NBA Player Prop Bets, Picks: 9 Props for Monday’s All-Day Slate (Jan. 18)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images.
We’re up to 50-30-2 on props in this space on the season, a sparkling 62.5% hit rate and +18.7 units on the year, and today we’re offering one prop from every single MLK Day game.
It’s a fun slate ahead with nine games spaced throughout the day, so let’s get our picks in early and enjoy some afternoon basketball while we make some cool cash and keep the good times rolling.
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 one prop bet that I’m playing from eight games today, the case for each bet and the best price to find those props.
NBA Player Props & Picks
Nikola Vucevic over 3.5 assists (+104)
|Magic at Knicks||-1|
|Time||12 p.m. ET|
If you’ve been reading our props columns this season, you know we’ve been playing Nikola Vucevic often. Vooch has been an absolute monster for the Magic. He’s averaging 22.8 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 3.8 assists a game and is carrying a beat-up roster that’s somehow leading the division despite missing three starters.
Markelle Fultz and Jonathan Isaac are out for the season, and Evan Fournier hasn’t played in two weeks. That’s thrust rookie PG Cole Anthony into the starting lineup and robbed this team of a lot of its shot creation. Without Fultz, Vucevic is the next best assist man on this team, and he’s responding by taking on even more of the load.
In his last six games without Fultz (including one in which Markelle played 11 minutes), Vucevic is averaging 4.5 assists per game. He’s had at least three in all but one of those games and has gone over 3.5 in four of the six.
We’ll never complain about early weekday basketball, but this Magic and Knicks game could be pretty ugly, featuring a whole lot of defense and not much offense. Orlando will continue to force things through Vucevic, so we may as well profit. I like this at plus odds but will play to -115.
Malik Beasley over 5.5 rebounds (+112)
|T’Wolves at Hawks||+7.5|
|Time||2:30 p.m. ET|
The Wolves and Hawks should play one of the day’s more entertaining basketball games, and you can definitely expect plenty of scoring in this one. Atlanta had some decent defensive numbers early but has faded quickly, and Minnesota hasn’t played much defense since the Kevin Garnett era.
Expect a ton of shots and points at a fast pace. That means lots of rebounds to go around, with plenty of long rebounds for two teams that love to shoot threes.
Beasley is certainly known for his streaky shooting and scoring, and he continues to average better than 20 PPG for his Minnesota career, now 25 games in. Beasley’s rebounding has also ticked up in Minnesota for a team that plays small and fast. His 7.7% rebounding rate this year is far ahead of his 6.0% rate pre-Wolves.
Beasley is also playing a ton of minutes right now. He’s averaging nearly 36 minutes a game over his last six, and that’s about where we expect him this afternoon.
Rebounding is often a volume game as much as anything else, and if Beasley plays that many minutes in a fast game with a ton of shots, he has big rebounding upside. We project him at 7.2 rebounds, giving this prop a 25.4% edge in our favor, second highest on the entire slate today.
Anytime you can project well over the line and get one at plus odds, it’s worth a solid look. I’ll play this one to -110.
Derrick Rose over 2.5 rebounds (+140)
|Pistons at Heat||+6.5|
|Time||3 p.m. ET|
Rose has had an inconsistent start to the season, and his numbers are all quite depressed because of it. His 14.9 PPG right now is a career-low other than an injury-shortened 2018 season, even with all his ups and downs, and so are his measly 1.9 rebounds per game. Not coincidentally, Rose’s minutes are also a career low right now at 23.3 per game.
Rose hasn’t been fully healthy — stop me if you’ve heard that before — and has missed a few games and played limited time in others. He labored through a pair of games the first week of January in which he barely hit 30 minutes combined in the two games, recording just 14 points and one rebound between them. He clearly needed some time off and got a week to watch from the sidelines, then returned Saturday with an extra spring in his step and had his best game of the season, with 22 points, 4 steals, and 4 assists in a win.
Detroit needs all the help it can get at guard, especially with Killian Hayes out indefinitely. Before those two off games, Rose was averaging 26.4 minutes, 16.2 points, and 2.5 rebounds a game. That’s closer to what I expect here, with Rose returning to more regular usage and minutes. This is a second straight game against the Heat, so it’s a great spot for Rose to play well again.
