Phoenix Suns vs. New Orleans Pelicans Player Prop Pick: Trust Chris Paul to Set the Tone

Player prop expert Gray Gutfreund has narrowed down his top NBA bet for Sunday's action. He has his eyes set on Chris Paul as the Suns begin their first-round series with the New Orleans Pelicans.
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Phoenix Suns vs. New Orleans Pelicans Player Prop Pick: Trust Chris Paul to Set the Tone

The 1st-seeded Phoenix Suns will be hosting the New Orleans Pelicans this evening in Game 1 of their first-round battle. Phoenix seemingly has every possible advantage heading into this one, and that all starts with the Point God himself - Chris Paul.

The Suns nearly won the NBA Finals last year and carry an immense level of playoff experience into this one, while New Orleans has several key players making their postseason debuts. Brandon Ingram is making his first career postseason appearance tonight. Chris Paul, on the other hand, is playing in his 130th career playoff game tonight. He's a proven playoff performer and should look to set the tone in the playoff home opener tonight.

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Chris Paul Over 14.5 Points (-115) (Bet $115 to win $100)

*Odds Available at DraftKings at Time of Publishing*

Everyone knows how great of a passer Chris Paul is. It's probably the first thing that comes to mind when you think of him. The guy's nickname is literally The Point God. But, he can score as efficiently as any other guard in the league, especially when it's playoff time.

CP3 absolutely took over games as a scorer in the postseason last year. He was limited in Round 1 due to a shoulder injury, but from Round 2 all the way to the Finals, the man couldn't be stopped. Paul averaged 23.5 points per game over his final 14 playoff games in 2021. He also reached the over on this 14.5 line in 13 of these 14 games. He was clearly looking for his shot more in Phoenix's biggest games, as his Usage Rate increased from 22.6% in the regular season to 26.4% after Round 1.

Additionally, the 12-time All-Star is sure to see a clear increase in playing time now that we're in the postseason. This gives us a major edge on the over for his points prop. Paul played 36.7 minutes per game after returning to health last postseason, seeing 35+ minutes in 12 of those 14 games.

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Despite being 36 years old, Chris Paul might be in better shape than anyone else in the league. He even played 38 minutes in the Suns' penultimate regular-season game even though it was a meaningless contest with the 1-seed completely locked up already. So, with everything on the line for the 2022 title favorites, we can expect 35-plus minutes for the hall of fame point guard tonight.

CP3 has dropped at least 15 points in 29/41 games when seeing at least 32 minutes this season, averaging 16.5 PPG in this sample. He's scored at least 15 points in 21/25 games when seeing at least 35 minutes, averaging 18.0 PPG in this sample. And, he's reached the 15-point mark in all 11 games when seeing at least 37 minutes, averaging 19.6 PPG in those games.

The playing time should be there tonight in a huge contest for the 64-18 Suns. Paul has scored 17.5 points per 36 minutes over the last two seasons and will look to take advantage of a Pelicans defense that has struggled against point guards all season long.

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Gray is a massive New York sports fan, and is an NBA & NFL oracle. He’s a passionate writer with a strong background in statistics, and loves putting out player props! You can follow him on Twitter @PropBetGuru.

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