Oh baby. Today is March 3 (3/3/22) so it’s Mountain Dew Super Trey Day at FanDuel, and we are leaning all the way in. Much like the ever-evolving modern-day NBA, today is all about the 3s.
The FanDuel promotion is very simple. Place a bet of $25 or more today, 3/3, on First Basket Scorer on either the Grizzlies-Celtics or Lakers-Clippers game, and you get $1 in site credit for every 3-pointer made by both teams combined (up to $25).
Say no more, FanDuel — I’m in! Today’s props will be all about Trey Day and 3-pointers, and maybe a little Illuminati. Let’s have a little fun, shall we?
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
Ivica Zubac, First Basket Scorer (+800)
|Lakers vs. Clippers||Clippers -2.5|
|Time | TV||10 p.m. ET | TNT|
We gotta start with the big one for Super Trey Day and hit that FanDuel promotion right out of the gates.
The first order of business is determining which of our two game options will have more 3-pointers made. By season averages, that slightly favors the Battle of LA, and that makes sense. Boston’s defense has been the best in the league lately while Memphis’s is trending up too, and the Lakers-Clippers game should play faster.
There’s a pretty good chance both games get somewhere between 15 and 25 makes (and the max payout is $25 anyway), so we’ll favor the late game.
Now this is where we need to lean heavily on this outstanding research from @NBAFirstBasket at Twitter. Check out this chart from today:
Game info for today.
Will have a FanDuel first basket promo play later today, closer to 6pm ET. pic.twitter.com/TCiB169ExA
— NBA First Basket (@NBAFirstBasket) March 3, 2022
There’s a lot to take in here, so where do we start?
At first glance, it looks like the Lakers should win the tip. Dwight Howard has won 54% of his tips this season while Ivica Zubac is low at 31%. But Howard didn’t start last game for the Lakers. Instead they played small, and LeBron James actually jumped.
We obviously don’t have a ton of data for that, but Zubac has won half his tips over the past 20 days and has the size advantage, so we’re probably looking at a coin flip at least here. Now, check the data again. The Lakers have played 61 games, and in 20 of those 61 (33%), their first basket allowed has been scored by the opposing center.
The Clippers have been a bit more egalitarian with their early scoring, with 16 first baskets each to their shooting guards and power forwards and 15 to their centers. That’s a 23% hit rate for centers. But remember, that includes a tidy chunk of Paul George in there too. Tick that number up a bit without PG, and center is now as likely as any position to get the first Clippers bucket. Probably not quite as high as that 33% allowed by the Lakers but not far off.
We decided that the tip-off is somewhere around a coin flip here, and there’s no guarantee that the team that wins the tip scores first anyway. If we figure both the Lakers and Clippers have roughly a 50/50 chance of scoring first — remember we need the first game points, not just the first Clippers’ points — then we have to multiply 50% by our approximately 33% and that gives us roughly a 1-in-6 shot at Zubac scoring the first basket.
At 1-in-6, using our handy-dandy Betting Odds Calculator, that’s an implied +500. That’s shorter than every Clipper on the board, and Zubac has only the third-best odds of any Clippers player. We’re getting him at +800.
This thing is a crap shoot, but it looks like we’ve got an edge in our favor. Let’s turn that $25 promo bet into a $200 hit and then hope we get $25 in promotional credit with a patented Clippers barrage of 3s too.
Steph Curry Over 3.5 3s + Warriors Moneyline Parlay (+255)
|Warriors vs. Mavericks||Mavericks -2.5|
|Time | TV||8:30 p.m. ET | NBA League Pass|
It’s Super Trey Day, and it’s all about 3s, so you just know we have to play a prop from the Greatest Shooter of All Time.
It’s certainly been an up-and-down season for the GSOAT. Curry was molten lava to start the season before going into a long slump right as he chased the all-time record, then prolonged when Draymond Green went out injured. The volume dipped some too at Curry’s lowest, when his confidence was perhaps a bit shaken, but it looks like he’s come — or at least is coming — out of the slump.
I still think a January game against the Pistons may have been the turning point. That was Klay Thompson’s first genuinely good game back since his long injury absence, with 21 points for the other Splash Brother. The very next game after that, Curry exploded for six 3s and 39 points, and ever since that Pistons game, the volume has been mostly back.
In his last 17 games, Curry is averaging 3.8 makes on 11.1 attempts from deep. He’s gone cold again out of the break, dipping his make rate to only 35% over that stretch, but we need volume, not efficiency.
The truth is that this line is flat out disrespectful. Curry’s 3-point prop was at 4.5 for much of this season, even 5.5 at times. Now it’s all the way down to 3.5, and it’s not just down there, but it’s almost even odds. Honestly, I would take Curry over 3.5 3s blind against any team in any matchup at even odds.
