We have a new No. 1 team in the NBA’s Western Conference with the Los Angeles Clippers having overtaken the Minnesota Timberwolves and Oklahoma City Thunder. On Wednesday, the Clippers entertain Zion Williamson and the New Orleans Pelicans, who are contending with the Sacramento Kings, Phoenix Suns, and Dallas Mavericks for fifth place.

This is a marquee matchup that will make up the second half of ESPN’s nationally-televised doubleheader after the Golden State Warriors take on the faltering Philadelphia 76ers in the opening game. The Sixers must now navigate the loss of Joel Embiid for the next month after he underwent a procedure on his left knee. That injury has already knocked him out of MVP contention.

However, none of the four teams playing on ESPN Wednesday is the NBA’s hottest as the hours count down to the league’s trade deadline. That distinction belongs to the Cleveland Cavaliers, who have moved into second place in the East with sixth straight wins and victories in 14 of their last 15 games.

Wednesday features a seven-game slate that will represent the final NBA games before players go on the move tomorrow ahead of the 3 p.m. trade deadline. Which players should we expect to do especially well tonight? And will deadline expectations factor into the performances we expect to see? Let’s go gambling …

NBA Player Props for Wedneday, February 7, 2024

Stephen Curry to have at least 2 steals 

There are no lines up related to anything the Warriors’ Brandin Podziemski might do, which is unfortunate because he has become a starter and is regularly stuffing the stat sheet. Sixers bigs Paul Reed and Mo Bamba are off the board, too, as far as individual stats, and neither has produced much in Joel Embiid’s absence. The price you have to pay to find an enticing bet on Stephen Curry for points and 3-pointers is too short to be worth your while, but we like him for at least two steals. He has done it seven times this season, and the Sixers have looked hesitant and mistake-prone on the perimeter – the latter because they are not running their usual offense through Embiid. One intercept and one poke-away would make this wager hit.

The Pick: Stephen Curry to have at least 2 steals (+450)

Evan Mobley to grab at least 15 rebounds

Cleveland’s Evan Mobley scooped up 14 rebounds in just 26 minutes last time out vs. Sacramento, and he will likely be going up against Marvin Bagley’s backup, seldom-used Eugene Omoruyi, on Wednesday night. This one looks as though it will be a blowout, but that should not deter us from going with Mobley to have 15 rebounds at a very enticing price, because he has already done it three times this season and is playing so well that he also had seven assists and 11 points on Monday against the Kings.

The Pick: Evan Mobley to grab at least 15 rebounds (+1000)

James Harden to have a triple-double 

James Harden has been two rebounds shy of a triple-double in each of his last two games and was three rebounds short five games ago. The Clippers relish the national spotlight and do not get it as much as their co-tenants, the Los Angeles Lakers. Wagering on this game is a matter of figuring out whether Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, Russell Westbrook, or Harden will outperform expectations. Harden does not produce triple-doubles nearly as often as he once did, but the last two games tell us that he is getting ready for his second of the season. At the price listed below, it is not the worst wager in the history of betting.

The Pick: James Harden to have a triple-double (+2000)

Domantas Sabonis to have at least 15 assists 

Sacramento forward Domantas Sabonis was supercharged mentally during his team’s recent road trip after being left off the Western Conference All-Star team despite leading the NBA in rebounding and being tied for most triple-doubles. He responded to the snub by handing out 15 assists (point guard De’Aaron Fox had one) in the Kings’ 26-point loss to the Cavs. The opposition’s talent level does not come into play with Sabonis as much as it does for players on other teams, so riding a hot player who has mental motivation is a tried and true strategy when it comes to good gambling. The game at Cleveland was Sabonis’ second with 15 assists. We are looking for “these things happen in threes” to be a working operating principle on Wednesday.

The Pick: Domantas Sabonis to have at least 15 assists (+1000)

Odds are subject to change*

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