NBA Player Prop Bets, Picks: Expect Ayton, Plumlee To Clean Up On Loaded Tuesday Card (Dec. 29)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images. Pictured: Phoenix Suns star Deandre Ayton, left, and Sacramento Kings player Richaun Holmes.
- The Phoenix Suns and New Orleans Pelicans battle in Tuesday’s NBA action, featuring a matchup of two former No. 1 draft picks in Deandre Ayton and Zion Williamson.
- Brandon Anderson tells us why he loves Ayton as one of his best prop bets on the loaded card.
Things have gotten off to a solid 11-6 start so far in our NBA prop best bets after Monday’s 2-1 record. Anytime you can win two thirds of your bets, you’re in pretty good shape.
Tonight, we have a 10-game slate, including a marquee doubleheader featuring a Milwaukee Bucks-Miami Heat playoff rematch to kick things off. The New Orleans Pelicans take on the Phoenix Suns as part of the late schedule, where we’ve targeted one of the league’s bright young stars as one of our top prop plays.
For those 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 books to find the best odds on those player props.
NBA Player Props & Picks
Deandre Ayton, Over 9.5 Rebounds (-115)
|Pelicans at Suns||Suns -3.5|
|Time||10 p.m. ET|
I never loved Deandre Ayton as an NBA prospect. I thought it was ludicrous that some had him in the same universe as Luka Doncic, or even Trae Young for that matter. I hate investing a lot into center, let alone the No. 1 pick in the draft. I didn’t like Ayton’s defense (which has improved leaps and bounds since) and didn’t love his upside on offense.
However, one thing was always obvious. Ayton would be great at was rebounding. He is a chiseled mountain of a man, with a body so magnificent the ball practically falls into his hands as some sort of gravitational pull. He averaged double-digit rebounds as a rookie, then improved from 10.3 RPG to 11.5 RPG his sophomore campaign.
So far this year, Ayton is at 11.7 RPG, with games of eight, 12, and 15 rebounds.
And all we have to do here is hit double digits?
The warning sign is Ayton’s minutes load. He has yet to crack 30 minutes on the season, and the Suns are good enough now that there’s always the threat of a big win and fewer fourth-quarter minutes.
The minutes thing could be a fluke, though. He logged 24 minutes in the opener as he worked back into shape, then finishes right at 29 minutes on back-to-back nights. This game is on full rest, and even with minutes in the high 20s, I like Ayton’s chances to hit on this play.
If Ayton is on the court, he’ll get rebounds, even up against another imposing force in Steven Adams. I like this play up to minus-140 on the number.
Seth Curry, Over 11.5 Points (-125)
|Raptors at 76ers||Sixers -1.5|
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
Seth Curry is good at shooting the basketball. Curry, who has never shot below 42 percent from behind the arc, is at 42.9% so far in his new Sixers uniform. He’s also yet to miss a free throw for Philadelphia.
Welcome to the Curry family.
Whether it’s Seth or brother, Steph, they’re going to get shots and points. And it looks like Curry will be getting looks in Philadelphia, where Doc Rivers has always done well with brilliant movement shooters. Having Ben Simmons, the passing savant, as a teammate is helping him finding good rhythm as well.
Curry is averaging 4.7 three-point attempts per game, and at his shooting rate, that’s at least six points a game on its own. Curry is at 12.7 PPG on the season, and was over 12 PPG in two of the last three seasons too. A tough game against the Toronto Raptors should mean fewer transition opportunities and more half-court offense, which could lean to more reliance on Curry.
We’re projecting Curry at 15.1 points, a full three-pointer above this prop. Play him with confidence to -150 on the number. Don’t be afraid to play if it moves to 12 points, as it has in some books.
Mason Plumlee, Over 7.5 Rebounds (-123)
|Warriors at Pistons||Warriors -4.5|
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
Plumlee was one of our losses last week, but you have to have a short memory in sports wagering. That said, let’s go back to the well on a guy our Props tool continues to love.
I’ve always thought Plumlee was a fine player, even if he’s an easy punchline as one of 700 Duke Plumlees and always a massive downgrade off the bench for Nikola Jokic. Botton line, the guy works hard and produces when on the court.
This season, Plumlee signed a big contract in Detroit, and he’s playing more often. In fact, he’s starting and a point and rebound away from averaging a double-double right now at 9.7 PPG and 9.7 RPG. The scoring will be inconsistent and unreliable — that’s what burned us last time — but rebounding is more of a volume stat. The rebounds tend to correlate more linearly with playing time for the good rebounders.
Plumlee has averaged just over 10 rebounds per 36 minutes his entire career since his rookie year, plus he’s averaging 33 minutes a game for Detroit. It’s not hard to see why he’s about at double-digit rebounds now, is it? He’s hit the over on this rebounding line in all three Detroit games, even the one we played his point total on when the rebounding over was also touted as a strong option.
We’ll stick with boards in this spot. And with a line this low, our Props tool is currently giving us a 36% margin of error in our favor, rating this a 10 out of 10 with a 10.3 rebound projection.
Play this one to -145, and play it up a rebound at better odds, too, if the line jumps. We may need to play Plumlee rebounds until the market adjusts to his new, bigger role in Detroit.