Uhh ohhh, guess what day it is. Guess. What. Day. It. Is.
It’s Plus Juice Dayyyy!!!
Fine, it’s also the NBA Trade Deadline, and that will steal all the headlines. But it also means shifting rosters and creates great prop opportunities around the league, so tonight is a great night to get aggressive and go for some big plus-juice prop plays.
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.
NBA Player Props & Picks
Isaiah Stewart, over 8.5 rebounds (+100), over 9.5 rebounds (+155), over 11.5 rebounds (+375)
|Grizzlies vs. Pistons||Pistons +11|
|Time | TV||7 p.m. ET | League Pass|
It’s time to get to know Isaiah Stewart, and more than just from that Lakers scuffle earlier this season.
Stewart was the No. 2 ranked RSCI recruit coming out of high school before a relatively quiet freshman season at the University of Washington that dropped him out of the NBA Draft Lottery. But Stewart quickly found a home with the Pistons, and he’s become one of Detroit’s core young pieces as the team moves forward.
Beef Stew is a mountain in the middle. He’s what the kids these days call thicc. Stewart is mostly ground-bound a la Zach Randolph, but he uses brute strength and outstanding positioning to set mean screens and dominate the glass. That’s especially true on the offensive end. Stewart isn’t the fastest player you’ll ever see so he’s not going to get back well in transition, and that’s just as well because he’s an absolute beast on the offensive glass.
Stewart has been unleashed as an offensive rebounder over the past six games, averaging a whopping 6.2 offensive rebounds per game during that stretch. Add in 7.2 defensive boards per game too and he’s at 13.3 RPG for these six games, dominating the glass and helping the offense by keeping possessions alive. He’s also playing 31.1 MPG and adding 9.5 PPG, so he’s a nightly double-double threat.
Stewart has at least 11 rebounds in six straight games, so this is a smash spot until the books adjust the line up to account for the increased offensive rebounding. It won’t be easy since Memphis is a terrific rebounding team, first in the league on the offensive glass itself, but all the more reason to expect Detroit to lean heavily on Stewart to play big minutes to offset that Grizz strength. We just need to hope this isn’t a blowout.
We’re projecting Stewart at 10.6 rebounds tonight, and remember, that would be his lowest output in seven games. If you want the safest play, you can play Stewart to go over 7.5 rebounds at -135 at DraftKings. He’s gone over that on offensive rebounds alone in two of the last three games, and he went over it despite playing only 20 minutes in his other Grizzlies game this season.
This looks like a nice spot to get more aggressive, though, and that’s why I’m riding the escalator. A great thing about offensive rebounds is that you can get more than one on the same possession, so you can rack up boards in a hurry. If we hit the over-8.5 at even odds, we only need one more board to go over 9.5 at +155, which is a bit silly. And we have to play the alt over-11.5 too since Stewart has hit that in five of these last six games and we’re getting +375, implying only 21% hit rate.
If you really want to go nuts, you can move to FanDuel and play 14-plus rebounds at +750, a feat Stewart has accomplished six times already this season and two of the last three games. Or go all in at 16-plus boards for double the price of +1500. There’s a chance Stewart could check every box.
For me, I’ll stick with the 8.5, 9.5, and 11.5 overs. That’s a great range of outcomes the way Stewart is gobbling up rebounds lately, and it doesn’t go nuts on the high end in case he loses some minutes or struggles to rebound against such a tough Grizzlies team.
CJ McCollum, under 4.5 rebounds (+110)
|Heat vs. Pelicans||Pelicans +4.5|
|Time | TV||7:30 p.m. ET | League Pass|
The Pelicans made one of the big Trade Deadline moves this week when they pushed their chips into the middle of the table and traded a pile of assets for CJ McCollum. New Orleans gave up Josh Hart, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Tomas Satoransky, Didi Louzada, and three draft picks to Portland to bring the star shooting guard to The Big Easy.
McCollum joins Brandon Ingram, Devonte’ Graham, Jonas Valanciunas, and -eventually- Zion Williamson in a star-studded Pelicans lineup as New Orleans continues its surprising push for the 10-seed and the Western Conference play-in tournament. The Pels started 1-12 but are 21-20 since, including a four-game winning streak as McCollum arrives, their longest of the season.
