Saturday’s Best NBA Player Props: Bet on Big Night From James Harden?

Saturday’s Best NBA Player Props: Bet on Big Night From James Harden? article feature image

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13).

  • Sunday's three-game NBA slate features two player prop bets offering value
  • This piece will focus on Bucks SG Wesley Matthews and Rockets G James Harden

Betting on props can be one of the easiest ways to build your bankroll. Sportsbooks tend to offer lower limits and take less action on props than they do on games, so they don’t have as much incentive to post an accurate line.

That’s where our Player Prop tool comes in handy. We compare our industry-leading NBA projections to the props posted at a variety of sportsbooks to identify the best plays each day. Each bet is then graded on a scale from 1-10, with 10 being the best possible grade.

How about a little reminder on just how impressively these bets did last season? Props with a Bet Quality of 10 posted a win rate of 60.31%, and props with a Bet Quality of nine won at a 58.82% clip.

As is the case with most sports, betting on unders proved to be more profitable than betting on overs last season:

  • Unders with a Bet Quality of 10: 341-172 (66.47%)
  • Unders with a Bet Quality of 9: 457-273 (62.6%)
  • Unders with a Bet Quality of 8: 898-589 (60.39%)
  • Unders with a Bet Quality of 7: 1447-1086 (57.13%)
  • Unders with a Bet Quality of 6: 1992-1663 (54.95%)

Overall, if you just blind bet every under with a Bet Quality of eight or higher, you would’ve won at a 62.1% clip on more than 2,700 bets.

Tonight’s props come from two of the slate’s three games:

  • Charlotte Hornets at Milwaukee Bucks: 8 p.m. ET
  • Atlanta Hawks at Houston Rockets: 8 p.m. ET

Let’s dive in.

Bucks SG Wesley Matthews

THE PICK: Over 1.5 rebounds (-200)

This prop is juiced up pretty substantially, but it still stands out as one of the best values of the day. -200 odds has an implied probability of 66.7%, and Matthews has pulled down at least two rebounds in seven of his past 10 games. That’s obviously not a huge margin, but it still represents some value.

There are also reasons for optimism today with Matthews. The Bucks will be without a few members of their rotation, with Brook Lopez and Sterling Brown both getting the night off. Matthews could see a few additional minutes — we currently have him projected for 27.2 — and he’s pulled down at least two boards in eight of nine games when playing at least 27 minutes this season.

This bet stands out as a 10 in our Prop tool, but I wouldn’t play it at much higher than -200.

Rockets G James Harden

THE PICK: Over 38.5 points (-143)

Scoring more than 38.5 points would be a challenge for most players, but Harden is not most players. He’s currently averaging 37.7 points per game, which puts him on pace to lead the league in scoring for the third straight year. He’s already scored at least 39 points eight times through his first 18 games.

Harden is in an amazing spot today vs. the Hawks. For starters, the Hawks are an elite matchup. They rank eighth in pace and 24th in defensive efficiency, and the Rockets’ implied team total of 124.75 points represents a sizable increase when compared to their season average (118.2).

The Rockets will also be without a few key contributors. Clint Capela and Danuel House are both doubtful with illnesses, while Eric Gordon and Gerald Green remain out with injuries. Harden has carried an even larger workload with Capela, House, and Gordon off the court this season, posting a usage rate of 46.5%.

There are some blowout concerns in this game — the Rockets are currently favored by 14 points — but I love Harden’s scoring chances if the Hawks can keep this game competitive. I’d play the over up to -160.

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