We’re projecting Rose at 3.6 rebounds, giving this nearly a 24% edge in our favor. I’m a bit skeptical since Rose has only gone over 2.5 boards twice all season, but we’re getting a ton of juice here and I’m trusting the projections and Props tool. I’ll play to +120.
Carmelo Anthony over 1.5 assists (+164)
|Spurs at Blazers||+1.5|
|Time||3 p.m. ET|
Unfortunately, it looks like C.J. McCollum will miss some time after spraining his foot over the weekend. McCollum was off to a sparkling start and playing at an All-Star level with 26.7 points and 5.0 assists a game along with career best shooting numbers. The Blazers also got more bad news when Jusuf Nurkic was sidelined again for a couple months with a wrist injury.
The Blazers retooled their roster over the summer and added Robert Covington and Derrick Jones Jr. to their rotation at forward, looking to balance the team by adding defense-first wings. That’s helped some, but those two don’t offer much offensively.
The Blazers tend to have offense- or defense-only guys, and right now, they’re missing two of their best offensive guys in McCollum and Nurkic. That also moves another offensive player in Enes Kanter into the starting lineup, and it leaves Melo in an outsize role as The Guy off the bench.
You know Melo will relish a chance to take on a bigger spotlight for awhile, and we don’t have to worry about shooting numbers or efficiency with props. I expect plenty of Melo shots, but he should also have the ball a lot more and be asked to create a lot, both for himself and others.
Passing has never exactly been Melo’s forte, but we only need two dimes here and Anthony has at least one assist in five straight games. Melo’s minutes ticked up to 29 on Saturday with the Blazers shorthanded, and we’re projecting him around there again. And remember, we only need two.
This is also a good reminder to shop around and find the best lines, and nothing helps with that like our Props Beta tool. BetMGM has Melo over 1.5 assists at -125 as of writing, while we’re getting +164 at FanDuel.
Our tool thinks the BetMGM line is about right, but the +164 gives us an 18.7% edge. I’ll play — at FanDuel — down to +140 and expect a throwback Melo game.
Jae Crowder under 10.5 points (-110)
|Suns at Grizzlies||-5|
|Time||5 p.m. ET|
The Suns are finally back after a week away and should have a pretty full go, other than Dario Saric missing. Phoenix had a clunker last Monday against the Wizards, but the Suns have been a well-oiled machine otherwise and one of the best teams in the NBA.
Crowder has slotted in nicely as a functioning part of that greasy machine. He’s doing what he does, playing switchy defense on the wing and mostly staying out of the way on offense, shooting open threes when they’re available.
Crowder is averaging 9.9 PPG with the Suns but scores in bunches. He’s had games of 16, 17, 21, and 21 points, and it’s not hard to see where those bursts come from: Crowder basically only shoots threes and he’s a streaky shooter. Those four games are Crowder’s only four over 10.5 points in 11 games, and they’re also his only four games with more than two made 3-pointers. He made seven threes combined in the other seven games and went under 10.5 every time, averaging under 5 PPG in them.
Crowder has only made more than one 2-pointer twice all season and hasn’t shot a single free throw in over half his games. He’s just shooting threes, which means we just need him to hit two or fewer like usual. Even if he makes a third, we may have a shot here, since Crowder literally averages one 2-point bucket per game.
If we go down here, we’ll go down hard. This prop probably won’t be close. We’ll either coast with half the margin to spare or go down early with a big streaky Crowder game. So far this season, there have been many more duds than studs from Jae. I’ll play here to -135.
Brook Lopez over 0.5 assists (-143)
|Bucks at Nets||-2|
|Time||7:30 p.m. ET|
Here we are in the game of the day with three former MVPs in Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kevin Durant, and James Harden, along with Khris Middleton, Jrue Holiday, and maybe even Kyrie Irving… and we’re playing Brook Lopez?
Look, you can grab the sexy pick if you like, but I’d rather just make some cash. And Lopez’s assist over continues to offer highly favorable odds. This is the top prop on our entire board on Monday, offering a rarely-seen 38.1% edge in our favor.
Lopez failed to record an assist his first five games of the season, just a statistical anomaly really, but the books have failed to adjust after BroLo scared them away. He’s had at least one dime in six of eight games since and is averaging 1.5 APG over that stretch.
