NBA Player Prop Bets, Picks: 3 For Thursday, Including Markieff Morris, Ivica Zubac & Mason Plumlee (April 8)
Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Ivica Zubac
It’s Big Man Night here at Action Network, with a reminder that not all prop plays need to be sexy. Winning money is sexy, even if it comes from role player giants grabbing rebounds or dropping a few assists.
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
Markieff Morris over 5.5 rebounds (+120)
|Lakers at Heat||+9|
|Time | TV||7:30 p.m. ET | TNT|
At some point, the Lakers will get LeBron James and Anthony Davis back on the court and go back to being the Los Angeles Lakers. That will happen, eventually.
In the meantime, the rest of the scalawags are left upping their production without the superstar Space Jam duo. And now Kyle Kuzma may be out tonight too. He’s listed as questionable and might need a night off.
Well, Markieff Morris is ready for it. Over the last 10 games, Kieff has played almost 27 minutes a game as a starter, and his production has climbed to 11.3 points and 6.8 rebounds a game. This is exactly what Morris is here for. Sure, he’ll occasionally knock down a few playoff jumpers and stretch the defense out, but mostly he’s here to soak up some regular season minutes and keep the superstars rested and ready for the games that matter most.
Morris has at least five rebounds in all of these 10 most recent games. That floor puts him one board away from an over, and he’s gone over 5.5 in six of the 10 games. That makes this line look a little silly, and I can only assume we’re getting this juice because of the pending return of rebounding monster Andre Drummond. But how much will Drummond even play? He went only 14 minutes in his debut and obviously isn’t healthy. Plus Kuzma has had big rebounding numbers lately and could be out too.
I’m not scared off by Drummond. There will be plenty of rebounding opportunities for Kieff. I’d play this over at any plus number and as low as -120.
Mason Plumlee over 2.5 assists (-115)
|Pistons at Kings||+7.5|
|Time||10 p.m. ET|
Mason Plumlee has always been a good passer, a clever one even. He made for a perfectly usable backup Nuggets center for that reason, because he could come in for a few minutes a half and do a very poor man’s impression of Nikola Jokic as a passer.
This season, Plumlee has stepped out of the shadows and into the starting lineup, and his numbers have come up in a bigger role. Plumlee has started every game in Detroit, and he’s averaging 10.3 points and a career-high 3.5 assists per game for the Pistons.
The passing hasn’t always been consistent. Plumlee was over 4.6 APG in both December and February but down to 2.6 per game in January. That was a period where Detroit unleashed Jerami Grant as its main playmaker and Plumlee didn’t get as much time on the ball. That phased out a bit more later in the season, and Grant is not playing tonight, so that leaves plenty of usage for everyone else on this depleted roster.
The passing these days is inconsistent. Over Plumlee’s last 16 games, he’s averaging 3.4 APG, but the problem is the variance. There are games in there with five, six, seven, and 10 assists, but he’s also gone under 2.5 dimes in seven of those 16. Still, that’s an over 56% of the time, and he’s over in 28 of 48 on the season, a 58% hit rate.
It’s not a slam dunk, but a matchup against the Kings will have plenty of scoring opportunities, and Grant’s absence tilts this one in our favor. We project Plumlee at 4.1 assists, and I’ll play the over to -135.
Ivica Zubac, over 8.5 rebounds + assists (-122)
|Suns at Clippers||-6|
|Time | TV||10 p.m. ET | TNT|
Ivica Zubac has been starting lately, and he continues to be overlooked as a very nice part of this Clippers team. Zubac is stout in the post and a very nice rebounder, and he should more than hold his own tonight against Deandre Ayton.
With Serge Ibaka out injured, the Clips will need plenty of Zubac. He’s been playing nearly 29 minutes a game as a starter these last 12 games, and he’s averaging nearly a double-double over that stretch at 10.6 points and 8.7 rebounds. The shots mostly all come at the rim, and the role is very clear. Be a traditional big man and take care of the paint on both ends.
In seven of these last 12 games, Zubac has nine or more rebounds. That hits this over on rebounding alone, even without the assists. But with the minutes up, Zubac has had at least one assist in 10 of the 12 games, and since the rebounds + assists line is only one tick higher at the same odds, we may as well add that in, in case he gets an extra dime or two and helps our cause.
Zubac is averaging 10.0 RA during this stretch, and he’s gone over this line in nine of 12 games, hitting the over 75% of the time. With Ibaka out, we’re projecting Zubac at 9.5 boards plus 1.5 assists. Take a look at the line you’ve got for just rebounds and compare it to the RA combo. We’re focusing on the rebounds here, but add in the assists if it looks advantageous.
I’ll play the over to -150.