Sometimes playing props can be a Choose Your Own Adventure.
When you check the Action Labs Player Props tool every morning while you have your coffee and shake off the cobwebs — that’s how you all start your day too, right? — sometimes you see the same player recommended multiple times across the top of the top of the list. Those are the days that the Props Tool is all-in on a player, usually recommending a variety of overs from points to rebounds to assists to combo plays.
That’s the case with our top play today, Mo Bamba, and it means we have some options, which we’ll discuss below, trying to narrow in on the best way to play to our advantage. We’ll be using the Action Labs Player Prop tool to compare our NBA projections to the props posted at a variety of sportsbooks.
Below, I have laid out three props that I’m playing, the case for each bet and the best books to find odds on those player props.
NBA Player Props & Picks
Mo Bamba, over 19.5 points + rebounds (-110)
|Magic vs. Nets||Magic +12.5|
|Time | TV||7:30 p.m. ET | League Pass|
A couple days ago, we played a talented young Magic big man breaking out this season. That was Wendell Carter Jr., of course.
Today, we’re going back to the well on young Orlando bigs but switching to the other breakout candidate in Mo Bamba.
Bamba is finally starting to live up to the unicorn status that got him drafted so highly, and it’s just in time for the final year of his contract. The Magic are starting Carter and Bamba together, and it’s working pretty well. Both can shoot the 3-pointer, at least a little, stretching the floor, and Bamba’s shot blocking prowess has been on full display. He has multiple blocks in 10 games already (over 1.5 blocks is -135!), and he’s filling up the entire box score.
Bamba has scored double-digit points in 11 of 15 games so far this season, averaging 11.4 points per game. He’s had -digit rebounds in over half his games too, including games with 17 and 18 rebounds. He’s even adding a full steal per game and a couple assists.
There are still occasional duds when Bamba doesn’t produce, usually because he got into foul trouble, but if he can stay on the court, the numbers have been really good.
The points and rebounds have been the most reliable numbers, so that’s our angle on Friday night. We’re playing Bamba’s points + rebounds over, which he’s hit in eight of 15 games and come just a bucket away two more times. Really, we’re betting on Bamba’s minutes staying high enough.
If you can’t play Bamba’s points + rebounds at your book, you’ve got a few options. I like both the points and rebounds overs individually, so you can play either or both, and blocks too if you like. I also like the PRA combo if you have that instead, since Bamba has multiple assists in four straight.
If you prefer to play this as a same-game parlay, I am eyeing Franz Wagner over 1.5 assists as a nice play too. Heck, if you really want to get crazy, I even think there’s value on Cole Anthony at +330 to record a block. Dealer’s choice — go wild.
For our column, we’ll stick with the Bamba points + rebounds. I’ll play the over to -135.
Ivica Zubac, over 7.5 rebounds (-125)
|Clippers vs. Pelicans||Clippers -3.5|
|Time | TV||8 p.m. ET | League Pass|
It’s been a tale of two seasons for Ivica Zubac so far.
Early on, Zubac started out pretty quietly. Over the first six games, he played only 20.1 minutes per game and had just 7.8 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. He played a season-low 12.5 minutes in that sixth game and looked like he was on his way out of the rotation.
Then in Game No. 7, everything changed. Zubac leapt to 34.4 minutes, a season high, and his numbers have been up ever since. In eight games since that leap, Zubac is playing 27.1 minutes per game and averaging a double-double at 11.5 points and 10.3 rebounds.
Zubac has had at least seven rebounds in each of his last eight games, which means his recent floor puts us only one rebound away from hitting this over. He’s been especially valuable on the offensive glass with 3.3 offensive rebounds per game during this stretch.
And we should be safe on Zubac getting minutes tonight too. The Clippers are playing the Pelicans, who haven’t exactly been dangerous this year, but Jonas Valanciunas has been a lone bright spot in the post. That means LA will need its best big man out there banging in the post with JV all night. If Zubac is out there, he should get his numbers.
I’ll play Zubac’s rebounding over to -150. We are projecting him at 9.2 boards tonight.
Scottie Barnes, over 2.5 assists (-155)
|Raptors vs. Kings||Raptors +3.5|
|Time | TV||10 p.m. ET | League Pass|
Don’t look now, but Scottie Barnes is the Rookie of the Year favorite.
Barnes was never supposed to be here. This was the Cade Cunningham draft, and then it was two or three names at the top as Jalen Green and Evan Mobley gained steam. For much of the draft process, there was a clear tier of five at the top with those three, Jalen Suggs, and Jonathan Kuminga.
But Barnes rose throughout the process, clearly passing Kuminga along the way and passing Suggs on draft night when the Raptors took him at No. 4. And so far his rookie season, Barnes has passed everyone else from the draft too.
Barnes is averaging 15.9 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 3.0 assists so far as a rookie. Evan Mobley, though injured now, is the other name at the top of the Rookie of the Year race right now, but Barnes is leading Mobley in all three of those counting stats.
If you look closely, though, you can see that Barnes is already evolving. In his first seven games, Barnes averaged 18.1 points, 8.9 rebounds, and 2.0 assists. He was taking 14.0 shots a game, a surprising number for a guy who has never really had a scorer’s mentality.
Barnes prefers the complementary role, elevating his teammates with an innate passing ability for a guy his size and age. And once Barnes missed a few games and got some more help from the return of his teammates, we’ve seen Scottie’s role shift. In his last seven games, he’s down to 12.1 shots per game, and his scoring has dropped to 13.6 points. But he’s doubled his assists line to 4.0, with at least four assists in six of those seven games.
And that’s the angle we’re playing tonight. Barnes was one of the best passers in the entire draft — not for his age, not for his position, just best full stop. The dude played point guard as a 6-foot-7 freshman at Florida State. He’s creative with the ball, has an improving handle and can really make plays.
This assist line is too low. It’s going to bump to 3.5 pretty quickly and may even move beyond that by season’s end. Barnes is a guy who will average five or more assists a game eventually in his career, and that may be setting the bar too low considering he’s already at 4.0 APG in this stretch. I’ll play the over here to -180.