Thursday NBA Player Prop Bets & Picks: A Heavy Dose of Pistons Rookies (April 29)

Thursday NBA Player Prop Bets & Picks: A Heavy Dose of Pistons Rookies (April 29) article feature image
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Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Saddiq Bey.

  • Thursday's NBA prop slate leans heavily toward the Detroit Pistons, and Brandon Anderson is taking advantage.
  • The Pistons are set to give three rookies heavy minutes against the Mavericks on Thursday, and Anderson has his picks ready to go.
  • Check out each pick for all three rookies complete with a breakdown below.

The youth movement is on in Detroit.

The Pistons paid big bucks for Jerami Grant and Mason Plumlee this summer, but with those two players injured and the team in full tank mode, we should get a whole lot of the kids tonight.

Detroit had three first-round picks last year, and Killian Hayes, Saddiq Bey, and Isaiah Stewart have all impressed of late. We’re playing one prop from each rookie tonight, with a chance for a Pistons single game parlay if your book allows it.

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

Saddiq Bey, Over 1.5 Assists (+105)

Pistons vs. Mavericks Mavericks -7
Time | TV 7 p.m. ET | NBA League Pass
Best Book BetMGM

What a nice season the rookie wing from Villanova is having. Saddiq Bey was hailed as a ready-made 3-and-D NBA wing, and he has looked the part for Detroit.

Bey is averaging 11.3 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 1.2 assists per game for Detroit, and he’s been starting for most of the season. The shooting has translated immediately, with 38% on 6.2 3-point attempts per game, plus 87% from the line, making him a player who would help any NBA team along the wing. The defense hasn’t been all too bad either, especially for a rookie without a ton of help on a young, mishmash team.

Bey’s scoring rate has dropped a little as a starter, typical for a player facing tougher defenses, but his assists as a starter have risen to 1.5 APG. That makes sense, too, since there are better players around Bey to finish shots.

Like most Villanova players, Bey is a high-IQ player who moves the ball along easily and quickly, and that makes for easy assist opportunities — even for a guy who doesn’t spend a ton of time on the ball.

Both Grant and Plumlee touch the ball a lot when they play, so their absences leave a little more time on the ball and likely a few more minutes in what should be a high-scoring game against the Mavs.

Bey has had multiple assists in four of his last nine games, even with his minutes load uncharacteristically dropping below 27 in four of those. We project him at 32.9 minutes tonight with Detroit missing so many bodies, giving him 2.1 assists.

Bey has gone over 1.5 assists in 21-of-43 starts, hitting this over 49% of the time and putting this line right on the money. With the extra minutes and touches available tonight, our Props Tool gives this a 13% edge in our favor, and the plus juice will help boost our single game parlay odds.

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Isaiah Stewart, Under 12.5 Rebounds + Assists (-113)

Pistons vs. Mavericks Mavericks -7
Time | TV 7 p.m. ET | NBA League Pass
Best Book FanDuel

Beef Stew has been the real Pistons revelation this season, prompting some to suggest he would be a high lottery pick if every team could try a do-over six months later. And that should not come as much of a surprise.

Stewart was one of the top high school recruits in the nation before a somewhat quiet freshman season hidden in Washington’s zone.

Stewart has always been a terrific rebounder, and he has a nice touch around the basket, so he’s quickly become a double-double threat. He’s had seven double-doubles this season and hit double-digit rebounds in five of his last seven. In seven games as a starter, Stewart is averaging 13.0 points, 11.7 rebounds, and 1.3 assists in 28.5 minutes per game. And it’s safe to assume he’ll start with Plumlee sidelined.

Even still, our Props Tool is fading the rookie tonight. Stewart just played the Mavericks a week ago and struggled mightily, tallying only seven points and six rebounds in under 16 minutes off the bench. The constant Dallas pick-and-roll was not an easy matchup for Stewart, who is not the quickest on his feet. Stewart is not the guy you want defending the roll-man lobs to players like Willie Cauley-Stein and Dwight Powell.

We’ve got Stewart playing a healthy 30 minutes tonight, but big minutes haven’t always translated to big rebounds for Stewart. He’s averaging 10.8 RPG in his 10 games with the most minutes played, and he had seven and an ugly two boards in two of his five games at 30+ minutes.

We project Stewart at 9.4 rebounds, well short of his 11.5 rebounding line, but I like adding the assists in and playing the combo. It’s one extra bump on the line, and Stewart has had one or zero assists in 45 of his 60 games, so there’s a good chance this is just one higher on the rebounding line and at much better juice, too.

I’ll play to -130 or pivot to the rebounds under.


Killian Hayes, Under 19.5 Points + Rebounds + Assists (-113)

Pistons vs. Mavericks Spread
Time | TV 7 p.m. ET | NBA League Pass
Best Book 888 Sport

Killian Hayes began the season as the Pistons’ starting point guard, and it did not go well. Hayes averaged just 4.6 points, 1.1 rebounds, and 3.6 assists in 21.1 minutes per game as a starter and looked like one of the worst players in the NBA.

Then, Hayes got hurt and missed three months, and the Pistons have smartly brought him off the bench since his return, starting veteran Cory Joseph instead. He’s started only three games in April, all of them when Joseph sat, but with CoJo sitting tonight, he should get starter minutes again.

Hayes has seen better numbers since his return to play, with both of his assists and rebounds up a bit. He’s all the way up to 6.5 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 5.0 assists per game in 10 April games. He’s literally scored two or fewer points in four of those games, averaging an ugly 4.6 points and 4.1 dimes off the bench this month.

Hayes can’t shoot yet, and he’s not getting to the rim, so he’s a complete non-threat as a scorer. If he has another one of those games with two or fewer points, this combo-prop under is a lock. Even if he gets to eight or 10 points as he does in some games, the lack of peripheral stats keeps our under in play.

In seven April games off the bench, Hayes is averaging just 12.3 PRA, far below this number, under 19.5 in all seven of them. In three games as a starter, he’s up to 20.3 PRA, right at this number but still under in one, so there have been eight unders in 10 April games.

We project Hayes at 26.3 minutes, 9.1 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 5.3 assists, and the possibility of a bottomed-out points total makes this a smart prop angle to play. After all, 9.1 points would theoretically be Killian’s fifth-best total ever in the NBA.

The rookie will see better days ahead, but he’s just not producing a ton yet. I’ll play the under to -130.

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