NBA Player Prop Bets, Picks: Fade the Bulls’ Garrett Temple in Bench Role (Monday, Feb. 1)
Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Garrett Temple #17 of the Chicago Bulls.
February means a fresh start to a new NBA month, and hopefully this month will be a bit less wonky than the last one, with far fewer postponements and health protocols.
But hopefully it will be just as profitable in the props world. Even with a slight weekend swoon, we finished January at 76-42-2 for the month, a 64.4% hit rate and a 27.3% return on investment. And, believe it or not, that actually lowered our season-long hit rate and ROI ever so slightly.
It’s been a nice year, so let’s start February out well by playing three role players today with middling lines.
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
P.J. Washington over 5.5 rebounds (-143)
|Hornets at Heat||Heat -6.5 (DraftKings)|
|Time | TV||7:30 p.m. ET | NBA League Pass|
P.J. Washington has quietly become a very solid contributor for the Charlotte Hornets. The sophomore big man has wrested control of the starting power forward spot and looks like he may not give up that role up any time soon.
Washington is averaging 12.6 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 3.0 assists. Nothing pops about that line, but it shows that Washington has become a solid all around contributor for the Hornets. He’s a nice passer for a big man, finishes well, and plays really nice defense with better than one steal and one block per game. Washington is looking exactly as advertised coming out of Kentucky. He’s not going to take over a game with any one skill, but he does a bit of everything.
Rebounding is Washington’s most consistent trait, and he’s gotten stronger and better on the boards this season. Washington is over 5.5 boards in 12 of 20 games (60%), but that undersells his rebounding strength. He also has at least eight rebounds in 45% of his games.
Even though Washington has started every game, his minutes have bounced around a bit, including a three-game stretch around the start of 2021 when he averaged under 21 minutes and 3.7 boards a game. Without that stretch, he’s at 7.4 RPG for the rest of the season, and that better represents a typical Washington game.
It’s also about where we project Washington tonight. He’s gone over 5.5 boards in four straight and seven of his last nine. I’ll play to -160.
Theo Maledon, Over 3.5 assists (+136)
|Rockets at Thunder||Rockets -5 (FanDuel)|
|Time | TV||8 p.m. ET | NBA League Pass|
Theo Maledon already looks like a steal for the Oklahoma City Thunder. The rookie combo guard out of France has been playing professional ball for years.
He’s a well-rounded player who can create good looks both for himself and for his teammates, and he’s coming off his best game in the NBA. Maledon scored 24 points against the Nets on Friday, shooting a perfect 6-for-6 behind the arc.
Maledon is a crafty handler, has good vision in the pick-and-roll, and his assists that have caught our attention here. Maledon has multiple assists in all but two games as an NBA pro, and that’s in just 21 minutes a game, usually off the bench. His minutes have gone up over the past week with three starts while George Hill is out, and he’s had nine dimes in those starts.
Maledon is averaging one assist every 7.8 minutes on the court, so he’s already in range of the over 3.5 dimes even from his bench role. With Hill expected to be out again (right thumb sprain), Maledon could see 30 or more minutes like the past two games.
This line was listed at 2.5 at FanDuel, which would have given us more wiggle room, but has since moved to 3.5. Still, our tool is projecting Maledon at 3.8 assists Monday and as long as Hill is out, I think he can hit the over.
There’s a couple Rockets props that have caught my eye too. Be sure to follow me in the app to grab those as well.
Garrett Temple, Under 9.5 points (-110)
|Knicks at Bulls||Bulls -4.5 (DraftKings)|
|Time | TV||8 p.m. ET | NBA League Pass|
Garrett Temple is the very definition of career role player. Temple has played for 10 teams over the past decade, literally one third of the league. He is a staple of Charles Barkley’s Who He Play For game on TNT most seasons.
This season, Temple is playing for the Chicago Bulls. His scoring is up a bit, at 9.6 points per game, second-highest mark in his career, but a closer look reveals that that’s probably just outlier hot shooting right now.
It’s also a function of Temple’s minutes. So far this season, Temple’s minutes-to-points ratio has been practically linear. He’s played at least 28 minutes and 25 seconds in seven games and has scored double digits in every single one of those games. He played less than that in 10 other games and never cracked double digit points once. Temple’s shots and points go up almost perfectly in line with his minutes.
That makes sense to an extent, but not all players are that way. Temple is a plug and play professional. He doesn’t excel enough at one skill to make an NBA home for long, but he’s got a high floor and just fits into a system and does a job.
That means we’re betting on minutes here as much as anything, and that’s the play. Remember, the Bulls have been missing bodies for a good chunk of the season, as they dealt with health protocols and an assortment of injuries. The team is pretty healthy now other than Wendell Carter Jr., so we’re projecting Temple at 22.2 minutes.
The numbers this season tell us that should keep Temple in the single digits, so that’s the play here. Our Props tool gives us nearly a 17% edge, so we’ll play Temple here to -135 if needed.