It’s a light slate tonight with only two games, so we’re only playing two props. But the good news is that we get to focus on two of the NBA’s finest and most unique artists doing their best work and painting yet another nightly masterpiece. It’s time to appreciate Stephen Curry and Matisse Thybulle.
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 the two 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
Matisse Thybulle, Over 2.5 STL + BLK (+100)
|Lakers vs. 76ers||76ers -2.5|
|Time | TV||7:30 p.m. ET | TNT|
If you ever have a few hours to change your life, might I recommend spending them just watching an entire game of Matisse Thybulle on defense?
I know, I know, we’re accustomed to ball watching. Tonight’s game is loaded with stars. You want to know how healthy Anthony Davis is. You want to see what Russell Westbrook is up to. You want to watch LeBron James. I get it. We focus on the guys with the ball and pay attention to the stars.
But watch Matisse Thybulle defend and an entire new and magical world opens itself up.
Thybulle is unlike any defender I’ve ever seen. He has an innate knack for jumping passing lanes, poking the ball out, blocking opponents from behind, and generally making life absolutely miserable for the other team.
When you play a team with Matisse, it’s like you’re playing 5-on-6, because it feels like there is a clone of Thybulle out there. The man is in multiple places at once, constantly getting his hands on the ball and making plays. He’s a defensive savant.
Tonight, we get to watch Matisse paint another masterpiece.
The Lakers are not exactly great at taking care of the ball. They rank 23rd in turnover rate and turn it over more than once every eight possessions, and they allow the fourth most steals in the league at 8.3 per game. I won’t tell you exactly why the Lakers turn it over so often, but I can tell you a big part of the reason rhymes with Fussell Festbrook.
The Sixers are missing Seth Curry tonight and maybe Danny Green (not to mention that other guy still), and that should leave big minutes for Thybulle. And that means we’re in business.
Thybulle played 33 minutes last game, and if we get anything close to that, we’re golden. The numbers bear it out: In 17 games with at least 25 minutes played, Thybulle is averaging 2.4 steals and 1.4 blocks per game. That’s over 50% above this line, and sure enough, he’s gone over 2.5 steals + blocks in 14 of those games, hitting this over 82% of the time.
Let’s watch this modern defensive artist do work. I’ll play to -140.
Steph Curry, Over 3.5 3-Pointers (-145)
|Timberwolves vs. Warriors||Warriors -6|
|Time | TV||10 p.m. ET | TNT|
Maybe you’ve heard of Curry? He’s made more 3s than any human in NBA history. Happy to fill you in on what you’ve missed over the past decade.
For much of the season, Curry’s 3-point over/under has sat around 4.5 makes, and there have been nights there we had to drink the juice just to go over 5.5 or even 6.5 makes as Curry chased the all-time record.
But Curry has gone ice cold over the last couple months, and it’s well-documented at this point just how cold his shooting has gone. Since November 30, he’s averaging only 23.6 points per game and making just 37.8% of his shots from the field, including only 33% of his 3s. That would still be a solid season for some players, but for a guy who shoots 44% lifetime, that’s a huge outlier downswing.
That cold stretch has swung this line down and made it playable in our favor again. From January 3 through 13, Curry only topped two 3s in one of his five games. This line dropped then and we hit it a few games in a row as Steph bounced back to put up four, four, six, and four 3s. The books wised up and pushed the line back to 4.5 after that stretch. Now he’s gone 1-for-13 and 2-for-10 the last two games and the number dropped back down.
And that’s why we’re playing again — because just about anytime you let me bet on a healthy Steph Curry to make at least four 3s, I’ll take that bet. Since his first MVP season in 2014-15, he’s made at least four 3s in 292 of his 470 games, hitting this over 62% of the time. That’s an absurd number, but it’s just what he does.
What’s even sillier is that he’s been hitting this prop even during this cold stretch. Remember the ice cold shooting since November 30? Curry has still gone over 3.5 made 3s in 17 of those 25 games, hitting this over 68% of the time. He’s still averaging 4.2 makes on 12.5 attempts over that stretch. The volume is so high that he’s hitting this prop even while shooting like Russell Westbrook on a hot streak.
Look, this is part math and volume, part legend. I’ll play Steph to make four 3s every time. All the better against Minnesota, a team that passed on drafting him and one he’s burned early and often throughout his career.
I’ll play the GSOAT to -165. We project him at 5.8 makes tonight, so you might want to think about sprinkling an alternate over too.