One of the most important things to learn as a bettor is that we can only play the board in front of us. Sometimes that means playing a side you love or a superstar player you trust. Other days it means grabbing an awful team because the value is there or putting your trust in a role player to do his job, fight hard, and get you some results.
Today is one of those role player days, and we’re trusting the numbers and the work ethic of these guys below to stay on the court, do their job quietly in the background, and win us some money along the way.
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 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
Dorian Finney-Smith, over 1.5 assists (-105)
|Mavericks vs. Pacers||Mavs +1.5|
|Time | TV||7 p.m. ET | League Pass|
You thought you were here for props, but you’re getting a little DFS tonight instead. Dorian Finney-Smith isn’t the sexiest player in the world, but he’s the exact sort of role player all winning teams need. Finney-Smith defends hard, usually the top option on the other team, and he knows exactly what he is on offense. He shoots 3s when he’s open and moves the ball along efficiently when he’s not.
Finney-Smith is the epitome of a 3-and-D role player. And it’s that efficient passing we’re playing tonight, because DFS has been passing better than ever over the last few weeks.
DFS has multiple assists in seven straight games for the Mavericks, and he’s averaging 2.7 APG during that stretch. That’s seven straight overs at this number. Compare that to the 17 games before this stretch, where he averaged only 1.2 APG and went over only six times (35%).
It’s not just random either. I love to check these numbers against Potential Assists at NBA Advanced Stats, and those numbers match the uptick. Finney-Smith averaged only 3.3 potential assists per game over those first 17, but that number has gone up to 4.7 during this seven-game stretch. That may not seem like much, but it’s about a 50% increase so it’s huge, and it’s why we’re seeing multiple assists each night.
If you want to get aggressive, you can bet Finney-Smith to record at least four assists at +680 at FanDuel. That number implies a 13% hit rate, meaning he should only hit that result once every eight games. But DFS has done it twice in the last five games, a 40% hit rate. It’s still likely to lose, but the number is in our favor, and that’s how this stuff works.
I love the over 1.5 assists at near even odds with the results we’re seeing lately. I’ll play to -130.
LaMarcus Aldridge, over 0.5 blocks (-130)
|Nets vs. Hawks||Nets +2|
|Time | TV||7:30 p.m. ET | ESPN|
Isn’t it nice to see LaMarcus Aldridge balling again?
Aldridge is no longer a star, but he’s become a vital player for the team at the top of the East. He’s averaging around 14 points and six boards a game and has become Brooklyn’s most reliable big man, and now he’s entered the starting lineup over the last six games, too.
Even before making it official, Aldridge’s minutes were already on the rise. Over the last 10 Nets games, he’s playing almost 30 minutes per game. And now that he’s a role player, he’s embraced his role and is adding a bit more at the defensive end. Aldridge has blocked one shot every 18.7 minutes with Brooklyn, his highest shot-blocking rate since his rookie season.
Aldridge has lost a lot of athleticism and pop since then, but he’s using his veteran savvy to make a difference for Brooklyn’s surprising defense. And LMA is averaging exactly 1.0 block per game over these last 10 Nets games. He’s also coming off a rest game, so that should put just a little more charge into those legs tonight.
Aldridge has recorded a block in 17 of 23 games this season, hitting this over 74% of the time for us. Trae Young has been blocked 35 times already this season, so let’s hope Aldridge gets him or one of his teammates tonight.
We’re projecting him at 1.3 blocks, and I’ll play this over to -150.
Isaiah Stewart, over 7.5 rebounds (-125), over 9.5 rebounds (+196)
|Pistons vs. Pelicans||Pistons +6.5|
|Time | TV||8 p.m. ET | League Pass|
If there’s one thing we’ve learned about Isaiah Stewart this season, it’s that the man is here for the fight.
We all saw Stewart take a shot in the face from the King, and we saw him respond with a bloodied face and all, unwilling to back down even against the mighty Lakers. If you didn’t know Stewart before that, that dogfight mentality is exactly who he is as a player. He shows up and fights hard with a blue collar work ethic every night. He’s the perfect Piston.
Detroit will need that fight tonight against the Pelicans since New Orleans is one of the league’s best rebounding teams, led by another man who isn’t afraid of the fight, Jonas Valanciunas. But if the last week of games is any hint, Stewart looks up for the challenge.
Over the last four Pistons games, Stewart is playing almost 32 minutes a game and averaging 11.8 RPG. He recorded at least nine rebounds in all four and has been especially lethal on the offensive glass with 4.0 ORPG during this stretch.
If you split Detroit’s 24 games so far into two, Stewart’s improvement stands out. Over the first 12 games, he averaged 6.8 RPG with 1.8 ORPG and just one game of double-digit boards. But in the 12 games since, Stewart has leapt to 9.6 RPG and 3.3 ORPG, with double-digit boards in half of them.
That means there’s a chance to get aggressive here with escalator props. I’m playing Stewart’s traditional over at 7.5 rebounds for -125, but I definitely have to play the over-9.5 at +196 too considering he’s hit that 50% of his games over the last 12.
If you want to get more aggressive from there, you certainly can. You can play him to record 12, 14, or 16 boards, or you could angle for the double-double at +400 at FanDuel. Stewart’s scoring is up and down, though he’s had three double-doubles in the last four games.
Still, this is a really tough, physical matchup against Valanciunas and the Pelicans, so I won’t get too crazy. I’ll go over 7.5 to -140, and if it goes past that I’ll just stick with the over 9.5 on its own.
Bonus Prop Bets
- Reggie Bullock, over 1.5 3s (+105 DraftKings): Finally getting minutes (27 per game over his last four) and 3-point attempts (six or more in three straight), plus he hit four in his last game so let’s hope he stays hot.
- Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, over 1.5 assists (+130 DraftKings): Playing over 38 minutes per game last two games with two assists in both and nine potential assists combined.
- Evan Mobley, over 7.5 rebounds (-105 DraftKings): Yes, we’re still doing this. Wolves rank dead last in defensive rebounding rate, and Mobley has at least seven boards in 17 of 21 games. He’s gone over this line 62% of his games.