It’s quite clear that March Madness likely has most of your attention this weekend, but if you still have the itch to bet some NBA player props, I’ve got you covered.
Tonight, CJ McCollum is primed to find his shooting rhythm against a Houston team that has a problem when it comes to perimeter defense. The not-so-road Warriors will have their hands full with Trae Young and the Hawks, and the Celtics will be pass-happy when they visit Portland.
Here are my free NBA player prop picks for Friday, March 17.
NBA player props for March 17
Picks made on 3/17/2023 at 12:30 p.m. ET.
Click on each pick to jump to the full analysis.
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Today’s best NBA player props
The odds widgets below represent the best odds currently available for each betting market at regulated sportsbooks.
The New Orleans Pelicans are still fighting for their playoff lives. They currently sit in 12th place in the Western Conference standings but because of how crazy the West is this season, they are only a half-game out of a play-in spot and 3.5 games out of sixth.
To get there, they’ll need their star players to be at their best and that includes shooting guard CJ McCollum. The Pels shooting guard is coming off a tough performance against the Los Angeles Lakers, but he’ll have a great chance to find his shooting rhythm again tonight vs. the Houston Rockets.
The Rockets have one thing on their minds right now, and that’s lottery balls. It’s certainly not perimeter defense. No team in the NBA allows opponents to take and make more threes than the Rockets. They also rank 28th in opponent 3-point shooting percentage.
McCollum is having a solid year shooting the basketball, hitting 37.9% of his 3-point attempts this season. Prior to a dreadful 1-for-10 shooting night from three against the Lakers, McCollum was on fire from beyond the arc.
McCollum was shooting the lights out in his previous three games, draining 60.9% of his 7.7 3-point attempts per game. He’s also been taking nearly eight threes per game over his last nine games. McCollum also torched Houston going 5-for-11 from downtown when they last met back on Jan. 4.
I’m betting McCollum will let it fly tonight against the Rockets and taking his alternate made threes prop.
CJ McCollum prop: 4+ made threes (+160 at bet365)
By now, everyone and their grandmother know about the Golden State Warriors and their struggles on the road. The Warriors have a stunningly low seven road wins this season and are a putrid 8-25-1 against the spread.
The most glaring issue for the not-so-road Warriors is their defense. It completely falls off a cliff when playing away from home. The team ranks 28th in defensive rating in road games this season but it’s the effort on the perimeter that is really lacking.
Golden State ranks 21st in opponent 3-point attempts per game while allowing opponents to hit an eye-popping 40.8% of those attempts when playing on the road this season. Only the Spurs allow opponents to hit at a higher rate.
Tonight, the Warriors will take their perimeter defense disappearing act on the road to Atlanta where they will try to slow down Trae Young and the Hawks.
Young has been shooting the 3-ball much better of late, draining 40.3% of his 3-point attempts over the last 10 games. He’s hit three or more five times over that stretch. Young also went 3-for-10 from beyond the arc when these two teams met in San Francisco back on Jan. 2.
Young and the Hawks should let the 3-balls fly tonight, so at plus money, I’m backing him to go Over his made 3-pointer prop.
Trae Young prop: Over 2.5 3-pointers made (+102)
We get a fun and intriguing late-night matchup when Jayson Tatum and the Boston Celtics visit Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers.
Tatum and the Celtics are still in a race with the Bucks for the top seed in the Eastern Conference, while Dame and the Blazers have lost four in a row and are trying to save their season.
The Celtics rank fourth in the NBA when it comes to offensive rating and what makes the Celtics a problem is that they are not just Tatum, and they are not a selfish team. They have a ton of scoring options and are happy to share the ball and feed whoever is hot. As a result, they rank sixth in assist rate.
Tonight, they face a Blazers team that is struggling to defend, well, anyone at the moment. Portland ranks dead last in defensive rating and is giving up 120.7 points per game since the All-Star break.
The Blazers are also vulnerable to teams willing to make the extra pass, ranking next-to-last in opponent assists per game. That is not a recipe for success against the Celtics.
My favorite Boston player to take advantage of this tonight is big man Al Horford. He has been dishing out more dimes recently, averaging 3.5 assists per game over his last 10 contests and he has recorded five or more assists three times in his last five games — that includes five against this same Blazers team just back on March 8.
You can get Horford’s assist total for tonight’s matchup at 3.5 with the Over at tantalizing plus money.
Al Horford prop: Over 3.5 assists (+135)
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