The best players in the NBA always rise to the occasion when faced with a do-or-die scenario like the one that the Los Angeles Clippers and New Orleans Pelicans have in front of them on Friday night.
The task at hand became significantly more difficult for the Clippers when news broke that star Paul George had entered health and safety protocols on Friday afternoon. Now, Los Angeles, which has endured injuries all season long, must do it once more to advance.
With a spot in the postseason on the line, look for the likes of Reggie Jackson, CJ McCollum, and others to step up for their respective teams.
In this piece, I’ll be providing my favorite player props for the Play-In Tournament matchup between Los Angeles and New Orleans, as well as some game props to keep an eye on.
All NBA gameday odds are provided by Caesars Sportsbook and current as of Friday, April 15, at 1 p.m. ET.
Clippers vs Pelicans Player Props
Reggie Jackson, Clippers: OVER 20.5 Points (-115)
WAGER: 1 Unit
Reggie Jackson was arguably the Clippers’ most important player this year. Without George and Kawhi Leonard on the floor for the bulk of the season, the 31-year-old point guard appeared in 75 games and averaged a team-high 16.8 points per game.
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Jackson also brings it when it matters most. In February, he capped off a 25-point performance by sinking a game-winning shot to lead a depleted Clippers team to a one-point victory over the Los Angeles Lakers, who were then 25-27 and very much in the playoff hunt.
He figures to benefit the most from George’s absence, especially since he’s proven to be someone the team can lean on in turbulent situations.
Ride with Jackson and make this your NBA bet of the day.
Jonas Valanciunas, Pelicans: Over 19.5 Points (-115)
WAGER: 1 Unit
Valanciunas is a walking double-double, but the price for that prop (-450) isn’t exactly what we’re looking for.
Instead, I’m going to shift onto his points prop as he’s got a good matchup against Ivica Zubac. Valanciunas averaged 22.8 points per game in four meetings with the Clippers during the regular season, including a season-high 39-point outburst in November.
My only concern here is the potential for LA to double team Valanciunas inside as they did with Karl-Anthony Towns the other night. Still, I think Tyronn Lue may focus more attention on slowing McCollum and Brandon Ingram after their performances the other night and let the big Lithuanian get his.
Clippers vs Pelicans Game Props
Double Result: Pelicans/Clippers (+470)
WAGER: 0.5 Units
The Clippers have made second-half comebacks a habit throughout the season, with none better than their miraculous turnaround from 35 down to beat the Washington Wizards back in January.
New Orleans should be in good rhythm after a strong shooting performance on Wednesday night against the San Antonio Spurs, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see them start strong and then lose their legs late.