westbrook’s +125 odds really aren’t that bad. As the odds on favorite, you actually can double up nicely here, depending on how much money you lay down.
If you want to hit it big, though, and are seeking premium value, our sleeper pick is Chris Paul. Nobody offers more bang for your buck here, as he leads a four-pack of +1200 odds options and of that group, he’s the guy that has the most overall upside.
CP3 has already put up 50 points in two tough games against Utah and we’ve seen him go nuts in tough playoff settings before. Paul actually erupted for 33 points against this very defense earlier this year during the regular season, while we witnessed him put up 27, 34 and 32-point efforts against a stout San Antonio defense in the playoffs two years ago.
I don’t actually think we’re headed for a 40-point CP3 outing (and that’s what he’d need), but if you’re looking for a fun pivot play from Russ that boasts upside, he’s a good try. After all, a mere $100 bet on CP3 to be Friday’s NBA leading scorer would pay out a handsome $1,200 over at Bovada.
Agree with us that Russ is destined to lead all scorers tonight? Think it could be CP3 or someone else? Tell us who you think who will lead the way on Friday and where you’d place your bet in the comments below!