Playing props can be tricky with so much to consider. Who is the opponent? What’s the pace? How good is the defense? Is either team on a back-to-back? We could add 25 more questions. Sometimes it’s hard to know where to start.
For me, I almost always start with the minutes. After all, you can’t record any stats from the bench. Minutes played feed every other number and stat. Sometimes just getting a sense of which players are getting more or less playing time is a better advantage than all of those more complicated questions above.
We’ll be using the Action Labs Player Prop tool to compare our NBA projections to the props posted at a variety of sportsbooks. Each bet is then graded on a scale from 1-10, with 10 being the best possible grade.
Below, I have laid out three prop-bets that I’m playing, the case for each bet and the best books to find odds on those player props.
NBA Player Props & Picks
Daniel Gafford, Over 8.5 Points (-114)
|Wizards vs. Cavaliers||Wizards -3|
|Time | TV||7 p.m. ET | League Pass|
Daniel Gafford has quietly carved out a very nice role for himself with the Wizards. He’s starting for Washington and playing around 20 to 22 minutes a night, and he’s swatting shots into oblivion with 15 blocks already this season. He’s also scoring around double digits most nights, and the points angle is the one we’re playing.
Gafford’s numbers are superficially depreciated right now because of injury. In the fourth game this season, he played only seven minutes. Gafford then missed two games and played only 14.5 minutes in his return. He scored just seven points in those two games.
Throw those two games out, though, and Gafford is averaging 11.7 PPG in the other six outings this season. He has at least eight points in every one of those games, within a half a point of this over. For his career, when Gafford has played at least 20 minutes, he averages 11.3 PPG. This year’s start are right in line with his career production.
Cleveland plays a trio of seven footers, so Gafford should see plenty of time tonight. I’ll take his points over and play to -135. Our Props Tool is recommending basically every Gafford over on the board, but I don’t trust his secondary numbers. I’ll stick with just the points.
Kemba Walker, Over 2.5 Assists (-150)
|Bucks vs. Knicks||Knicks -1.5|
|Time | TV||7:30 p.m. ET | League Pass|
It hasn’t been the smoothest start for Kemba Walker in New York. His overall numbers are down, with 12.2 PPG his lowest scoring average since his rookie season. His 3.2 APG are a career worst, and he’s ceding touches to Julius Randle and RJ Barrett, and sometimes minutes to Derrick Rose.
Three times this season, Walker has played under 22 minutes. His numbers were especially low in those games, of course. Those three games saw his fewest field goal attempts of the season, and he recorded just one, one, and three assists in those games. That’s three of his four lowest totals for the year.
There are seven other games, though, and in those games with more regular minutes, he’s averaging 3.8 APG. It’s not exactly blowing anyone away, but that’s still comfortably over this assist total. In those seven games, Kemba has been over this line six times.
Walker is averaging an assist every 8.3 minutes with the Knicks, so at that rate, we only need 21 minutes to like this over. He’s also averaging 5.7 potential assists per game, and remember, that includes those low minute games. That means we really only need the Knicks to convert less than half of his potential assists to hit this over.
Don’t be thrown off by the juice at -150. That implies a 60% chance of hitting, and this clearly has a better than 60% chance. It’s worth playing as high as -185.
Steven Adams, Under 17.5 PTS + REB (-105)
|Hornets vs. Grizzlies||Grizzlies -4|
|Time | TV||8 p.m. ET | League Pass|
Poor Steven Adams. The mountain man never really found the right role with the New Orleans Pelicans last season, and they offloaded him to the Memphis Grizzlies in the offseason. Now Adams is struggling to fit in with the Grizz too, and that makes sense. Ja Morant is the franchise, and this team wants to play fast and go to its great depth often.
That has meant fewer minutes for Adams as the team has settled in, and that’s the angle here. The first three games of the season, Adams played 30.7 MPG and averaged 13.0 points and 13.0 rebounds per game. Pretty good!
But in the seven games since, Adams has dropped to 6.3 points and 6.1 rebounds per game, under half his early production. He’s down to 22.6 MPG, and he’s played fewer than 22 minutes in five of those seven outings. In those lower minute outings, which are becoming more and more regular these days, he’s averaging just 11.2 points + rebounds, far under this line.
Adams has gone under 17.5 PR in five straight, even with heavier minutes in two of them. He’s never been a scorer, and I like the combo here because it’s more of a chance to fade the minutes with a higher total. Adams could end up going way under this line.
Our projections have him at 5.6 points and 6.6 rebounds, and that gives this prop a 30% edge in our favor and makes it a 10 out of 10 rating. I’ll play to -140, and I’d play down a PR too if the line drops.