Happy New Year! It’s our first edition of the Prop Forecast for 2023 — let’s make it a good one! Over the first 11 weeks of the NBA season, I’ve looked at emerging trends that could point to value in player props markets.
As I’ll talk about this week, sometimes the value comes from a player stepping into a bigger role due to an injury. Other times, a player is just transcendent and makes those around him better.
Let’s dive in to this week’s NBA player props forecast.
NBA Player Props Betting Forecast
What’s the Beal in DC?
Bradley Beal has now missed three consecutive games due to his hamstring injury, marking his 15th missed game this season compared to 23 games played. This is now after last season where he played in just 40 games and missed the final 32 games.
In the offseason, Beal signed an absolutely massive contract extension and is now tied to the Wizards through the 2026-27 season where he has a $57 million player option (spoiler alert: Beal, who will be 34 at the end of that season, is going to opt-in to $57 million).
It begs the question, will Beal finish his contract in Washington and even if he does, how much time will he miss throughout the season?
The past three games, Corey Kispert has slid into the starting lineup in Beal’s place; however, he has averaged just 10 points, 4 rebounds, and 1 assist in 31.8 minutes per game. While Kyle Kuzma should always be on triple-double watch whenever Beal is out, the player that has truly risen to the occasion is Rui Hachimura.
Hachimura missed a month with a bone bruise on his right ankle, but since his return, the fourth-year forward has played six games and is averaging 19 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 1.7 assists in 26.8 minutes per game. In these last three without Beal, his scoring has jumped to 24 points per game with 26 points against the Milwaukee Bucks, 16 against the Orlando Magic, and 30 against the Phoenix Suns.
That he is doing this off the bench makes it all the more likely that the production is sustainable. While he may see his minutes fall a touch whenever Beal returns, those matchups against opposing second units will be exploitable. This developmental leap is interesting, but it likely comes from greater self-confidence. Hachimura plays for the Japan National Team in International play, and during the Olympics, he played heavy minutes while scoring over 21 points per game and recording nearly seven rebounds per game.
Without Beal over these few games, he has tapped into that primary scorer role and it’s paid dividends. His usage since his return is at 21.7% and he is scoring 139.0 points per 100 shot attempts which would be in the 72nd percentile of all Forwards and is second on the team only to Daniel Gafford.
Hachimura’s points prop was set at 14.5 against the Bucks, a three-point increase from his first game without Beal against Phoenix on Dec. 28 when it was 11.5 and a five-point increase from his last game with Beal against the Sixers when it was 9.5. If this line is 14.5 again without Beal, he has exceeded this in six of eight games this season without Beal. If it is 9.5 when Beal returns, Hachimura has exceeded that in 18 of 22 games this season.
When Beal has played, his points prop has settled around 24.5 this season. He has exceeded that in 13 of the 23 games he’s played. In the three other instances where he returned after a missed game, he has scored 25, 28, and 29 points. Whenever he is ready to return, he generally has returned without a minutes limit.
Check out our NBA props page, which automatically surfaces the best player props lines for every game.
Luka’s Magic Rubbing Off on Christian Wood
The Dallas Mavericks, winners of six straight, have been on a tear lately and now sit in fourth place in the Western Conference. The Mavs have leaned heavily on Luka Doncic during this win streak and his performance has been legendary.
Over the past six games, Doncic is averaging 42.2 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 10.2 assists. This includes the NBA’s first 60 point, 20 rebound triple-double that was unfortunately against my Knicks. This team lives and dies with Doncic, but even moreso lately with Dorian Finney-Smith and Maxi Kleber both on the injury report.
The Mavericks have another date with the Rockets on Monday night and in his two prior games against the Rockets he had game logs of 50 points, 8 rebounds, and 10 assists on Dec. 23, and 35 points, 12 rebounds, and 13 assists on Dec. 29. His prop lines for for Monday night are 33.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 9.5 assists. I expect Dallas to win this game, so even though that points prop is high, I find the most value there considering he has exceeded 33.5 points in 12 of 21 Dallas wins this season. Also, 9.5 assists is okay at plus money, but would much prefer an 8.5 with juice if that were to open.
It should come as no surprise that Luka’s stats have improved with Christian Wood entering the starting lineup. Wood has started the last eight games for the Mavericks and lineups with both Doncic and Wood on the floor have absolutely smashed on the offensive side of the ball.
Those lineups are a +7.5 points per 100 possessions and they are scoring 124.0 points per 100 possessions, per Cleaning the Glass. The offense opens up and Christian Wood becomes a primary target for assists.
Since he has entered the starting lineup, Wood receives 20.9% of Doncic’s passes and converts those for 2.7 assists per game. That is a dramatic uptick from his numbers off the bench where he received just 13.2% of Doncic’s passes and converted those into 1.8 assists. Luka has recorded at least nine assists in all but one of the games Wood has started and their on-court chemistry is a big factor.
Additionally, Wood has seen his output increase. As a starter, he is averaging 19.7 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 1.4 assists compared to 17 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 2 assists. He has also recorded at least one block in every game he has started and at least two in seven of his nine starts on the season. His prop lines tonight are set at 19.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and 1.5 blocks.
While I do not see much value on his PRA, his blocks is definitely a play, especially since he has recorded four blocks in each of his two contests against the Rockets this season as a starter.