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Friday NBA Player Prop Bets & Picks: Expect Dominance on the Glass from Deandre Ayton (Feb. 5)

Friday NBA Player Prop Bets & Picks: Expect Dominance on the Glass from Deandre Ayton (Feb. 5) article feature image

Chris Schwegler/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Deandre Ayton #22 of the Phoenix Suns.

  • Looking to get down on some Friday night NBA player props? You've come to the right place.
  • While he value on tonight's slate doen't include some of the stars who are in action, there's still value in backing strong games from two big men.
  • Brandon Anderson previews the top plays using our Action Labs prop tool.

You can’t do much about bad luck sometimes. That’s how I’m feeling this week with our NBA props. Yesterday I missed three prop hits, all of them by 0.5 points. That stings, and unfortunately, it’s not a new feeling.

Looking back at the 31 props I’ve played over the past week, 11 of them have come down to a 0.5 margin on either side, losing seven of them.

This stuff is hard, and we’re bound to get unlucky sometimes, just like we’ll get lucky other times. This is a marathon, not a sprint, and we’re still a very healthy 102-61-4 on the season.

Let’s hope the luck bounces back in our favor this weekend and see if we can get back on track tonight with two big men and a little-known role player.

For those who are new to this article, 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

Gary Clark Under 7.5 points (-110, DraftKings)

Chicago Bulls vs. Orlando Magic Chicago Bulls -2
Time | TV 7 p.m. ET | NBA League Pass

The Orlando Magic are shorthanded with Jonathan Isaac and Markelle Fultz out for the season, Evan Fournier missing for a big chunk of January, and Aaron Gordon out for the next month with an injury of his own. They badly need creation and scoring, but right now, as much as anything else, they just need NBA bodies.

That’s where Gary Clark comes in. Clark carved out a small NBA role, first with the Rockets and now with the Magic, in his three years in the league. Undrafted out of Cincinnati, I always thought Clark would have an NBA role.

He was the AAC Player of the Year as a senior and filled up the box score as the ultimate glue guy do-everything defender, but he’s never been a scorer. His ability to defend and play high IQ basketball has carved out an NBA niche, and now he’s starting in place of Gordon for the Magic.

The Magic badly need scoring, but it’s hard to see it coming from Clark. He’s only scored more than six points three times all season. Clark has made six free throws all season, and he’s never made more than one 2-pointer in a game for the Magic. He’s out there to be a fifth man, play tough defense, rebound, and shoot an occasional 3-pointer if he’s wide open.

With Clark’s minutes up, we’re probably getting four of five 3-point attempts and asking him to just not hit three of them, or two plus a rare 2-pointer or pair of free throws. We’ll leave the scoring load to guys like Nik Vucevic and Evan Fournier.

Fournier has been a favorite in this space, and I’ll be playing his over 17.5 points again at -110 on DraftKings. He has gone over that in six of the past eight, and he’s the guy taking the shots on this team, not Clark.

You never know when someone will randomly hit a few threes unexpectedly, but Clark is under this line in 16-of-19 games this season. Cross your fingers for a 17th and play to -125.

Cody Zeller Over 8.5 rebounds (-120, FanDuel)

Utah Jazz vs. Charlotte Hornets Utah Jazz -8
Time | TV  8 p.m. ET | NBA League Pass

It took Cody Zeller quite awhile to get going this season. He played 19 minutes in the opener and was injured for the next 13 games, which unfortunately is somewhat the norm for him.

The Hornets were cautious in Zeller’s return, ramping him up slowly with 11 minutes, then 15, then 18. At that point, Zeller was averaging a forgettable 6.5 points and 5.3 rebounds per game, but he was also playing fewer than 16 minutes per game.

Zeller finally got the start again on Jan. 27 against the Pacers and responded with 10 points, 14 rebounds, and four assists. He has started every game since and seen his numbers blossom to 11.4 points, 11.0 rebounds, and 3.6 assists in 32 minutes a game.

As it turns out, Zeller’s production hasn’t become more efficient — his playing time has just increased. He was producing at this same rate in half the minutes before too. Give the man 30 minutes, and he has a good shot at a double-double.

The Jazz are an outstanding rebounding team, and Rudy Gobert is always a difficult matchup for any opposing center. Zeller has a tendency to get into foul trouble at times, but with P.J. Washington sidelined, the Hornets have to lean on Zeller with Bismack Biyombo as the only other reasonable big man option.

And while Gobert is a tough matchup, his presence also pushes the Hornets to keep a center like Zeller out there, so it should give him more opportunity.

We’re projecting Zeller at 10.1 rebounds in 30.6 minutes, putting him comfortably over here. I’ll play up to -140. I’ll probably also play Zeller over 1.5 assists with the way his passing numbers are up, but that one’s only available at FanDuel.

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Deandre Ayton Over 12.5 rebounds (-120, FanDuel)

Detroit Pistons at Phoenix Suns Phoenix Suns -7.5
Time | TV 9 p.m. ET | NBA League Pass

Deandre Ayton has had an up and down season, and the jury is still out on the former No. 1 overall pick.

Ayton is not touching the ball as much with Chris Paul on this new version of the Suns, and his scoring has been unreliable because of it. Ayton has scored 20 points just four times all season, and has been held to single digits five times.

But while Ayton’s scoring hasn’t been reliable, his overall game continues to improve. Ayton has made huge strides defensively since his college days and is now at the center of one of the league’s better defenses, and his rebounding has taken another step forward this season.

Ayton has the body of an Adonis and was always set up to be a rebounding monster, and the numbers reflect it this year. Ayton’s defensive rebounding numbers are way up, and he’s averaging almost 20 rebounds per 100 possessions.

He’s averaging 12.8 rebounds per game on the season, a career high mark that is on its way up. Ayton was averaging 10.7 rebounds through seven games before a monster 16-board outing. He has been pulling down 13.8 rebounds since, with at least 13 rebounds in all but two of those 13 games. And those games were both 20-point losses that limited his playing time in a blowout.

In fact, Ayton has at least 11 rebounds every game this season in which he’s played at least 30 minutes, averaging 14.4 rebounds in those games. With the Suns grinding a bit lately and the Pistons’ knack for hanging around games until late, this should be a full effort from Ayton and Phoenix.

We’re projecting Ayton at 14.6 rebounds, and that’s right in line with his huge rebounding efforts of late. I’ll play Ayton’s boards up to -145.

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