The best team in the NBA, the Boston Celtics, is back in action tonight against the team with quite possibly the best player in the NBA, Luka Doncic.

No offense to Nikola Jokic, who is the favorite to win Most Valuable Player, but as the month of March begins, it is Doncic who is leading the league in scoring (34.4 ppg) by a wide margin over Shai Gilgeous-Alexander of the Oklahoma City Thunder (31.2 ppg).

Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks are finishing up a four-game road trip that has brought them a victory in Toronto, but also losses at Indiana and Cleveland. Tonight’s game is the first of an ESPN doubleheader that also includes the surging Milwaukee Bucks playing the Chicago Bulls in a late start in the Windy City, 9 p.m. local time.

That will begin a busy weekend for the NBA that includes nine games Friday, five Saturday and eight Sunday as teams continue to jockey for playoff positioning, and in some cases, for their postseason existence.

That is the big picture, but the smaller picture is looking at Friday’s games and trying to ascertain where a profit or two can be found. Last we checked, the price of a Big Mac was not exactly going down.

So let’s have at it and be in the black following the first day of March.

NBA Player Props Today for Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024

Jaylen Brown (BOS) 30+ points

As much as Tatum wants to become the face of the league, the fact remains that his sidekick, Brown, is the league’s highest-paid player with a contract paying him more than $303 million over this season and the next four. The Celtics guard has been earning it lately with point totals of 30 against the Knicks and 31 against the Sixers in Boston’s two most recent wins. Brown, who also scored 36 in the All-Star Game, shot 11-for-14 against Philly and has made 31 of 50 shots in the three games since the All-Star break. We’ll ride that hot hand.

The Pick: Jaylen Brown to score at least 30 points (+400)

Pascal Siakam (IND) double-double

When these teams played two nights ago, Siakam had his first double-double since Jan. 25, although he did grab nine rebounds in the two previous games. He is matched up against Williamson, and he is a much better rebounder. This is a nice price for a player who should be getting plenty of double-doubles over the remainder of the season.

The Pick: Pascal Siakam to have a double-double (+300) 

Malik Beasley (MIL) over 3.5 3-pointers made

The Bulls defeated the Bucks the last time the teams played in Chicago, but the Bucks have been surging under new coach Doc Rivers and this is not an easy one to pick. One constant for Milwaukee is that Giannis Antetokounmpo is going to play very well every night, even if he misses a few free throws. He had 24 points, 10 rebounds and five assists vs. Charlotte last night. He is overdue for a triple-double as it has been six weeks since he had one. Though, he has not come close in three previous meetings with the Bulls, so instead, we ride the recent hot hand, the shooting guard who made five 3s last night in Charlotte and was 6-for-7 two games earlier against Philly.

The Pick: Malik Beasley over 3.5 3-pointers made (+105)

Deni Avdija (WSH) 25+ points 

As noted above, Poole has been hot lately since being demoted to the bench, and let’s face it: This guy is a West Coast player whose exploits with the Golden State Warriors have not been duplicated with the Wizards. Even though this game is on the West Coast, we are going to ride a different hot hand belonging to Avdija, who had 15 points and 15 rebounds last night and is averaging nearly 21 points per game this month. It is the second night of a road back-to-back, but the only traveling Washington did was by bus.

The Pick: Deni Avdija to score at least 25 points (+900)

Odds are subject to change*

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