NBA Player Prop Bets, Picks: 3 Plays, Including Anfernee Simons & LeBron James (Sunday, January 9)

NBA Player Prop Bets, Picks: 3 Plays, Including Anfernee Simons & LeBron James (Sunday, January 9) article feature image
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Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: os Angeles Lakers star LeBron James.

  • It's a busy Sunday in the NBA with 10 games on the slate.
  • Our expert has his eyes on three player props, punctuated with LeBron James in the nightcap.
  • See which player props Tyler Schmidt is making for the day, below.

We have three points props for you on Sunday’s NBA schedule. These plays caught my eye and all are regarding player points, including two overs and one under for our wagers. That said, let’s have a profitable day of betting.

We’ll be using the Action Labs Player Prop tool to compare our NBA projections to the props posted at a variety of sportsbooks. 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.

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NBA Player Props & Picks

Fred VanVleet — Over 22.5 Points (-105)

Raptors vs. Pelicans Raptors -8
Time | TV 6 p.m. ET | NBA League Pass
Best Book DraftKings

It’s tough to find a player as hot as Fred VanVleet right now. Basically, he single-handily has led the Toronto Raptors to five consecutive victories and back above the .500 mark. They’re now 8-point home favorites against the New Orleans Pelicans.

This prop seems low to what VanVleet has done as of late. Over the last seven games, he’s averaging an incredible 30.4 points per game. In every game but one, VanVleet has scored 27 or more points. That’s far above this prop line. The crazy part is the value is also nice. In this matchup, that’s strange.

The Pelicans rank 24th in Defensive Rating this season, allowing opponents to shoot 47.0% from the field. The Pelicans also allow 37.1% from behind the arc, which ranks as the second worst in the league. VanVleet should be able to take advantage of that, as he’s second to Stephen Curry in most made 3-pointers with 3.7 per game. He has made four or more 3-pointers in each of his last seven contests, while averaging 5.6 made 3-pointers per game.

One of the best parts about an over VanVleet prop is you know the minutes will be there. He rarely comes off the floor. VanVleet is averaging a league-high 37.5 minutes per game this season. He was second in the league in minutes per game last season as well. He will have plenty of opportunities in this spot.

VanVleet is scorching the nets of late. Over those last seven games, he’s shooting 48.3% from the field and 45.3% from behind the arc. He has failed to get double-digit field goal attempts only twice in his last seven outings. This is my favorite prop of the night. I would take it up to 24.5 points.

Anfernee Simons — Under 19.5 Points (-105)

Trail Blazers vs. Kings Kings -1
Time | TV 9 p.m. ET | NBA League Pass
Best Book DraftKings

Similar to Saturday with Cade Cunningham — which worked out well — our model absolutely loves all of the Anfernee Simons under props. All of Cunningham’s props hit, so I’m hoping the same happens with Simons.

This is another matchup where I do like Simons, so taking his under prop is a little scary. You have to trust the numbers, though. The Portland Trail Blazers are still playing without Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, which provides a big boost to Simons with his usage and playing time. He’s the main facilitator.

The Kings rank 27th in Defensive Rating this season and allow 113.9 points per game, which is the third highest in the league. This game features a very healthy total of 225.5 points, with the Trail Blazers implied for 112.25 points.

The Kings also allow the most points in the paint with 53.4 per game. Nearly half of Simons’ points come from behind the arc. He’s averaging a career-high 2.3 made 3-pointers per game, which ranks third on the team behind Lillard and McCollum. However, he only makes 4.8 made field goals per game. The Kings rank seventh in only allowing 11.4 made 3-pointers per game. That said, I think Simons has a difficult time scoring the ball.

In the last three games, Simons has scored 48, 23 and 12 points. He has seven assists in each game. I would rather bank on a great game from Jusuf Nurkic than Simons from a scoring standpoint.

Our model has Simons projected for 17.3 points. I have seen this prop at 20.5 points, but I like the value that we get at 19.5 points.

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LeBron James — Over 30.5 Points (-115)

Lakers vs. Grizzlies Lakers -3
Time | TV 9:30 p.m. ET | NBA League Pass
Best Book DraftKings

I would be a fool to not continue to ride this LeBron James prop. The Los Angeles Lakers have won four consecutive games, which is their longest winning streak of the season. However, they’re playing against the Memphis Grizzlies, who have won eight in a row and 18 of their last 24 contests.

The Lakers are still 3-point home favorites, with the chance of the Grizzlies competing without Ja Morant. With or without Morant, this should be a highly competitive game. This game total is set at 226 points, with the Lakers implied for 114.75 points. And we know where most of those will be coming from.

The Lakers will need James to be historic scoring the ball like he has been lately. James has had over 31 or more points in nine of his last 10 games. His scoring output has catapulted him to second in the league in scoring, averaging 28.7 per game. James hasn’t averaged this many points since 2009-10 season in his last season in Cleveland before he returned.

Without Anthony Davis in the lineup, James has had to go into “Superman” mode. In 13 games without Davis this season, James is averaging 34.1 points and 9.0 rebounds per game. That’s big jump from 24.0 points and 6.0 rebounds per game with Davis. His usage rate also jumps to 33.2% per game.

The Grizzlies rank 10th in Defensive Rating this season, but that doesn’t really matter for James. He had 37 points on 13-for-25 shooting from the field in their matchup just 11 days ago.

Ride James’ hot hand. I would take this over 31.5 points, but I don’t expect this line to move much, if at all.

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