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LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers goes up for a shot ahead of Herbert Jones and CJ McCollum of the New Orleans Pelicans at Smoothie King Center. We're looking at the Lakers star in our LeBron James NBA player props.
LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers goes up for a shot ahead of Herbert Jones and CJ McCollum of the New Orleans Pelicans at Smoothie King Center. Photo by Tyler Kaufman/Getty Images via AFP.

As the Los Angeles Lakers face the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday in the NBA Play-In Tournament opener, we're looking at our LeBron James NBA player prop predictions based on the best NBA odds.

The Los Angeles Lakers (47-35), who previously led the NBA Play-In Tournament odds, face the New Orleans Pelicans (49-33) in a crucial No. 8 vs. No. 7 seed matchup at the Smoothie King Center. That game is scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. ET tip on Tuesday with the Pelicans as a slight 1-point favorite at our best sports betting sites.

We broke down our favorite NBA player props and best bets for the game and took a deeper look at the matchup in our Lakers vs. Pelicans player props. All eyes will be on James against Zion Williamson and Co., but will he be able to pull off the upset?

Here are our best LeBron James NBA player prop predictions for the Lakers vs. Pelicans matchup (odds via our best NBA betting sites; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale).

LeBron James NBA player prop predictions

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LeBron James player props

LeBron James Under 27.5 points (-115 via bet365) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

For as ageless as James seems, he averaged fewer than 26 points this season after topping 28 in each of the last two years with the Lakers. His scoring output is down and it may stay that way against a Pelicans defense that's seventh in the NBA in defensive rating (112.9) and eighth in points allowed (110.7).

This line at bet365 is especially valuable, with our other best sports betting apps offering the Under on James' point total at similar odds, but with the line at 26.5 and even 25.5.

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The -115 odds imply a 53.49% probability that James will hit the Under, according to our odds calculator, and a $10 bet would lead to a profit of $8.70 if he does fall short of 28 points.

We'd take this Under with odds as short as -125 against New Orleans, too. The Pelicans allow the seventh-fewest points in the NBA to small forwards in 2024 (19.47), and James has only gone Over 27.5 points in 25 of 71 games this campaign (35%). The Lakers' star will also see plenty of Herbert Jones, an NBA All-Defense candidate.

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LeBron James Over 9.5 assists (+116 via FanDuel) ⭐⭐⭐

Despite James seeing a downtick in his 2024 scoring, he's made up for it while taking on a larger role as a playmaker for others. James is averaging over eight assists per game for the first time since 2019-20.

His 8.3 assists per outing are tied for the fifth most he's ever averaged in a season throughout his 21 years in the NBA. So while he may encounter more trouble than he's used to scoring against New Orleans, James can make up the difference with his passing. He's also coming off a 17-assist game against the Pelicans to close the season.

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The Pelicans rank in the back half of the NBA in assists allowed per game (26.8), and they give up the eighth-most per matchup in the league to small forwards (4.39). James' assists prop is being offered at 8.5 at our other best sportsbooks, with the odds as short as -140.

Those odds imply a 58.33% probability the 20-time All-Star finishes with at least nine apples, but we're betting he can rack up one more. If James gets to 10 assists, a $10 bet will lead to a $11.60 profit through the +116 odds via FanDuel.

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LeBron James Over 3.5 turnovers (-155 via bet365) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

At first glance, these odds might not seem worth the wager. The -155 odds will bring in just a $6.45 profit on a $10 bet if James turns the ball over more than 3.5 times. But the -161 odds on this same prop at BetMGM imply a 61.73% probability he finishes with at least four turnovers, and we're quite confident the veteran will against New Orleans. 

James is averaging 3.5 turnovers per game in 2023-24, which is right on par with his career average. However, he's been turning the ball over more frequently lately, logging four-plus turnovers in nine of his last 11 games. He's averaging 4.5 turnovers per contest during that stretch. The Pelicans are one of the league's best teams at forcing turnovers, too.

Opponents turn the ball over at the sixth-highest rate in the league against the Pels (14.2 per game) and New Orleans averages the third-most steals per game in the NBA (8.3). Leading the charge for them is Jones and his 1.4 steals per game, which has allowed the Pelicans to cause 2.47 turnovers per matchup against small forwards, the NBA's sixth-best mark.

LeBron James player prop picks made Tuesday at 1:20 p.m. ET.

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