When it comes to NBA player props, just like any other realm of betting, it’s all about the numbers. You can love a players ability or hate it, but all that matters at the end of the night is whether you got the best of the number.
Tonight we’re playing two of my favorite young prospects and one guy I’ve never been a big fan of — but I’ll be fans of all three tonight if they win us some cash.
We’ll be using the Action Labs Player Prop tool to compare our NBA projections to the props posted at a variety of sportsbooks. Each bet is then graded on a scale from 1-10, with 10 being the best possible grade.
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
Kyle Kuzma, Over 1.5 3-Pointers (-125)
|Wizards vs. Celtics||Celtics -4|
|Time | TV||7:30 p.m. ET | NBA League Pass|
When it comes to 3-point props, there’s one number that matters far more than anything else: attempts.
Betting props is almost always a volume game, and that is never more true than with 3-pointers. It doesn’t really matter if you’re the league’s greatest non-Curry shooter, if you aren’t getting minutes or don’t get shots up when you’re out there. And conversely, you can be a pretty mediocre shooter but still hit a whole bunch of 3s if you just keep firing away. Just ask Russell Westbrook — he’s 20 makes away from entering the top 100 all-time in 3-pointers made.
And that brings me to one of the men Westbrook was traded for, Kyle Kuzma. Kuzma has never been an awesome 3-point shooter. He’s shooting 33.8% for his career and 31.8% this season — and that mark is actually third-highest in his five-year career. But the truth is that 32%, 34%, or his career best 37% mean very little on a night-to-night basis. What matters is how many he attempts.
Kuzma is averaging 7.3 attempts from deep right now, and it’s becoming clear that this is a thing in Washington. Remember, we don’t just have three games of data. Preseason doesn’t always tell us a ton, but it does help us see how players will be used, and Kuzma was already bombing 3s for the Wizards in those games too.
He averaged 6.8 attempts in 26 minutes per game, hoisting a trey every 3.82 minutes. His regular season rate has dropped to one every 4.5 minutes, but his huge 33 minutes per game role leaves plenty of attempts.
Look, I’d consider playing Ben Simmons to go over 1.5 threes if I was confident he was going to hoist seven or eight jumpers that night. If Kuzma hits his usual number of attempts for the season, he only has to shoot 20% to average at least 1.5 makes.
Gambling is always about getting the best of the number, and the number favors Kuzma’s over here. I’ve never been a big Kuzma believer, but I’m a big believer in guys who make me money.
I probably won’t track this one very closely because I don’t want to start gagging when Kuzma is 0-for-5 at the half. The important number there is the five, because if those attempts are going up, I’ll still like our chances to get there.
Get your money in, close your eyes, and cash the payday at the end of the night as long as Kuzma doesn’t lay a complete stinker. We project him at 2.4 makes, and that’s closer to where this line will probably move in time. I’ll play to -145.
Tyrese Haliburton, Over 4.5 Assists (+120)
|Kings vs. Suns||Suns -8|
|Time | TV||10 p.m. ET | NBA League Pass|
When it comes to the NBA’s sophomores, everyone is focused on last season’s two flashiest stars, and that’s fair enough. LaMelo Ball and Anthony Edwards certainly look like the real deal, and they deserve their flowers. But I’m still loving what I’m seeing from Tyrese Haliburton out in Sacramento. He’s not nearly as flashy and will probably never be a big scorer, but Haliburton just does the little things that helps his team win.
He’s such a high IQ player, always in the right place on both ends of the court, a smart team defender, and a connective tissue guy on offense. Haliburton can run point or play off the ball, thanks to his shooting ability, and he is such a quick decision maker and always moves the ball quickly. That intelligence and decision-making ability help Haliburton rack up a lot of assist opportunities, and that’s the angle we’re playing tonight.
Haliburton had a quiet season opener, with just two points and four assists, but he’s looked himself in the last two games. He had 15/6 against the Utah Jazz and 8/7/9 against the Golden State Warriors. He’s averaging 6.3 assists per game on the season, with an assist every 5.45 minutes.
That per-minute rate is right about in line with where Haliburton was last season, at one dime every 5.35 minutes. During his rookie season, Haliburton averaged 5.3 assists, but that’s not really a fair metric since he only started 20 games. In those 20 starts, his rate jumped to 6.0 APG, right about where it’s at this year.
I worried that Haliburton might come off the bench this season, but he’s starting and playing good minutes, and that means this line is just too low, especially since Phoenix has struggled defensively this season and is giving up some easy looks.
I can’t believe we’re getting significant plus juice here. I think this line should be a full assist higher, and that’s about where we are projecting Haliburton, at 5.6 assists. I’ll play the over 4.5 at any plus number or down to -115.
Evan Mobley, Over 7.5 Rebounds (+105)
|Cavaliers vs. Clippers||Clippers -8|
|Time | TV||10:30 p.m. ET | NBA League Pass|
Don’t look now, but the Cleveland Cavaliers rookie is playing pretty well.
Evan Mobley was my favorite prospect in the draft, and even I did not expect him to look this good so quickly. Mobley has looked like the whole package. He dazzled in his debut against Memphis with 17 points, nine rebounds, and a shocking six assists.
The assist numbers haven’t kept up, but he’s scored double digits in all four games on at least 50% from the field, and he’s getting to the line consistently. He’s also flashing that massive defensive potential already, with five steals and eight blocks through four games.
One of the things that’s surprised me the most, though, is Mobley’s rebounding. That was an area of weakness for Mobley as a draft prospect, in part because he got pushed around far too easily at USC. But Mobley has looked much stronger already after a summer adding muscle, and he’s also benefiting by playing a lot of his minutes at power forward, with Jarrett Allen facing the centers and absorbing more of the opponent’s heft.
Mobley has nine, five, 11, and eight rebounds in his four games. He’s gone over this line in three of those four, and books are rapidly adjusting this line upward to make up for his rebounding prowess. It was 6.5 the last couple times out, and now it’s 7.5, but they haven’t gone quite far enough.
Mobley is averaging a rebound every four minutes this season, and he was even better in preseason with one every 3.36 minutes. This rebounding thing is real. Mobley is using his intelligence and positioning well, and he’s good at high pointing rebounds.
All the better that he’s facing the Clippers tonight. L.A. has played at the fourth-fastest Pace, so that means more rebounding opportunities. The Clippers rank 29th in rebounds per game and have been out-rebounded by more than seven boards per game this season.
That could be a problem against a team starting three 7-footers. At the four, Mobley should be matched up with Nic Batum for a lot of his minutes, and Batum isn’t a great rebounder.
I’ve got to keep riding this Mobley over until the books adjust, especially since we are getting plus juice here. I’m not ready to commit to my guy as Rookie of the Year just yet, but he certainly has my attention and has been winning me some prop money. I’ll play to -120.