Friday NBA Player Prop Bets & Picks: Will CJ McCollum Have Big Night Against Lakers? (May 7)
Cameron Browne/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: CJ McCollum.
- Get the weekend started right with Brandon Anderson's favorite NBA player props, which have been profitable every month.
- Anderson has three bets on Moe Wagner, Jarrett Allen, and CJ McCollum for tonight's hoops slate.
- Check out each pick with a full breakdown below.
It’s been a heck of a year playing NBA props here at Action Network.
I tweeted my updated monthly record through the end of April yesterday. We have a positive ROI in every month so far and a stunning 19.8% return on investment for the season with a 56.6% hit rate. And that doesn’t even count yesterday’s Lakers-Clippers single game parlay that hit at nearly 13-1 odds.
Monthly NBA props record at @ActionNetworkHQ through April:
Dec: 17-9-1, +7.37u
Jan: 76-42-2, +32.24u
Feb: 63-50-4, +11.7u
Mar: 40-38-1, +7.7u
Apr: 44-45-2, +24.88u
240-184-10 (56.6% hit rate)
+83.89 units (+19.8% ROI)
$100 bettor would be up $8389 thru April.
— Brandon Anderson (@wheatonbrando) May 6, 2021
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
Moe Wagner, Over 5.5 Rebounds (-114)
|Magic vs. Hornets||Hornets -7|
|Time | TV||8 p.m. ET | NBA League Pass|
So, apparently Moe Wagner is on the Orlando Magic now?
Wagner is on his third NBA team this season. Heck, Wagner is on his third NBA team in the last six weeks. He was with the Wizards until nearly the end of March, had a cup of coffee with the Celtics in April, and now here he is in Orlando starting games for the Magic. Talk about a whirlwind six weeks.
The Magic continue to play beyond shorthanded. Wagner is playing with his old Michigan teammate Iggy Brazdeikis, Mo Bamba is starting at center with Wendell Carter Jr. out, Nikola Vucevic is long gone, Dwayne Bacon and R.J. Hampton are gobbling up shots, and here we are playing yet another Orlando Magic over.
Wagner played eight minutes in his Magic debut, then got shoved into the starting lineup where he’s played 32.3 minutes a game over the last week. He’s averaging 14.8 points and 5.0 rebounds per game in those four, hitting a couple of 3s a game at 42% as the new stretch four for Orlando.
Wagner has at least four rebounds in all four starts, and he averages a rebound every 4.4 minutes for his NBA career. That rate has been down so far in Orlando with him playing the four instead of his usual center role, but with this many minutes available, he’s still a good bet to put up numbers. As always, rebounds are about opportunity as much as anything else.
We project Wagner at 7.5 rebounds. You can play him to go over 6.5 at plus juice at some books, but I’ll stay more conservative and play the over -5.5 with a safer win. Our Props Tool gives this nearly a 23% edge in our favor.
Jarrett Allen, Over 10.5 Rebounds (+125)
|Cavaliers vs. Mavericks||Mavericks -10|
|Time | TV||8:30 p.m. ET | NBA League Pass|
Jarrett Allen is a beast of a rebounder whenever NBA teams remember to give him the opportunity.
Allen averaged 8.4 rebounds per game his sophomore season with the Nets, then increased his output to 9.6 RPG last season and 10.4 earlier this year before being traded to Cleveland. He’s at 9.9 RPG with the Cavs thus far.
But he’s done all that despite never even averaging 30 minutes a game. Allen gobbles up a rebound every 3.07 minutes he’s on the floor, and he goes on binges at times, too, grabbing anywhere from five to seven in a single quarter.
Allen is tall and long with huge leaping ability, and he does a great job high-pointing rebounds and has gotten more physical as his frame filled out.
It took Allen a while to settle in with the Cavs, which is code for “Andre Drummond was still on the team so yet another team stupidly brought Allen off the bench behind a worse player.”
For his first 14 games with Cleveland, Allen averaged only 7.5 RPG in 25.5 MPG and came off the bench for most of them. The Cavs finally wised up and moved him into the starting lineup full-time, and since then, he’s averaged 13.9 points and 11.0 rebounds in 32.3 MPG, with seven games of at least 14 boards, including one with 17 and one with 18.
Allen has gone over 10.5 boards in 17-of-31 games since moving into the Cavs starting lineup full time. That hits our over 55% of the time, even at plus juice. It’s all the better that the Mavs are one of the worst offensive rebounding teams in the league and below average on the glass overall. Plus, Kristaps Porzingis and Maxi Kleber are out, so Allen should feast.
This is another instance where you can play Allen to go over 9.5 or 10.5, depending on the book. In this instance, our Props Tool recommends aggression. I’ll play the over 10.5 at +110 or better or otherwise pivot to the safer 9.5 play down to -125 as needed.
CJ McCollum, Over 2.5 3s (-106)
|Trail Blazers vs. Lakers||Trail Blazers -8.5|
|Time | TV||10 p.m. ET | ESPN|
This line still feels a 3-pointer too low, so we’re going to keep playing the over until the books adjust or it’s clear that CJ’s 3s have fallen off.
McCollum has always been a terrific 3-point shooter, hitting over 39% for his career. The difference this season is that he’s also become a volume shooter for the first time, increasing his attempts per game by nearly 50% from a couple of years ago.
McCollum is now taking 9.0 attempts per game beyond the arc without losing any of the result, and that’s made him a much more efficient and deadly scorer. He’s averaging 3.5 makes per game on the year, and that includes four of his 41 games in which he played weirdly low minutes because of injury issues.
McCollum has gone over 2.5 3s in 28-of-41 games this season, hitting this over 68% of the time, and we are getting nearly even odds.
There is a bit of reason for caution, though. The Lakers rank top-five in the NBA against the 3, both in limiting attempts and in opponent 3-point percentage. But in such a big game for both teams, expect the Lakers to blitz Damian Lillard and force others to beat them, and “others” in this case should mean McCollum.
The other slight concern is that McCollum’s attempts have regressed to 5.5 per game over the last six Blazers games, back down to his averages from a couple of seasons ago. But that part doesn’t worry me. The Blazers haven’t played a single close game in that stretch, with four of those victories coming by 19 or more, so McCollum hasn’t had to gun as much. That shouldn’t be the case against a desperate Lakers team.
I still trust CJ, and we project him at 3.6 makes tonight. I’ll play the over to -135.