One of the things New Orleans has done well all season long is rebound. The Pelicans rank top three in the NBA in both offensive and defensive rebounding rate, and that’s even without Zion Williamson seeing the court yet. Jonas Valanciunas has been a monster in the paint as always, so he leads the way, but everyone has done their job.
Still, it feels a bit odd that we’re getting plus juice to bet on CJ McCollum to go under 4.5 rebounds. Yes, McCollum has been a workhorse in his career, but it’s no certainty that he plays his usual minutes load in his debut on a new team, so that’s one very easy way to hit the under. And while it’s true that the departed Josh Hart was second on the team in rebounding at 7.8 RPG, it makes little sense to just assume that slotting McCollum into his place is a like-for-like stats swap.
McCollum is actually averaging a career-high in rebounding this season, but even that is at 4.3, below this number. Even in a career season, he’s gone below 4.3 boards in 22 of 36 games, hitting this under 61% of the time. Last season, he was under 4.3 rebounds in 31 of 47 appearances, going under 66% of the time.
This is probably the right line at 4.5, considering McCollum’s season averages, but it’s not the right juice. I’m definitely playing this at plus odds, and I’d go as far as -125 if needed. We project CJ at 3.6 boards, and there’s a chance this is an easy under if he comes off the bench or plays limited minutes.
Thomas Bryant, under 0.5 blocks (+155)
|Nets vs. Wizards||Wizards -3|
|Time | TV||7:30 p.m. ET p.m. ET | TNT|
Few things in life beat the existential dread of watching an entire game just hoping for one thing to not happen, not once, not ever, during the entire 48 minutes. As if watching the Brooklyn Nets play basketball wasn’t enough existential dread all on its own, am I right?
Thomas Bryant is finally back for the Wizards. Bryant broke out for Washington two seasons ago and signed a big contract, but he’s been plagued with injuries ever since. He played only 10 games last season before missing the rest of the year hurt, and he missed a full calendar year since January 9, 2021, before finally making his return on January 11, 2022.
Bryant has played 11 games since his return and finally moved into the starting lineup over the last four games, but it’s clear the Wizards are being careful with their big man. He’s yet to top 22 minutes on the season, and even in these starts, he’s averaging under 19 minutes per game.
Bryant is a good scorer when healthy, but he’s not exactly known for his defense. So even with the Nets shorthanded — maybe by a lot, by the time this game tips off, depending on the Trade Deadline — I’m not banking on Bryant getting a shot block tonight.
For his career, Bryant is at 1.5 blocks per 36 minutes. He’s playing about half of that right now, so that would imply around 0.7 blocks and that’s right about where we have him projected, at 0.6. The Nets are the sixth most blocked team in the league this season, but not this Nets team playing tonight.
James Harden has been blocked 66 times himself, a massive number. The rest of Brooklyn’s roster has been blocked only 205 times, which means the Nets sans Harden average just under four shots blocked per game, which would rank second best in the entire NBA. That’s not entirely fair, since removing Harden entirely would mean someone else hoisting a ton of shots and occasionally getting blocked, but it still shows that this matchup without Harden is in our favor.
Besides, we need some reason to watch this garbage TNT game with no Harden or Bradley Beal, so why not hate watch all game and root against human achievement? Come on, big fella, just focus on your offense tonight. I’ll fade Bryant’s shot blocking at +125 or better.
Bonus Prop Bets
- Evan Fournier, over 1.5 assists (-130 DraftKings): Fournier has multiple assists in five of the last six games and the underlying numbers back up the results. He’s at 5.0 Potential Assists per game that stretch, way up from 3.6 the rest of the season. We only need a pair — just Don’t Google.
- Mikal Bridges, over 0.5 blocks (+180 DraftKings): This DPOY candidate has been at his best in the biggest games this season, and a Finals rematch certainly qualifies. Bridges had a block in four of eight Bucks games last season. He’s only had a block in 21 of 54 games this year, but that 39% hit rate still bests this implied 36%, and he had a block in 63% of his games last year. Great spot to play a half unit for a near full unit win.
- Jrue Holiday, over 4.5 rebounds (+105 BetMGM): He’s over 4.5 boards in 25 of 43 games, a 58% hit rate, and could get big minutes tonight if this stays close and the Bucks try to make a statement in the Finals rematch, especially with Donte DiVincenzo traded and out of the lineup. Holiday averaged 6.2 RPG against Phoenix in the Finals and went over this line in five of six games.