Which NBA Player Is Most Likely to Drop 50 Points in a Game Next?
Odds for the NBA’s next 50-point game come via BetDSI and are accurate as of Wednesday, March 14. Please check to make sure these lines hold before deciding on or placing a wager—particularly if you end up using a different sportsbook. Players will be presented in order of increasing likelihood based on observations, with their odds provided as a discussion point.
5. Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors (+950)
Picking Stephen Curry thrusts us out onto a pretty rickety limb. He’s expected to miss some time while recovering from yet another ankle injury. Whereas many on this list have 15 or more games remaining, he has more like eight contests, at most, left on his own slate.
This isn’t enough to entirely remove him from consideration. The Golden State Warriors are banged up. In their most recent game—a win over the Los Angeles Lakers—they soldiered on without both Draymond Green and Klay Thompson, in addition to Curry.
Thompson specifically is expected to miss the next couple weeks, if not more than that. This puts Curry on track to return before him. And there will be a heavier scoring burden for him to carry upon re-entering the rotation. So although Curry hasn’t yet topped 50 points this season, his lights-out shooting from everywhere on the floor—he’s posting a career-high true shooting percentage, which is absolutely ridiculous—is enough to earn him a spot on its own, and the two-star show he’ll need to stage with Kevin Durant for a few games significantly drives up his appeal.
4. Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans (+4500)
Anthony Davis is an obvious pick here. He’s assumed an even higher volume role in the wake of DeMarcus Cousins’ season-ending Achilles injury. He’s averaging nearly 32 points per game since Boogie went down while turning in one 53-point eruption and five other outings through which he tallied more than 40 points.
With the New Orleans Pelicans still scrapping for postseason seeding in the hyper-brutal Western Conference, their reliance on Davis isn’t going to diminish much, if at all, anytime in the near term.
Yes, Jrue Holiday has been balling, playing like a viable No. 2 to Davis’ No. 1. But he’s the extent of the Pelicans’ other dependable weapons.
Rajon Rondo isn’t much of a scorer. Nikola Mirotic has an on-again, off-again relationship with his jumper since arriving in New Orleans. E’Twaun Moore has gone ice cold since the All-Star break. And after them, the Pelicans don’t really have anyone who can create his own shot.
That leaves Davis to carry a lion’s share of the burden. And while attempting to play through his current ankle injury harshes his potential a little bit, it’s not nearly enough to displace him from a top-five podium finish.
3. Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers (+960)
Damian Lillard has been on fire of late. Over his last 12 games, he’s averaging nearly 35 points while slashing 47.5/43.5/88.7. This stretch has included his lone 50-point performance of the season.
The Portland Trail Blazers’ offensive setup does curtail his placement just a tad. Not only do they have C.J. McCollum eating up shots, but Evan Turner, Shabazz Napier and Jusuf Nurkic all eat into Lillard’s touches as well. He’s also making a more concerted effort to pass the ball, decreasing the likelihood of another 50-point detonation even further.
There’s no denying his recent numbers at the same time. He’s making the most of his modest scoring opportunities. He’s jacking more than 10 threes per game while also attempting, on average, more than 10 free throws.
That type of distribution makes for default candidacy. The Blazers’ still-up-in-the-air standing within the Western Conference takes care of the rest.
Though they profile as a near-playoff lock, they’ll need Lillard to continue his high-volume three-point shooting to snag one of the top-four postseason seeds. And that, in turn, bodes well for his chances of delivering another 50-point masterpiece.
2. LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers (+985)
Considering LeBron James in this type of discussion is always a little risky. He’s not a scorer at heart. His first instincts are to defer. We’ve seen it countless times down the stretch of close games. And this season specifically, he’s averaging a new career high in the assists department.
Still, the Cleveland Cavaliers don’t give him much of a choice.
Kyrie Irving is long gone. Isaiah Thomas, too. Kevin Love is on the shelf with a fracture in his left hand. Rodney Hood has missed the past couple of games with back issues. Aside from Jordan Clarkson and the random highlight from J.R. Smith, the Cavaliers don’t have a ton of bona fide shot creators in their rotation right now.
What they do have is a bundle of shooters orbiting LeBron James drives. They need him to be in full-throttle attack mode every single second that he’s on the floor. And for the most part, he’s delivering on that expectation. He ranks inside the top 10 of drives per game among every player in the league, and he’s averaging more than one additional shot attempt per 36 minutes compared to last season.
LeBron has also already turned in one 50-point performance. And while assuming that much of the raw scoring responsibility isn’t his typical bag, the Cavaliers’ precarious place in the Eastern Conference leaves him with zero alternatives. They already don’t have a legitimate hope of catching the first-place Toronto Raptors or second-place Boston Celtics, and they’ve now, for the time being, ceded the No. 3 seed to the Indiana Pacers.
Expect LeBron to flirt with the 50-point benchmark at least once more this season, if only because the Cavaliers’ win-loss sanity depends on it.
1. James Harden, Houston Rockets (+185)
Because, who else?
James Harden is the only player in the NBA with multiple 50-point games this season—and he has four of them. All of them came before the turn of the calendar, when the Houston Rockets were treading water as Chris Paul battled injuries, but playing beside the healthy floor general doesn’t do anything to torpedo his league-best case.
On the contrary, Harden is posting a career-high—and Association-leading—usage rate. That water-mark volume does plunge to under 32 when Paul is on the floor, but it soars up above 38 whenever the point guard takes a breather. And Harden still sees a lot of time as the lone star in the game, since head coach Mike D’Antoni is in the habit of staggering the minutes of his two megastuds.
Beyond that, the Rockets are engaged in a fierce battle for the NBA’s best record with the Warriors. They care about nabbing the Western Conference’s No. 1 seed and securing home-court advantage throughout the entire postseason. It means something to them. They aren’t about to ask Harden to take his foot off the gas.
The Bearded wunderkind wouldn’t oblige even if they did. He’s considered this year’s odds-on MVP favorite. And after finishing second on the ballot in two of the past three years, he’s clearly invested in grabbing the Maurice Podoloff Trophy this time around.
Rattling off a fifth 50-point explosion would be a nice finishing touch to an already almost-complete MVP case.
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