We have only 12 days of the NBA regular season left, and these playoff races are as tight as ever.
There’s much on the line at the top of the Eastern Conference, and the play-in races are shifting and reshaping each night. That means it’s time to ride the biggest stars, and on Wednesday night, our three props are on a pair of All-Stars and another former All-Star stepping into a bigger role.
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 and the best books to find odds on those player props.
NBA Player Props & Picks
Kevin Love Over 2.5 Assists (+116), Over 2.5 3-Pointers (+115)
|Mavericks at Cavaliers||Mavs -2|
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
With Jarrett Allen still sidelined indefinitely and Evan Mobley out with a sprained ankle, things are starting to look bleak for this once very promising Cleveland Cavaliers season. Don’t forget, Collin Sexton is already out for the season and they also lost Ricky Rubio for the year before trading him.
Heck, Dean Wade just went on the IR and he had started more than half his appearances, too.
The Cavs might not have much left to offer, but all those missing bodies means someone else is going to have to step up and take on more minutes and usage. And luckily, they happen to have a $31 million man ready for the job.
Kevin Love has quietly been pretty awesome for the Cavs this season. A guy with what many counted as one of the worst contracts in the league and thought could be malcontent on a bad team has instead been a model citizen and a lowkey Sixth Man of the Year candidate. Love is averaging 13.6 points and 7.3 rebounds with 2.4 made 3-pointers per game on 39% shooting.
It doesn’t look like much, but he’s doing that in only 22 minutes per game.
While Allen and Darius Garland are first-time All-Stars and Mobley looks likely to win Rookie of the Year, Love actually has the best advanced metrics of anyone on the team. And now with Allen and Mobley out, the Cavs have no real choice but to give Love big minutes and a bigger role again over the final couple weeks — or at least until Mobley is able to return.
Love played 32 minutes off the bench when Mobley went down in the last game, and will likely get to somewhere around that mark on Wednesday night. And when Kevin Love is on the court, he produces. In 13 games with 28 or more minutes this season, Love is averaging 18.8 points, 9.3 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 3.7 3s per game.
His rebounding prop is about right, but the rest of his lines look favorable for bettors according to our props tool, so the question is deciding on which over(s) to play.
The 3-pointers stand out as my top play. In those high-minute games, Love is taking 8.6 3-point attempts per game and hitting 3.7 of them. He’s gone over 2.5 makes in 10 of those 13 games with multiple 3s in all but one of them. And we get this over at plus money? Yes please.
I prefer the 3-point prop to his points because the line is better and we need the 3s to hit the points anyway. You can also play 4+ 3-pointers at +310 odds at FanDuel for a small escalator. He’s had that many in seven of those 13 games.
The assists also look worth a play. Love has gone over 2.5 assists in 10 of these 13 high-minute games, hitting that over 77% of the time, and again we are getting plus-money for our play.
I’m not looking for an alternate over on the assists, but the base over looks good. The Mavs are a tough defense but actually rank bottom-six against opposing power forwards, so I’m confident Love will produce.
You can decide how you want to play this. If you only want one, I’ll stick with the over on the traditional 3s props. But you can play several angles if you like, or build a Same Game Parlay with Love overs since hitting one means more likely to hit the others, since it likely means his minutes are up.
Let’s just hope John Lennon was right. Tonight, all we need is Love.
Karl-Anthony Towns Over 2.5 Assists (-135)
|Timberwolves at Raptors||Raptors -2.5|
|Time||7:30 p.m. ET|
Karl-Anthony Towns and the Minnesota Timberwolves are officially here.
Almost any way you slice it, the Wolves have been one of the league’s best and hottest teams over the second half of the season.
They’re up to sixth in Offensive Rating and 13th in Defensive Rating, but the offense has been at or near the top of the league over the back half of the season. And of course, Towns is at the heart of everything good the Wolves are doing offensively.
Chris Finch has really unlocked the best from his guys, and KAT gets a lot of credit since his shooting and unique set of skills as a 7-footer open up so much else for his teammates. Per usual, that means a heap of points, 3-pointers and rebounds for Towns. He’s at 24.6 points and 9.8 rebounds per game in another All-Star campaign. But it also means open passing lanes for Towns to find his teammates, which continues to do that at an impressive clip.
Towns’ assists per game are actually down from the last two seasons to 3.7 APG with the Wolves sharing the ball more and three other playmakers out there much of the time, but that’s still a nice number and an average well above this silly line.
It really feels like this line is a full assist low. Towns has gone over 2.5 in 48-of-69 games, hitting this over 70% of the time. And while the Raptors are a tricky defense, they lack a defender with the size to hang with Towns and opposing centers, which is why they’re one of the worst defenses against centers. Towns had three assists earlier this season against the Raptors, plus three and four in games against them last season.
This is a very big game as both the Raptors and Wolves push to escape the play-in race, so expect big minutes from Towns and other key starters. Our props tool rates this a 10 out of 10, so I’ll play the over to -175 if needed.
Jayson Tatum Over 7.5 Rebounds (+115)
|Heat at Celtics||Celtics -5|
|Time||7:30 p.m. ET|
No team in the NBA has been hotter than the Boston Celtics. They’ve torn through the league over the last couple months, routinely winning games by 20 or more points and leaving little room for doubt with the league’s best defense and an offense that was really starting to come together.
And then Robert Williams got hurt.
Williams had become one of the leading candidates for Defensive Player of the Year, and many words have been written about Ime Udoka’s smart move of Williams out of the paint in a way that unlocked this defense. Now Williams will miss at least a month with a meniscus tear, which means the Celtics will have to adjust again.
No Williams should mean more minutes from Daniel Theis and Grant Williams, but it’s nearly certain that the Celtics will end up playing smaller since those two simply are not Robert Williams. But with Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown available on the wing as big forwards, “small” is a direction this team can go because those two can play bigger.
One place that should manifest itself is on the glass. Tatum and Brown will need to vacuum up a few more rebounds a game with Timelord out, and though the Heat are a very good rebounding team, that’s all the more reason the Celtics will know to go hard on the glass in a big game with Eastern seeding on the line.
Tatum is averaging 8.1 rebounds per game, already above this line, and going over 7.5 boards in 40-of-71 games. That’s a 56% hit rate, already in our favor for a bet we’re getting at plus juice.
But look at the 13 games Tatum has played without Robert Williams. In those games, Tatum is up to 8.9 RPG and over 7.5 boards in nine of 13, hitting this over 69% of the time. That’s more than enough reason to play this over at any plus number.
Bonus NBA Prop Bets
- Terry Rozier Over 3.5 Assists (-150) at FanDuel: Rozier went over 3.5 assists in only 14 of his first 29 games, but he had 4+ dimes in 10 straight starting on Jan. 5. Since that date, he’s gone over in 27-of-38 games, hitting this over 71% of the time and averaging 5.2 APG.
- OG Anunoby Over 1.5 3-Pointers (-146) at FanDuel: Anunoby is finally back after a long injury absence and played almost 40 minutes in his last game, so he should get big minutes in a key game against the Wolves. His scoring is down to 12.2 PPG over his last 10, but the 3-point volume is still there. He’s averaging 2.4 makes per game for the season with at least one trey in all but six games, and he’s gone over this line in 33-of-45 games (73%).
- Davion Mitchell Over 2.5 Turnovers (-110) at BetMGM: We’ll keep on playing this one with De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis out and the rookie taking on such a big usage and minutes load. While starting the last five games, he’s averaging 3.4 turnovers per game in 41 minutes, over this line in four of the five. There’s good stuff happening, too, but keep playing the turnovers.