In this props column, we respect players who go hard.
Especially in late March when the NBA season is winding down and many players have already folded up to get healthy for the playoffs or started making 1-2-3 Cancun plans, we appreciate the guys out there making an effort. Sometimes, effort alone can be a good angle this time of year, and that’s the case with two guys we’re playing tonight, Kevon Looney and Patrick Beverley.
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
Kevon Looney, over 6.5 rebounds (+110)
|Warriors vs. Hawks||Hawks -2.5|
|Time | TV||7:30 p.m. ET | NBA TV|
Kevon Looney’s minutes have been all over the place lately, and so has his production. It’s pretty clear at this point that Looney is a key piece of the Warriors rotation, but with Steph Curry sidelined and the team resting guys and trying to get into a rhythm with its youngsters, Looney’s minutes are bouncing around.
Last time out, Looney played 29 minutes and racked up 16 rebounds, his highest total in over two months. But the night before, he played under 12 minutes, and he played only 17 minutes the game before that, compiling just seven boards in the two games combined.
When Looney is out there, he rebounds. That much is obvious. He averages 12.6 rebounds per 36 minutes on the season, and he knows his role. When Looney gets called on, he knows he’s out there to defend and to hit the glass, and hard. Looney should be called upon for a good number of minutes tonight against Clint Capela and Okyeka Okongwu with the Atlanta Hawks pressuring the rim and the glass.
Over the last 36 games, Looney is averaging 8.9 rebounds per game. He’s gone over this line in 26 of those games, hitting this over 72% of the time. When the minutes are there, this is a piece of cake for Looney. He’s such a good rebounder that even with fewer minutes, this is still in play.
If you think Looney will play a lot, you can try an alternate over if you like. He’s had eight-plus rebounds in half of his last 36 games, and he’s had double digit rebounds in 13 of them (36%). But he’s only hit double digits in four of the last 21 games, and the beauty of the lower line is that he can hit that by going way over or by playing fewer minutes but rebounding hard and hitting it anyway.
We project Looney at 8.4 rebounds tonight and rate this our top prop on the entire slate. I’ll play at any plus number or down to -115.
Patrick Beverley, over 1.5 steals + blocks (-120)
|Mavericks vs. Timberwolves||Timberwolves -3.5|
|Time | TV||8 p.m. ET | NBA League Pass|
When Kevon Looney is on the court, he rebounds. And when Patrick Beverley is on the court, he defends.
That’s why they call him Mr. 94 Feet, after all. Pat Bev is an absolute pest. He’s that guy that picks you up inbounding the ball on the other end at the YMCA. And that’s not really an exaggeration either. Beverley has had to work so hard for so long at every level just to get to this role in the NBA that he probably played more than a few games at the Y along the way too.
Beverley is that guy you love on your team but absolutely despise on the opponent’s. And that makes you a Timberwolves fan tonight, because we are playing Beverley’s defense tonight.
The Wolves are undeniably better with Beverley on the court. Minnesota has a +4.7 Net Rating per 100 possessions with Beverley on the court, and it’s no coincidence that the Wolves are headed to the postseason for only the second time since Kevin Garnett left this year now that Beverley joined the team and invigorated the roster with his leadership and defense.
There are no stats for leadership, but we can profit off of defense. Beverley averages 1.1 steals and 0.9 blocks per game. That’s 2.0 “stocks” per game, and Mr. 94 Feet has at least one stock in all but six games this season. That puts him within one effort play of hitting this over almost every game — and you know we’re getting effort from Pat Beverley.
Dallas allows the fewest blocks and third fewest steals in the league, but the ‘Mavs also play super slow and Minnesota is one of the fastest teams so that should even out the possessions. This is also a key battle as the Wolves push for the six-seed, so Beverley should play a few extra minutes. And besides, he just had two steals and a block against Dallas earlier this week.
Beverley has gone over 1.5 steals + blocks in 31 of 52 games, hitting this over 60% of the time. We project him at 2.4 stocks tonight, and I’ll play the over to -140.
Tyrese Maxey, over 22.5 points + rebounds + assists (-115)
|76ers vs. Clippers||76ers -5.5|
|Time | TV||10:30 p.m. ET | NBA TV|
We’re still getting a handle on what Tyrese Maxey will look like in this new, revamped 76ers team now built around James Harden and Joel Embiid.
For the first four games after the All-Star break, Maxey looked like an absolute star with Harden out there. He averaged 26.8 PPG and made 3.5 treys per game at an absurd 70% from beyond the arc. Then, the dip came. Over the next four games after that, Maxey dropped all the way down to just 12.0 PPG and made under 32% of his 3s.
So which Maxey is it? The superstar version or the one that looked more like Tobias Harris on a quiet night?
It looks like the answer is somewhere in between, but still pretty good.
Looking at all 14 games since the break, Maxey’s numbers speak for themselves. He’s at 19.6 points, 2.9 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game. The scoring has returned in a big way after that brief dip, and so has the overall production. Maxey’s rebounding and assists are up since that dip too, as he learns to fill out the rest of his game in a complementary role around Philly’s two stars.
That’s why we’re playing Maxey’s combo prop line, looking for points + rebounds + assists. He’s averaging 25.9 PRA over these last 14 games, well above this line. And while he went under that PRA line in all four games during that dip, he’s over it in nine of the other 10 games. That’s a 90% hit rate, and it’s a 64% hit rate even including the off week.
We project Maxey at 27.0 PRA, right around his recent average. The Props Tool also likes his assists over at +125 as an even stronger recommendation, but I’ll fall back on PRA since it gives us more paths to an over and lets us take advantage of Maxey’s scoring and all-around play. I’ll play the PRA over to -140.
Bonus NBA Prop Bets
- Drew Eubanks, under 0.5 threes (-275 DraftKings): Can I interest you in a trio of unders from a tanking Blazers team against an even tankier Rockets? Eubanks made a pair of 3s last game against the Spurs but hadn’t made one since December 9 before that. That was his only other make this season, and he’d only even attempted seven 3s since his last make. Even for an unpredictable tanking team, we should bet against any 3-point volume.
- Brandon Williams, under 26.5 PRA (-115 DraftKings): Williams has been running point for Portland but came off the bench last game. He’s averaging 16.5 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 2.9 assists over his last 10, going under this line six times (60%) with two overs coming only because he made 11 free throws. His minutes and production just aren’t stable enough for a line this high, and there are so many obvious under outs for a guy shooting 38% from the field with no guarantee of playing time.
- CJ Elleby, under 9.5 points (-105 DraftKings): Unlike his cohorts, Elleby has seemingly earned consistent playing time lately, but it’s not exactly translating into points. He’s playing more than 28 minutes a game over his last 20 outings but scoring just 7.3 PPG. Someone’s gotta get shots up for these Blazers, but someone ain’t named CJ anymore. Elleby is under this points line in 13 of his last 20 (65%). His fair line should probably be around eight points, and that’s right about where we project him tonight.