It’s a fully juicy slate of NBA action tonight with everyone off for Thanksgiving, so that means an absolute smorgasbord of player props for our choosing.
Thanksgiving is also a good reminder on how to play props. Everyone talks about the turkey, but Thanksgiving has always been about the sides to me. The potatoes, the gravy, the stuffing … that’s where it’s at, and that’s how I play props too. I let everyone else play the centerpiece turkeys of the world, the stars with the flashy lines and totals, and focus on the sides instead — the role players, as it were.
Tonight, ahead of Thanksgiving, we’ll play three side courses. But they’ll be main dishes for us tonight if they hit and make us some holiday week 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.
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
Mo Bamba, Over 1.5 Blocks (-150)
|Hornets vs. Magic||Magic +7|
|Time | TV||7 p.m. ET | League Pass|
Looks like it will be a second straight season playing Magic props all year. We already hit Wendell Carter Jr. and Mo Bamba overs last week, and I’m back for another Bamba play. Last week, we played the points and rebounds on Orlando’s young big men, but this week we’re getting defensive.
Have you seen Mo Bamba? Everyone was freaking out about Gonzaga big man Chet Holmgren last night, but Bamba is even longer, with an absurd 7-foot-10 wingspan and a 9-foot-5 standing reach. He’s one of the longest players ever to play in the NBA, and now that he’s finding a way to limit fouls and find a role on offense, he’s staying on the court long enough to make the defensive impact he was always going to make at that size.
Bamba has blocked a shot every 11.8 minutes for his career, and now that he’s playing almost 30 minutes a game, his blocking numbers have predictably gone way up. He’s averaging 2.2 blocks per game, among the league leaders, and he’s had multiple assists in 12 of 18 games this season. That hits this over 67% of the time.
Even better, the blocks are trending up. Bamba has had at least one block in all but one game this season, and he’d recorded multiple blocks in five straight games to hit this over up until his last time out. Bamba’s opponent, the Hornets, also rate among the top five in most blocks allowed to opponents.
We’re back on the Magic train, and tonight we only need to to hit. With blocks, that can come in literally a one second span if you stuff a guy twice in a row, so we’re alive all game long no matter how things look. I’ll play the over to -175.
Darius Bazley, Over 5.5 Rebounds (-145)
|Jazz vs. Thunder||Thunder +13.5|
|Time | TV||8 p.m. ET | League Pass|
It’s been a bit of a reality check lately at the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Thunder had won four games in a row before losing five of their last six, now that opponents have actually taken note of them.
Still, 21-year-old Darius Bazley is settling nicely into a role on this team. He’s one of four Thunder players consistently getting minutes, usually around 30 to 32 a night for him. And though Bazley has gone ice cold from the field during this tough Thunder stretch, his size and athleticism have helped his rebounding numbers stay strong all season.
Last season, Bazley averaged 7.2 rebounds per game. This year he’s at 6.9 RPG, but his rebounding rate has actually ticked up a bit — he’s just had a few randomly low minute games.
Bazley only had four rebounds last game, his lowest total of the season. But he’s had at least five boards in every other game, which means his typical floor puts us within one of an over. Bazley has gone over 5.5 rebounds in 13 of 17 games, hitting our over 76% of the time. He went over 5.5 boards in 67% of his appearances last year too.
This line feels a rebound too low, and that’s why the juice is a bit high, but -145 implies only a 59% chance of hitting and it’s clear we have better odds than that. His true production should make a line like this somewhere between -200 and -300.
We won’t play that high but also shouldn’t need to — but it’s a good reminder that sometimes the juice is worth drinking. I’ll take the over to -175.
Jarred Vanderbilt, Over 7.5 Rebounds (+100)
|Heat vs. Timberwolves||Timberwolves +1|
|Time | TV||8 p.m. ET | League Pass|
Here comes Jarred Vanderbilt.
The Timberwolves continue to search for answers at forward. Karl-Anthony Towns is the man in the middle, and Anthony Edwards and D’Angelo Russell have two other starting spots locked up.
But Minnesota cannot find the right two players to round out its lineup. Patrick Beverley’s impact ebbs and flows. Jaden McDaniels runs hot and cold in his youth. Josh Okogie is a stout defender but clogs up the offense.
Right now, it looks like it’s Jarred Vanderbilt’s turn.
If there’s one thing we know about Vanderbilt, it’s that he is an incredible rebounder. He’s been an elite rebounder at every level. Vando is snagging one rebound every 3.1 minutes for his career — I promise, that’s really good — and he was an absolute beast in college with a rebound every 2.2 minutes. If he’s getting minutes, he’s definitely going to get rebounds.
Vanderbilt is especially dangerous on the offensive glass. He is averaging 3.4 offensive rebounds per start this year, and that’s a sneaky smart way for Minnesota to keep him out there even though he doesn’t contribute directly to the offense. If you’re not going to make the offense better, how about giving them extra chances instead?
And it’s working. Minnesota is starting Vanderbilt now, and his rebounding numbers have gone way up. He’s had double-digit rebounds in three straight games with at least four offensive rebounds in each one, and he’s played at least 25 minutes in four straight for the first time as a pro.
For his career, Vanderbilt is averaging 8.4 RPG when he plays at least 20 minutes. He’s exactly at 8.4 RPG per start this year too, and if the minutes stay this high, he should threaten double digits again.
Vanderbilt has at least seven rebounds in nine straight games, so that gives us a trustworthy floor too. I love that we’re getting this at even odds. I might even look to play an alt over in addition to this one, like 10+ rebounds at +240 at FanDuel.
We project Vanderbilt at 9.4 boards, so I’ll take the over-7.5 to -135.