Thursday's NBA Player Props: 3 Big Men to Target

Read on to see Action Network NBA analyst Brandon Anderson's top prop selections for Thursday's slate of basketball.

It’s big men night here in the NBA props column. Big men aren’t always the sexiest props, and two of our three main props tonight involve over/unders at 0.5.

But sometimes you just have to play the board available, and tonight we’re playing three centers as our main picks, then sprinkling three plus-money picks in the bonus bets.

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 six prop bets that I’m playing, the case for each bet and the best books to find odds on those player props.

>> Download The Action Network App to get real-time NBA odds, track your bets and follow all of our experts’ picks.

NBA Player Props & Picks

Isaiah Stewart, Under 0.5 3-Pointers (-125)

76ers vs. Pistons 76ers -10
Time | TV 7 p.m. ET | NBA League Pass
Best Book DraftKings

Apparently Isaiah Stewart is shooting 3s now. That makes sense. Detroit added Marvin Bagley at the Trade Deadline and has been playing him more lately, and that gives added reason to stretch out the defense a bit.

Lately that has meant asking Stewart to try a few 3-pointers, something Detroit coach Dwane Casey has noted is a priority down the stretch, particularly from the corners. After making only four 3-pointers all season, Stewart has made four more in his last two games. That’s two in each game, and it makes this under look a bit silly.

On the other hand, Stewart attempted only three 3s in each of those games, and he’s not going to keep hitting 2-of-3 most games. Even with this “hot” stretch, he’s still shooting just 23.5% on 3s for the season, and the shot still looks a bit forced and uncomfortable.

Before these last two games, Stewart had only attempted more than one 3-pointer in only three other games all season. There’s still a chance he doesn’t even try one tonight, making this the easiest under ever. Even if he takes a shot or two, at 23.5%, we have a good shot at a hit. All the better that Philadelphia allows the third fewest 3-pointers to opposing teams, so that makes this a good spot to fade shooters.

You never know how tanking teams go with these things, but Detroit has actually covered every game this month as an underdog, so the Pistons are not really tanking. I don’t think we’ll see a Stewart 3-pointer tonight, and the juice is low enough after the last two games that we have to play this.

Brook Lopez, over 0.5 blocks (-190)

Nets vs. Bucks Nets -2
Time | TV 7:30 p.m. ET | TNT
Best Book DraftKings

Brook Lopez is finally back, and that could be huge for the Milwaukee Bucks down the stretch.

Lopez is something of a unicorn as a big man. At his best, he’s one of the league’s very best rim protectors on defense, and he’s one of very few such rim protectors who can also stretch the defense out to the 3-point arc and beyond on the other end of the court. Lopez’s health will be a huge swing for Milwaukee’s title chances over these next few months.

We’re focusing on his shot blocking tonight.

Lopez played about 15 minutes in each of his first two games back after the long injury absence, failing to record a block in either game. But he’s had six blocks in the five games since, up to 1.2 BPG and over in four of the five games, and he’s starting to play more minutes and look more comfortable on the court.

He also loves blocking his former team, the Nets. He actually had a season-high three blocks against the Nets way back in October, his only other game this season before going out injured. Lopez also played the Nets 10 times last year including the playoffs and averaged 2.2 blocks per game in those contests with at least one block in seven of the 10 games, including outings with three, three, four, five and six blocks.

I’d love a chance to do an escalator bet here but most books don’t offer that for blocks. Instead, let’s just grab a win and get on the board. Even the steep -190 juice is worth drinking for a prop this likely to hit. Besides, longtime prop column readers know we just love our Brook Lopez 0.5 overs.

Andre Drummond, over 10.5 points (-110)

Nets vs. Bucks Nets -2
Time | TV 7:30 p.m. ET | TNT
Best Book DraftKings

Now that Lopez is back, and since the Bucks are plenty big anyway with Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bobby Portis, and others, that makes Milwaukee a difficult matchup for the Nets. Brooklyn probably doesn’t have any answers defensively, and the rebounding battle could be an issue too.

That almost certainly means the Nets will be forced to play one or more of their big men throughout the game, and that should result in good minutes for Andre Drummond.

Drummond has seen pretty consistent playing time lately. Over the last eight games, he’s playing 24.4 minutes per game. And if there’s one thing we know about Andre Drummond, it’s that he’s definitely going to put up counting numbers while he’s out there. During those eight games, Drummond is averaging 15.1 points and 10.9 rebounds a game.

He’s had double-digit points in all eight of them, putting us within one point of an over in every case, and he has five double-doubles too.

I checked the odds for double-double, but they’re not worth the squeeze here, especially since the rebounds have actually been a bit inconsistent lately. I don’t mind nibbling at 15-plus points at +300. He’s had 13 or more in all but one of these eight games and hit 15-plus in half of them.

For just the over 10.5 points, we’re getting a pretty good number at near even odds. I’ll play that over to -130 or pivot to the 15-plus.

Bonus NBA Prop Bets

  • James Harden, under 9.5 assists (+105 PointsBet): Harden’s assist numbers have been falling off, and he’s under this line in five straight. Harden is averaging 16.4 Potential Assists per game during that stretch, a significant drop from 19.5 per game in his 10 previous Philadelphia games. Ten dimes is always a big ask anyway, and blowout potential is another reason he could go under.
  • Cade Cunningham, over 6.5 assists (+105 BetMGM): Cunningham is making a late push for Rookie of the Year. Over the last 10 games, he’s averaging 23.1 points, 5.0 assists, and 7.9 assists per game. He’s had at least six assists in all 10 games, putting him within one dime of this over every time, and he’s gone over in seven of the 10.
  • Russell Westbrook, 25+ points (+225 Bet365): Westbrook has played four games this season without LeBron James and Anthony Davis. He’s averaging 25.3 PPG in those games with at least 24 points in all but one of them. The assists go down to 6.3 APG but scoring goes up. Hey, someone has to score, right? That sure seems to be Westbrook’s mentality.