NBA Betting: MVP Candidate James Harden Headlines Monday’s Props Action

Brooklyn Nets guard James Harden gestures after making a 3-point shot during a game against the New Orleans Pelicans
Image Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Each week, selects five intriguing player and/or team NBA betting props from a busy night of action. Then, we do what we do best: Provide in-depth analysis that you can choose to use (or not use!) for wagering purposes.

Here are our five favorite NBA betting props from Monday’s slate of 10 games.

Odds via DraftKings, updated as of 2 p.m. ET Nov. 22.

Brooklyn Nets: PG/SG James Harden

Brooklyn Nets guard James Harden passes the basketball during a game against the New Orleans Pelicans
Image Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

The Prop: 40.5 points/rebounds/assists (at Cleveland)
The Odds: Over -120/Under -110

In his last six games, Harden has notched one triple-double, two outings of 36 or more points, and three combined efforts of 41-plus points/rebounds/assists — including 27 points, 10 boards, and seven assists against the Cavaliers five days ago.

However, fell short of this prop number in his triple-double on Nov. 10 (17 points, 11 rebounds, 11 assists vs. Orlando). And in his last 10 games, Harden has attempted 20 or more shots only twice — shooting 42.9 from the field and 37.5 percent from beyond the arc.

While his shot attempts from the field are down a bit, Harden’s attempts from the free-throw line are strong: Harden — who led the NBA in free throws made/attempts from 2015-20 — has buried 57 of 63 free throws over his last five games. Number of visits to the charity stripe in those five contests: 15, 5, 11, 12, 20.

What’s more, Harden — who comes into this contest on two full days of rest — has averaged 8.0 rebounds/9.1 assists in 12 games since Oct. 29.

Related: New to betting NBA props? Check out our complete NBA Prop Betting Guide.

Atlanta Hawks: PG Trae Young

Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young (left) drives past Boston Celtics guard Dennis Schroder (right) during a game
Image Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The Prop: 25.5 points (vs. Oklahoma City)
The Odds: Over -105/Under -115

This prop number falls just below Young’s season-long scoring average of 24.7 points per game. It also falls below the point totals Young has tallied in his last three games (23, 18, and 19) — all Hawks victories.

And in two battles with the Thunder last season, Young put up 23 and 17 points. So this one sure seems like a dead Under … right? Not so fast.

The Thunder rank 26th overall in scoring defense (115.6 points per game allowed) and 24th in three-pointers allowed (13.6 per contest). Then there’s this from the for-what-it’s-worth department: Young has generally kicked off the week in strong fashion, scoring 26 points or more in three of four Monday games (26, 28, 32). On Mondays, he’s shooting 58.8 percent from the field (40 of 68 overall).

Also benefitting Young is the fact Atlanta had yesterday off and is playing its fifth straight home game.

Houston Rockets at Boston Celtics

Houston Rockets center Christian Wood dribbles the basketball up court during a game against the New York Knicks
Image Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The Prop: 210.5 combined points (alternate total)
The Odds: Over -150/Under +110

This alternate tally — which is 3 points lower than DraftKings’ actual total — might appeal to the Under crowd, based on three factors:

— The Rockets haven’t reached 100 points in five of their last eight games (94, 107, 104, 92, 89, 102, 89, 99).

— The Celtics have held their opponents to 92 or fewer points in half of their last 10 games. Also, prior to to their last two contests (130-108 win over the Lakers and 111-105 win over Oklahoma City), Boston and its opponents came up short of this alternate total six times, posting point totals of 181, 173, 211, 192, 235, 180, 190, 209.

— Finally, this could be a classic “trap” game for the Celtics. They’re coming off home victories over the Lakers and Thunder over the weekend in back-to-back outings, and they have a Wednesday game looming against the Nets. The latter contest will end a stretch in which Boston plays four home games in six nights, so this could be an opportunity for the C’s to rest the core starters against an outmanned Rockets squad.

Phoenix Suns at San Antonio Spurs

Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul dribbles the ball up court against the Atlanta Hawks
Image Credit: Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports

The Prop: Suns -1.5 (first quarter)
The Odds: Suns -115/Spurs -105

Overall, the Spurs and Suns are moving in opposing directions, with San Antonio enduring a four-game losing slide and Phoenix riding the wave of a 12-game winning streak.

In first-quarter action, though, the Spurs own a 9-6 ATS record, whereas the Suns are only 7-8-1 ATS. Then again, during their four-game skid, the Spurs trailed by five or more points after the first quarter in each contest.

On Sunday, Phoenix held a 20-point lead over Denver after opening 12 minutes. During their winning streak, the Suns have “won” the first quarter by two or more points seven times, including each of the last three contests.

This season, the Suns rank 10th overall in first-quarter scoring at 27.8 points per game, while the Spurs are 12th and 27.4. However, San Antonio has been far more prolific at home (29.5 first-quarter ppg), while the Suns are a bit below their average on the road (27 ppg).

Sacramento Kings: SF Harrison Barnes

Sacramento Kings forward Harrison Barnes (right) shoots as Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (left) defends during a game
Image Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

The Prop: 1.5 made three-pointers (vs. Philadelphia)
The Odds: Over +100/Under -130

It’ll be interesting to see how The Curious Case Of Harrison Barnes shakes out now that Sacramento has parted ways with head coach Luke Walton.

In his first nine games, coinciding with the Kings’ 5-4 start, the seemingly ageless Barnes averaged 22.2 points, 6.8 three-point attempts, and 3.1 triples per outing, while eclipsing this particular prop number eight times. (The makes: 8, 2, 5, 2, 2, 1, 2, 4, 2.)

However, in the last eight games, Barnes’ shooting prowess has descended to unrecognizable levels, with the North Carolina product averaging only 3.0 triple attempts and never draining more than one in any contest. (This anemic stretch for Barnes resembles binary code more than a basketball box score: 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 0, 1 three-pointers made.)

The Kings dropped seven of those last eight contests, which ultimately led to Alvin Gentry replacing Walton as coach.

The coaching change might not bring Barnes out of his prolonged slump, though — at least not right away. That’s because the 76ers currently ranks eighth overall in three-pointers allowed per game (11.9) and ninth in opponents’ three-point rate (36.0 percent). And in two matchups against Philadelphia last season, Barnes connected on just 1 of 3 combined three-pointers, going 0 for 2 and 1-1, respectively.

Barnes had Sunday off, but he’s played at least 34 minutes in 14 of his team’s 17 games.