NBA Player Prop Bets: 3 Picks, Including Why You Should Buy Dillon Brooks (Monday, April 26)
Steph Chambers/Getty Images. Pictured: Dillon Brooks #24 of the Memphis Grizzlies.
- It's plus juice night at The Action Network's NBA player props post.
- Brandon Anderson takes you through his three favorite plays of the night using the Action Labs Player Props tool.
Uh oh … guess what day it is.
Plus Juice DAYYYY!!
Scared money doesn’t make money, and tonight we’re risking our hard-earned cash on less-than-overwhelming odds of hitting by playing the positive juice in our favor. Think of it like betting on three coin flips, but getting 60% odds on each flip.
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
Khem Birch, Over 1.5 Assists (+180)
|Lakers vs. Magic||Lakers -10.5|
|Time | TV||7 p.m. ET | NBA League Pass|
You know things are a little grim for the Toronto Raptors when you see Chris Boucher and Paul Watson on the injury report and think, “Uh oh.”
The Raptors have been a walking injury report this season, so much so that Canadian Khem Birch has gone from third-string center for the Orlando Magic — the Magic!! — to 30-plus-minute starter for the Raptors in one month’s time. Birch wasn’t even traded to Toronto. He was cut. By the Magic!
Nevertheless, Birch has been a steady producer at center for years now. He just doesn’t get many chances, and this, finally, may be his chance to make a mark. Birch has played only eight games with Toronto, but he’s started the last five and played 28.3 minutes per game and averages 8.8 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.6 assists, and 1.8 blocks over that stretch. Not bad for a third-string castoff!
The Raptors have been short on center options all season, having never really appropriately replaced Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol, but it’s starting to feel like Birch may be their man. Birch has a career 124 Offensive Rating per Basketball Reference, and he’s at 123 with the Raptors. He may not put up big numbers on his own, but Birch knows how to fight on the glass, defend, set screens, and move the ball along as part of a good offense.
We’ll be counting on him moving that ball tonight, hopefully at least twice to teammates in scoring position. Birch is averaging 1.6 APG as a Toronto starter, and he has one assist every 17.9 minutes in his NBA career. That would make this playable at 27 minutes or above, and sure enough, we project him at 1.5 assists.
That means this prop is roughly a 50-50 proposition. And that’s not great! But that’s where the +180 juice comes in. At that number, we only have to hit 36% of the time for this bet to be in our favor, and it should be clear by now that that’s the case. He had three assists in two of his past three games.
On Plus Juice Days, you’ve got to be willing to lose money to make money. I’ll play to +150.
Trevor Ariza, Over 1.5 3-pointers (+125)
|Bulls vs. Heat||Heat -6|
|Time | TV||8 p.m. ET | NBA League Pass|
Trevor Ariza’s career has been a wild ride. He’s played for 10 NBA teams now, a whopping one third of the league, and Ariza seems to fit right in wherever he goes. He’s the consummate 3-and-D wing, the sort of smart team defender and knockdown shooter every team in the league can use.
Ariza was a midseason pickup for the Miami Heat after watching the first half of the season with Oklahoma City, an 11th team he never got paid by but never actually got to suit up for. Ariza has found a quick home with the Heat, a team desperate for healthy and reliable bodies. Miami may be missing Kendrick Nunn and Tyler Herro on the wing tonight too.
Ariza was starting by his fourth game with the Heat, and his minutes have trended up lately. He’s playing 32.1 MPG over the last six Miami games and averaging 10.3 points and 6.5 rebounds during that stretch. More importantly, he’s defending well and knocking down open 3s. Ariza is averaging 5.2 attempts per game during this recent stretch and hitting 42% of them, making 2.2 treys per game. That’s well over our number.
Over the last 13 games, Ariza has gone over 1.5 made 3s seven times, hitting our over more than half the time. He’s made at least one 3-pointer in 10 of the 13, putting him within one make of our number.
And should we really be that surprised that Ariza is hitting 3s? He’s averaged 1.5 made 3s or better in eight straight seasons.
This is probably the right line, but it’s the wrong juice. I would’ve made it more like -150, and we’re getting plus juice instead. I’ll play at any positive number.
Dillon Brooks, Over 2.5 Assists (+138)
|Grizzlies vs. Nuggets||Nuggets -4.5|
|Time | TV||9 p.m. ET | NBA League Pass|
On the subject of 3-and-D wings, it’s possible that Dillon Brooks is Trevor Ariza but a decade younger.
Really, how hard would it be to see a veteran Brooks bouncing around the league from team to team, providing useful defense on the wing and knocking down open shots? Brooks makes just 35.5% of his 3s, so he’ll need to tighten up that shot, but Ariza took a few years to round out his shot, too.
With Brooks, though, he’s got more playmaking ability than Ariza ever did, both for himself and for others. Brooks is averaging 16.8 points and 2.3 assists, both career highs for the Grizzlies. He can put the ball on the court and make something happen, and he’s been doing that with more frequency these last couple seasons as a key starter on a fringe playoff team.
Brooks has averaged 30.7 minutes per game over his last 15 outings, and the minutes have become very consistent with at least 29 played in 12 of those 15. The assists are a bit more sporadic. He’s averaging only 2.1 APG over that stretch but did go over 2.5 dimes in six of the 15, hitting the over 40% of the time.
That’s not great, but remember, that’s why we’re getting plus juice. And don’t overlook the opponent. As good as the Nuggets have been on offense, Denver allows the third most assists in the league. If there are extra assists on the table, we want them.
Brooks has gone over 2.5 assists in 21 of 55 games on the season. That hits the over 38% of the time, about the same rate as where he’s been lately. But at +138, we only need to hit the over 42% of the time for this prop to pay off, and the matchup here swings it in our favor.
We project Brooks at 3.0 assists, safely over, and rate this a 10 out of 10. I’ll play to +115.