Thursday NBA Player Prop Bets, Picks: Lakers’ Harrell Should Flourish in Davis’ Absence (Feb. 18)
Meg Oliphant/Getty Images. Pictured: Los Angeles Lakers forward Montrezl Harrell.
- Montrezl Harrell hasn't really been asked to do much for the Los Angeles Lakers this season.
- HoweveBrandon Anderson things he will be thrust into a bigger role and more minutes with Anthony Davis sidelined.
- Anderson gives us three prop plays in tonight's NBA games, including one he loves tied to Harrell below.
It’s a lean Thursday in NBA action, with only three games on the calendar. However, the TNT matchup between the Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets is one we’ve been waiting for all season.
Unfortunately, the game won’t tell us much since Kevin Durant and Anthony Davis are sidelined, but with those two superstars out, there’s an opportunity for other players to hit a prop play.
And that’s exactly the angle we’ll play with Lakers forward Montrezl Harrell.
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 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, Under 12.5 Points (-115)
|Raptors vs. Bucks||Bucks -6|
|Time | TV||7:30 p.m. ET | TNT|
Hello again, old friend.
If you’ve been following this column over the past couple months, you’ve seen a lot of Brook Lopez. For much of January, we were playing Lopez overs. Sometimes that was over 0.5 assists, and other times it was a scoring play. We even played a points over against these Toronto Raptors, specifically because I liked the matchup for Lopez.
But now, it’s time to fade Lopez.
The whole reason we were playing Lopez so often in January is that he started the season slow and was barely playing before a big minutes boost in January. Well, those minutes have faded again in February. Check out the difference:
- January 4-29: 31.1 MPG | 12.2 PPG in 12 games
- Rest of the season: 24.2 MPG | 9.8 PPG in 16 games
Sometimes it really is just about the minutes, and I don’t think the books have adjusted back down again after finally adjusting up. Lopez has gone under 12.5 points in seven of his last 10 games, including Tuesday against these Raptors.
Our Props Tool liked this under then, but I hesitated because Lopez has had pretty good success against Toronto. However, he scored just nine points in 29 minutes, so we’ll make the play in this spot.
I’ll take the under here to -130 odds.
Bryn Forbes, Over 0.5 Assists (-121)
|Raptors vs. Bucks||Bucks -6|
|Time | TV||7:30 p.m. ET | TNT|
Yes indeed, it’s another Bucks minutes play.
Jrue Holiday is still in the health protocols and missing from Milwaukee’s lineup, and that means Bryn Forbes is the starting Bucks “point guard.” Forbes has started the last five games for Milwaukee and played 26.8 minutes per game in that stretch.
Of course, we had to say “point guard” in quotes because Forbes is not even remotely running point for this team. In those five starts combined, he has one solitary assist. You read that correctly: one assist from a starting point guard over a five-game stretch. No amount of quotes in the world should be able to cover that embarrassment.
Still, here we are recommending an over because, well, it’s there, and all we need is one to come through.
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It’s not like Forbes doesn’t know how to pass. For his career, he averages an assist every 15.5 minutes on the court. That number has gone to one assist every 39.5 minutes in Milwaukee this season, but that statistic screams small sample size, just like it did when Lopez was struggling to find an assist early this season.
The truth is that when you average 1.4 APG for your career, you’re bound to have a random stretch of games with a bunch of zeroes in a row. That’s just how statistical variance works. If you flip a coin five times in a row and expect it to land heads all five times, you’re probably going to be wrong.
However, if you flip that same coin 100 times in a row and you’re virtually guaranteed a streak of five consecutive heads somewhere in there. And it looks like Forbes has been landing on heads a few unlucky times too many in Milwaukee.
How hard is it to get one assist in 25 or 30 minutes? That’s one steal and dish to Giannis Antetokounmpo for a transition dunk. It’s one extra pass to a wide open 50/40/90 Khris Middleton jumper. With the home stats guy in his back pocket, it might not even have to be a real assist.
We project Forbes at 28 minutes and 1.2 assists, making this one of the top props. Just one, Bryn. We don’t ask for much. I’ll play to -140 odds.
Montrezl Harrell, Over 23.5 PTS + REB+AST (-110)
|Nets vs. Lakers||Lakers -2.5|
|Time | TV||10 p.m. | TNT|
With Anthony Davis sidelined for the Lakers for the foreseeable, I’ve got my eye on Montrezl Harrell as the main beneficiary.
I wrote a long-form piece about Harrell that you should read for further analysis, but here’s the crux of the argument. Kyle Kuzma steps into the starting lineup, but that leaves even more of the bench load for Harrell to consume.
He’s scoring more efficiently than ever with a career-high rebounding rate, and I think this is exactly why the Lakers brought Harrell in. He can soak up regular-season minutes, thus help get Davis and LeBron James healthy for May. That said, this is Harrell’s time to shine.
And what better time to jump on the Harrell bandwagon than a game against the Brooklyn Nets? The Nets give up a ton of points, and they give up so many easy looks to opposing big men.
This is the exact kind of team Harrell should feast against — basically an All-Star Game scenario with little defense and lots of easy buckets. I think he could have a big game, and he should see a serious minutes uptick with Davis sidelined.
It’s fair to point out that didn’t happen Tuesday against Minnesota. Harrell only played 18 minutes in that game. However, he recorded 17 points, six rebounds and three assists in that contest, hitting this P+R+A over with ease.
We project Harrell at 25.7 minutes, 16.1 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.4 assists against Brooklyn, which puts him above this line. Suffice it to say, I think Harrell could top all of those numbers.
I’ve got my eye on him as a longshot Sixth Man of the Year candidate, too, at +2500 via BetMGM, and a big Thursday TNT game against the Nets would be a great way to kick start his campaign. I’ll play this combo prop to -135 odds.