Friday NBA Player Prop Bets & Picks: Brandon Ingram, Jamal Murray Among Top Plays (Jan. 29)
AAron Ontiveroz/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images. Pictured: Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray (27).
- Brandon Anderson leverages the Action Labs Player Props tool to highlight value on Friday's NBA slate.
- Below, find breakdowns for each of his top three player prop picks for Friday, with odds via the sportsbook offering best value as of writing.
Betting props isn’t just about racking up a big winning record. Of course, it’s always nice to get a win. It feels good. But we’re here to win money — not to rack up winning records. And that’s why it’s always important to pay attention to the juice on bets.
Which bet would you rather make? One that has a 70% chance of hitting with -150 juice, or one that’s only 50-50 to hit but that comes with +150 juice?
If you pick the 70% bet and play it 10 times for $100 each, you will come way with a sparkling 7-3 record and $1,167 — which translates to a very nice 16.7% return on investment (ROI).
To contrast, if you play the 50% bet 10 times instead at the same price, you’ll only end up 5-5. But, you’ll also finish with $1,250 and a sparkling 25.0% ROI. The bettor playing the more certain bet might feel really good about their 7-3 record, but the one who lost more bets ended up making almost twice the profit.
Sometimes you have to take a bigger risk for a worthy payout, and that’s our theme today as we play three bets with plus juice. We may not win all three; but with the juice in our favor, we don’t have to.
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
Brandon Ingram under 4.5 assists (+118) at FanDuel
|Bucks at Pelicans||-7.5|
|Time||7:30 p.m. ET|
Over the first few weeks of the season, I thought Brandon Ingram was breaking out as the star of the New Orleans Pelicans. Ingram averaged 24.0 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 5.8 assists over his first nine games.
Those elevated assist numbers really caught my eye. Ingram was playing much more frequently with the ball in his hands and making things happen for himself and for his teammates. That per-game assist average over his first nine games was nearly double Ingram’s career 3.2 APG coming into this season.
And then, things shifted.
The Pelicans started featuring Zion Williamson, giving him the ball near the basket over and over again and letting him play bully ball. Williamson is racking up points in the paint, taking a ton of 2s, and he’s breaking out before our eyes.
New Orleans’ offensive reprioritization has been good news for Williamson, but it hasn’t been as kind to Ingram’s box score. As Williamson’s numbers have blossomed — and we’ve played Zion several times in this space — Ingram’s are dwindling.
The scoring is still there at 23.7 PPG — buoyed by back-to-back 30-point games entering tonight’s game. But, Ingram’s other statistics have suffered: Over his most recent seven-game stretch, Ingram has only averaged 3.7 rebounds and 3.6 assists. He’s simply not as involved in the offense.
Ingram has gone under 4.5 assists in five of his last seven games, and tonight he faces one of the league’s toughest defenses in the Milwaukee Bucks. Ingram will have his hands full with Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton, so this doesn’t feel like a game to get back on track.
So, I’m fading Ingram’s assist total here. We’re projecting Ingram at 4.1 dimes, and I’ll play the under to even odds.
Darius Garland over 4.5 assists (+105) at PointsBet
|Cleveland at New York||-1|
|Time||7:30 p.m. ET|
Darius Garland was absolutely miserable as a rookie. He had a 96 Offensive Rating, he barely hit 40% of his shots from the field, and his defense was a disaster. The Cavs were not good on either end, and Garland looked like a long-shot project at best. It was something of a lost season for Garland, and that was after a lost season at Vanderbilt with Garland missing most of the year hurt.
It looks like Garland is ready to make up for lost time. He was terrific over the first five games of the season, piling up 19.0 points and 7.2 assists per game as the engine of the Cavs offense, adding three 3s per game at over 51%. Suddenly, Garland looked like a franchise player.
Then, Garland got hurt and suffered through a miserable game against the Hawks — we bet him that game, unfortunately — and he missed three weeks rehabbing the injury after that.
Now, Garland is back and working his way back into form, and it looks like he’s ready for a full workload. He played only 22, 23, and 26 minutes his first three games back but was up to 31 last game and should be a full go against the Knicks.
Garland has gone over 4.5 assists in seven of 10 games this season. One of those unders was the game in which he suffered injury, and the other one was his first game back in limited minutes. In other words, Garland is over 4.5 dimes in seven of eight fully healthy games. He’s getting an assist every 5.8 minutes, and we project him at 32.4 minutes. That should grant him an excellent chance of clearing 4.5 dimes again.
I’m ready to put my faith back in Darius Garland. I love him at plus juice but would play to -110 if need be.
Jamal Murray over 3.5 rebounds (+125) at DraftKings
|Denver at San Antonio||-4.5|
|Time||8:30 p.m. ET|
It’s been a rocky start to the new season for Jamal Murray. Murray was the breakout story of the Orlando bubble a few months ago, but he hasn’t found his form yet this year. Murray’s 19.0 PPG are technically a career-high by half a point, but they’re also a far cry from his production in the playoffs. Murray hasn’t been as aggressive and hasn’t had the ball as much.
I think the Nuggets have noticed and are pushing Murray to be more aggressive on the glass to try to get him more involved. In his last seven games, Murray has racked up 37 rebounds, averaging 5.3 boards per game. He’s had at least five rebounds in five of those seven games, going over this line with ease.
For the season, Murray has gone over 3.5 rebounds in 11 of 17 games, hitting this prop 64.7% of the time. Remind me again why we are getting +125 juice here? Well, it won’t be easy. The Spurs are a good rebounding team, and Jamal will be the lesser rebounding Murray in this matchup with a great rebounder up against him in Spurs guard Dejounte Murray. That does give a little pause, but not enough to miss out on the +125.
We project Jamal Murray at 4.0 rebounds, and I’ll play at any plus juice.