Do not be fooled by the 6-point outing put up by Paolo Banchero in the All-Star Game. He was a first-timer, and those guys usually do not get all that much run at the NBA’s showcase event.

And he also outscored Kawhi Leonard, Bam Adebayo, Trae Young and Anthony Edwards.

Also, do not drink the Haterade that is being spewed by the national NBA media. Those folks were upset about the cold weather in Indianapolis, and most of them were spoiled by Kobe Bryant’s competitiveness back in the day.

The All-Star Game was a success for anyone who wanted to be entertained on Sunday night, and if a 211-186 basketball game does not entertain you, then you have become a part of Complaint Culture.

Luckily, you read the Betway blog and you come here for sage advice and you gamble within your means. Sometimes we are right and sometimes we are wrong, but we always strive to steer you toward what makes the most sense, and we are now back to do that again as the NBA season gets ready to resume on Thursday night with a slate of 12 games, including a terrific TNT doubleheader of Suns-Mavericks and Lakers-Warriors.

Among the lesser lights is the Magic at Cavs game involving Banchero, who scored 42 points the last time he played in Cleveland, which he will be doing again at 7 p.m. Thursday. He is one of four player prop bets we are touting that make more sense than the negativity being spewed by the national NBA media.

NBA Player Props for Thursday, February 22, 2024

Paolo Banchero (ORL) 30+ points 

As mentioned above, Banchero scored 42 the last time he played at Cleveland. Prior to the break, he scored 36 against the Knicks and made 15 of 20 shots. The kid is a baller who will be back for many more All-Star games, and although there is a temptation to tout him scoring 35 or more at +1200, we are going for a home run rather than a grand slam. He has scored 35 or more six times, and 30 or more nine times this season. The Magic went into the break having won six of eight, and this guy is their best player. Banchero is just getting started.

The Pick: Paolo Banchero to score at least 30 points (+650)

Pascal Siakam (IND) double-double 

Nobody needed a break quite like the Indiana Pacers, who stumbled into the All-Star Weekend with losses in two of their final four games as the Eastern Conference equivalent of the team they faced in the finals of the NBA Cup, the Los Angeles Lakers. Granted, the Pacers stayed busy by hosting All-Star Weekend, but only Tyrese Haliburton and Bennedict Mathurin took part in any of the competitions, and everyone else got a much-needed break. Among those most deserving was Siakam, who has shot at least 54.5 percent in 10 of his past 14 games but has only seven victories to show for it. The Pacers are neck-and-neck with the Heat and the Magic in the battle for sixth place, staying out of play-in territory. Indiana acquired Siakam from Toronto with the goal of competing for a championship, and he is more than capable of grabbing at least 10 rebounds to get a double-double. He has done it four times this season, and 21 times last season for the Raptors before getting dealt.

The Pick: Pascal Siakam to have a double-double (+550)

Tyrese Maxey (PHI) double-double +450

There is no gambling line on whose fans will be louder. Knicks fans usually scoop up tickets for the Bockers’ games in Philadelphia early in the season because it costs less to travel to Philly and attend the game than it does to go to a game at Madison Square Garden. Plus, there are better cheesesteaks in Philadelphia than what can be found at street meat stands in Manhattan. The point guard matchup in this game should be epic with both Jalen Brunson and Tyrese Maxey coming off All-Star appearances. We are going with Maxey because the Knicks coasted into the break and thus will likely coast out of it, and because Maxey not only has five double-doubles already, he also has had six games with nine assists. One of those came against the Knicks, who will be the Sixers opponent three times between now and March 12.

The Pick: Tyrese Maxey to have a double-double (+450)

Malik Monk (SAC) high scorer +900

Nobody went into vacation mode prior to All-Star Weekend quite like Monk, who is the leading candidate for Sixth Man of the Year award but scored only six points in a 102-98 victory over the Denver Nuggets on the road prior to the break. In the seven previous games, Monk scored at least 22 points in six of them. He will be a sneaky good pick for most points of any player in this game because it figures to be a blowout, with Sacramento favored by 10.5 points, the third-highest point spread on the board. Monk scored 20 in just 26 minutes the one and only other time these teams played each other earlier this season. That was way back on November 17, and the Kings get to get fat off the Spurs twice in the next two weeks.

The Pick: Malik Monk to score the most points of any player (+900)

Odds are subject to change*

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