The Nets may be a fun opponent, but they just traded away their only good center in Jarrett Allen, and DeAndre Jordan is way too slow at this stage of his career to get out to the perimeter and defend Lopez from bombing threes. I expect open threes sometimes and open lanes other times when Jordan or another defender does get out.
We’re projecting Lopez at 3.5 assists, incredibly seven times this posted number. And we only need one. I’ve been playing this prop for two weeks now and profiting. This game has a 237.5 total, highest of the day. We only need Lopez to assist on two of those points. Go get ’em, big guy.
Luka Doncic under 30.5 points (-110)
|Mavs at Raptors||+3.5|
|Time||7:30 p.m. ET|
It’s never fun, or particularly comfortable, fading a superstar. Luka Doncic has been absolutely on fire.
He had a monster game Sunday against the Bulls, piling up 36 points, 16 rebounds, and 15 assists for his third triple-double of the season, and it’s starting to feel like that MVP campaign might be back on after all.
Dallas is quite shorthanded with a handful of key rotation players sidelined for health protocols, and Doncic is picking up the slack.
Still, 30.5 points is a steep ask, even for Luka. Doncic has gone over that number in only five of his 11 games so far this season, and he needed five threes in two of them and double-digit free throws in two others. He also won’t be facing the Bulls on Monday night.
The Raptors offer a much steeper challenge defensively, and Doncic won’t get many easy looks. He’s also playing the second night of a back-to-back, which could eat into his minutes a bit, especially if this game isn’t close late.
We’re projecting Doncic at 27.7 points, closer to his season average. It probably won’t be comfortable, but as long as Luka doesn’t get hot behind the arc or line up for an endless array of freebies, I like our chances. I’ll play to -125.
Victor Oladipo under 21.5 points (-118)
|Rockets at Bulls||+1.5|
|Time||8 p.m. ET|
I love to bet unders on a new player making his debut on a new team, if only because it’s so tempting to get super excited about a new guy and bet the over.
That worked just fine for James Harden bettors on Saturday when he debuted in Brooklyn with a huge triple-double. Victor Oladipo was in that trade as well, and this is his Houston debut.
But Oladipo is not Harden, and I’m not sure I see a huge game out of the gates for Oladipo. This is a player who has bounced around a bit in his NBA career, and he typically takes some time to find his footing in a new home.
Oladipo also isn’t the player he once was before the injuries piled up. He’s lost half a step now, and he’s going to have to share the ball with John Wall and Christian Wood in Houston.
In Indiana, Oladipo was seeing more of the ball with players like Malcolm Brogdon willing off-ball shooters. In Houston, Oladipo may be the guy playing off the ball more often.
Oladipo is averaging 20.0 PPG this year, technically his second highest ever, but on a small sample size. He’s averaging 17.7 PPG over the last three seasons, and that’s right about where we’re projecting him, at 17.4 points in 30 minutes on his new team.
Honestly, I think even that might be a bit optimistic. Oladipo has not seemed enthusiastic to land in Houston, and I think it could be a bit of a rocky transition to his new team. I’ll play this one to -135.
James Wiseman under 6.5 rebounds (-122)
|Warriors at Lakers||+8.5|
|Time||10 p.m. ET|
We close out our day of props with the rookie behemoth at center for the Warriors, James Wiseman. Wiseman is an Adonis. He has a chiseled frame and came to the league with a far more NBA-ready body than most guys his age, and he’s had some eye-popping highlights and stats at times as he begins his professional career.
Wiseman may look the part against some teams, but the defending champs are another thing altogether. No team in the league can match the Lakers inside the arc, with LeBron James and Anthony Davis dominating down low, plus Montrezl Harrell and Marc Gasol — as if those first two weren’t enough. The Lakers are big and tough and physical, and as ready as Wiseman has looked at times, he’s just no match right now against these grown men.
I think Wiseman could struggle to stay on the court in this game between the extra physicality, his tendency to get lost and exposed on defense against a superstar team, and the likelihood of him picking up fouls. Wiseman’s minutes have come and gone, and he’s dropped below 20 three times in the last five games. That’s where we project him against the Lakers, and it’s hard to rack up rebounds from the bench.
This feels like it could be a “Welcome to the Big Leagues, Kid” type game for Wiseman against a mammoth front line that makes even Wiseman look small. He’s gone under 6.5 rebounds in eight of 12 games, and I think he’s under again here. I’ll play to -145 and look to wrap up the night with a win.