NBA Player Prop Bets, Picks: Trust RJ Barrett & Bradley Beal (Tuesday, Jan. 26)
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: RJ Barrett #9 of the New York Knicks.
- With just three games to choose from on Tuesday night's NBA slate, there aren't a ton of player prop odds that jump out.
- Thanks to our Action Labs tool, Brandon Anderson is still finding an edge in two of tonight's games.
- See why he's buying RJ Barrett as a passer and fading Bradley Beal as a shooter tonight.
It’s a funky pandemic season, and some nights are going to be duds. Tonight looks like one of those nights, with only three games on the slate and a number of players missing up and down the rosters.
The Clippers and Hawks game in particular could be a weird one with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George out, so we’ll avoid that. Reminder: It’s okay to not go hard in the paint every single night if you only want to play a couple of these or sit this one out altogether.
It’s also a reminder to check the Action Labs Props tool again before tip. These lines are constantly moving, and as players are announced in or out, there may be value later that isn’t there in the morning.
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
Jerome Robinson, Under 12.5 Points (-106)
Remember the Washington Wizards?
They’re a real (mostly) professional basketball team, and they’re finally playing again. Well, at least some of them are. Six Wizards players still missed Washington’s first game back, stuck in health protocols, including basically their entire rotation of forwards. Deni Avdija, Rui Hachimura, Davis Bertans, Troy Brown, Moe Wagner, and Ish Smith are all unlikely to play tonight.
And that has thrust former lottery pick Jerome Robinson into a starting role. Robinson was always supposed to be a pure scorer, but has never found his game at this level. He’s far better suited for a bench scoring role than playing off ball next to Russell Westbrook and Bradley Beal.
Still Robinson played 35 minutes and hoisted 15 shots a couple nights ago under the increasingly well-known COVID corollary of “Hey, someone’s gotta shoot.”
Robinson had a solid game with 16 points, five rebounds, and four assists, but he did that during an absolutely miserable game from Westbrook, who was limited to a single-digit points, rebounds and assists in just 25 minutes.
Robinson has scored 13 or more points in just seven NBA games.
We’re projecting Robinson at 28.8 minutes and 9.0 points, ceding more of his minutes and shots to other Wizards. Maybe Isaac Bonga hits some shots. Maybe Garrison Mathews or Cassius Winston has a big game off the bench.
Maybe Beal goes full revenge mode on John Wall and takes every shot, or perhaps we get a surprise name or two cleared off the protocol list. Heck, maybe Robinson just can’t hit anything.
There are plenty of avenues to limit Robinson here. We only need one. I’ll play to -120.
Bradley Beal, Under 3.5 3-Pointers (-115)
This is purely a numbers play, and it’s going to be a sweat.
Bradley Beal has been a monster. He’s leading the league at 34.5 points per game and has scored at least 27 points in every game this season. His numbers are up across the boards, for the most part.
His average is four points higher than last season’s career-high mark, he’s getting to the line more often and making more of his free throws. Amazing what playing with a great passing point guard can do for you!
The one thing Beal is not doing at a career rate? Shooting 3-pointers.
Beal’s 3-point attempt rate is below 27%, a full 10% lower than his average over the past four seasons. He’s taking 6.7 3s per game right now, 1.7 fewer than a season ago, and averaging 2.5 makes a game. Of course that’s through just 11 games with the Wizards missing a for a long stretch, but it’s still a trend worth following.
Beal’s 3-point attempts are trending up, from 5.4 per game over his first seven to 9.0 over his last four. That’s not in our favor, and neither are his 4.0 threes per game during that recent stretch. But a simple fact remains: Beal made more than 3.5 threes only twice all season. And that’s what we’re playing here.
It’s not going to be fun, and we’ll have to hope Beal doesn’t get hot. But on a slim pickings night, this is worth a small dice roll in hopes that the recent upward trend is just noise and not a real trend. I’ll play to -125.
RJ Barrett, Over 2.5 Assists (+112)
I’ve never been a big R.J. Barrett fan.
Barrett was a stud at Duke, standing out on a team that included Zion Williamson and Cam Reddish. He was a monster in transition and often ran the offense, racking up points, rebounds, and assists. But I worried that Barrett wasn’t a particularly efficient scorer and that he might only be effective with a lot of the ball in his hands as a playmaker. Think DeMar DeRozan, for example.
The Knicks drafted Barrett No. 3 overall, and the results have been mixed. Barrett averaged 14.3 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 2.6 assists as a rookie but shot 40% from the field and played pretty terrible defense.
This season, Barrett’s counting numbers are up across the board to 17.4 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 3.4 assists as he steps into a bigger role. He’s still not hitting 3s or scoring efficiently — his true shooting percentage is below 50% — but the uptick in rebounding and assists make sense since that’s the best way to use Barrett’s athleticism and playmaking abilities.
Barrett isn’t exactly a triple-double threat yet. He has yet to record more than five assists in any game this season. But he’s had at least three dimes in 14 of the Knicks’ 18 games, and that’s an over for us here. That also includes eight of his past nine games, though he was under in a rough game his last time out. He also played under 23 minutes in that one, only his second time all season under 30, and he only went under by 0.5 assists, so that’s an outlier.
The Knicks don’t have a good point guard, and Julius Randle’s playmaking and assist numbers have dropped some as the season has progressed. Barrett is getting more of the ball, as he needs to, and I expect a bounce back game here.
We’re projecting Barrett at 3.3 dimes, and I’m a bit confused as to why we’re getting plus juice here, but it’s the only prop on the board I feel great about tonight. We’ll definitely hit the over at plus odds but will play to -115 if need be.