And, well, that’s probably good, because Curry has not been good against the Mavs this season. He’s scored only 19.7 PPG in three games and gone under 3.5 made 3s in all of them at just 6-for-29 on the season. Dallas ranks first in the NBA in point guard defense and allows the fewest 3-pointers in the NBA at just 10.7 per game. Not great.
But that Mavs defense has faltered lately, just 19th over the past two weeks, and it’s not like Curry has struggled with the Mavs in the past. He hit the over on this prop in all three Mavericks games last year, making 20 treys, an average of 6.7 per game. Let’s not make too much of a small sample size this year, especially with Dallas’s defense starting to regress to the mean.
Curry has gone over 3.5 made 3s in 38 of 57 games, hitting this over 67% of the time. That should imply odds right at -200, not the near even odds we’re getting. But here’s how we can really bend this in our favor. In those 38 games with four-plus Curry 3s, the Warriors are an awesome 31-7, versus a very average 12-12 in all other Golden State games.
When Curry hits, the Warriors do too. That’s why it’s worth backing our 3-point king on Super Trey Day, but only if we parlay the moneyline too. Now we’re getting +255, implying just a 28% hit rate. This season, Curry has made four or more 3s in a Warriors win 69% of the time. That’s a pretty nice edge in our favor, so let’s see if Curry can do his thing tonight and lead the Warriors to a win on Super Trey Day.
Trey Lyles, First Basket Scorer (+1700)
|Kings vs. Spurs||Spurs -6.5|
|Time | TV||8:30 p.m. ET | NBA League Pass|
Okay, it’s time to put our Illuminati hats on. Get ready.
It’s Super Trey Day, right? So I just want to bet on some dudes named Trey, or Tre, or maybe Trae.
No such luck.
There are no Trae Young props posted as of publishing. Some might suggest that’s because we don’t know if John Collins will play for Atlanta yet, and maybe it’s that. Or maybe the books are trying to stop us from profiting on Trae for Trey Day.
Now, dig a little deeper, and the plot thickens. The NBA is in on this, too.
Do you know how much money we could make off of Trey Murphy III tonight? There are two 3s in his name, but the NBA robbed us of this opportunity by giving the Pelicans a night off. For shame.
Trey Burke hasn’t played in three weeks with a shoulder injury. Marvin Bagley III is doubtful with an ankle injury. Rookies Greg Brown III (Portland) and Lindy Waters III (Oklahoma City) aren’t playing enough minutes to get lines. James Ennis III has played for three teams this season, but not since January.
And that brings us to Trey Lyles.
Lyles was traded to Sacramento at the deadline in the Bagley deal. Two Treys in one deal?! VERY suspicious. Detroit is exactly 3-3 since acquiring Bagley. Lyles played three minutes in his Kings debut. In his third game, he collected three defensive rebounds. The next game he attempted three 3s. Last night in New Orleans, Lyles had three defensive rebounds and three 3-point attempts.
*cue Twilight Zone music*
We have to bet on Trey Lyles on Super Trey Day. The signs are obvious.
There’s just one problem. We can’t bet on Lyles either. He’s started the last two games in place of Moe Harkless, but there are no points lines for Lyles, nor rebounds or 3s. There are no Lyles props anywhere that I can find.
With a single solitary exception.
We can bet on Trey Lyles one place: to score the first basket of the Kings-Spurs games. WHOA. The one Trey bet we can make is the exact prop we can play in the Super Trey Day promo… but in a game that’s not eligible? Is this all just one huge misdirection? Is it really all about Trey Lyles?!
Go back to that @NBAFirstBasket data. Sabonis wins only 14% of his tips, so we’ll probably need a Kings stop. But notice that 47% of San Antonio’s first baskets allowed have come to opposing big men. That’s almost half of them!
Lyles didn’t show up in the play-by-play last night until almost halfway through the first quarter — but when he did, he hit a trey! One game earlier in his first Kings start, Lyles did one better. He scored the actual first Kings bucket. That technically makes him one-for-two as the Kings’ first basket scorer: 50% hit rate!
You have to dig deep to even find Trey Lyles listed. He’s +1700 to be the First Basket Scorer, an implied 5.6%. But the books don’t know we know what we know. We know about the treys. We know about the Illuminati. Our all-knowing eye sees everything.
Trey Lyles will score the first basket at +1700 on Super Trey Day, just as the ancient prophecies foretold. It’ll probably be a 3, too.
And San Antonio’s Tre Jones won’t be able to do anything but watch it all from the sidelines in awe.