NBA Player Prop Bets & Picks: Brandon Ingram’s Rebound Total the Top Play (Wednesday, Jan. 13)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images Pictured: Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram
Remember when Brandon Ingram was billed as the next Kevin Durant in the NBA Draft, just because he was a long, skinny scorer and that’s how we tend to reduce these things?
Ingram is finally breaking out for good, taking another big step forward after winning Most Improved Player last season, and Wednesday, we are playing both Ingram and Durant in our props.
For those who are new to this article, we’ll be using the ActionLabs 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 I’m playing, the case for each bet, and the best books to find odds on those player props.
NBA Player Props & Picks
Brook Lopez, Over 0.5 Assists (-118)
|Bucks at Pistons||Bucks -11|
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
I don’t love playing prop lines that are such low numbers, but I have to make an exception here. Our Props Tool has been hyping this over for a handful of games now, and it’s hitting.
Lopez averages 1.3 assists per game during his time with the Bucks, and we are projecting him at 2.4 tonight. So why is this line so low? It’s because Lopez didn’t record a single assist over the first five games of the season, and the books overcompensated and haven’t adjusted back.
This is a good lesson in variance. When you’re only averaging around one of something per game, it’s not unusual at all to end up with zero, and it’s not even that unusual to end up with a few zeroes in a row. If I tell you to flip a coin five times and ask you if you got five straight tails, you probably think the odds of that are pretty low. But now if you flip that coin 82 times and check to see if you ever got five tails in a row, it’s almost certain that you did. Lopez just happened to flip tails the first five games of the season, when we were paying more attention to small sample size.
Lopez has 10 assists over his last six games, and he’s had at least one dime in four of those six. He’s also playing more now as the Bucks look to stabilize their defense. The defense is improving, and Lopez is up from 22 MPG his first six to 31 MPG since. And we just need one.
This is also a great opportunity to remind you why you need to be using our new Beta Props tool, which shops the lines for you to make sure you get the best odds.
We’re playing Lopez over 0.5 at -118 at BetMGM. The exact same over-0.5 is available at FanDuel for -215! We’re getting almost half the juice here, and our tool gives us a 37% edge on this one. The next highest prop on the entire slate is an edge of less than 20%.
Our tool still likes the over even at the -215 if you have to pay it, but I’m looking to grab the -118 at BetMGM while it’s there.
Brandon Ingram, Over 5.5 Rebounds (-110)
|Pelicans at Clippers||Clippers -7|
|Time||10 p.m. ET|
Brandon Ingram was the league’s Most Improved Player last season, but I’m seeing even more tangible, consistent improvement this year than I saw a year ago.
Ingram is now a star. He’s putting up 24 points, seven boards, and six dimes a night, all career highs, and he, not Zion Williamson, is the star and focal point of these Pelicans right now. I never would have imagined saying that a year ago.
Ingram’s playmaking has taken a serious step forward, and he’s also added strength that helps him as a scorer when driving to the rim. It’s also helped Ingram hit a career-high rebounding percentage, and that’s the angle we’re playing here.
Ingram’s 7.1 RPG is his best ever, and he’s over 5.5 rebounds in seven of nine games this season. The Pelicans are an elite rebounding team while the Clippers are not strong on the boards, so I look for New Orleans to pound the glass to try to keep this one close. We’re projecting Ingram to hit his season average at 7.0 boards, and I’ll play this happily as high as -145.
Kevin Durant, Over 5.5 Assists (-100)
|Nets at Knicks||Nets -6|
|Time||7:30 p.m. ET|
Kyrie Irving is still missing for the Nets, and Spencer Dinwiddie is out for the season. One of the best parts about Brooklyn was supposed to be the team’s many handlers and playmakers, but that has gone the other way with Irving and Dinwiddie out. Caris LeVert is the de facto starting “point guard,” and a handful of players on the team are getting more touches and assist opportunities.
Kevin Durant had 13 assists last game. Thirteen! That’s one off his career high, and Durant was basically playing point forward for the team, doing a little bit of everything. Durant is at 5.8 APG on the season and 5.6 APG his last three healthy seasons. His playmaking has grown over the years, putting him right about in line with his number, but it doesn’t account for the extra handling he’ll be doing with the Nets shorthanded at point guard.
There’s always the chance Durant sits, of course. It’s the second night of a back-to-back, and the Nets are playing the long game with KD. But that makes this something of a free roll. Durant isn’t going to play half way. Either he plays normally and this is a good bet, or he sits and you get a refund.
As a bonus: I’m also playing Joe Harris again at over 1.5 assists at -170 on FanDuel. Harris has gone over 1.5 assists in all five games without Irving, and he’s averaging 3.2 dimes in those games. I like this even with Durant playing, and if KD does sit, that’s only more touches and assist opportunities for Harris, so it’s something of a hedge and a plus play we just won Tuesday.
I’ll play Durant over 5.5 assists to -120.