NBA Player Prop Bets, Picks: Doncic Will Carry Shorthanded Mavericks (Jan. 9)
Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks.
It’s a wild and wonky Saturday slate of games, and it feels like COVID is wreaking serious havoc on lineups around the league now. Between Coronavirus protocol and mounting injuries, there are strange lineups everywhere — and many missing prop lines too.
We’re playing the later games tonight, going back to two props we’ve taken a shot at before on similar logic and riding one superstar who should carry a shorthanded roster.
For those who are 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 that I’m playing, the case for each bet and the best books to find odds on those player props.
NBA Player Props & Picks
Luka Doncic over 8.5 rebounds (-105)
|Magic at Mavericks||-5.5|
|Time||8:30 p.m. ET|
Both teams are extremely shorthanded for this game. Dallas will be without Josh Richardson, Dorian Finney-Smith, and Jalen Brunson for a few games due to COVID protocol, and the Mavs are still missing Kristaps Porzingis for now too. That’s three presumed starters missing, and that means this is the Luka Doncic show. Maybe now will be the chance for Luka to kick start his MVP campaign.
For all the complaints about a slow start from a plump looking Doncic, Luka’s numbers have been pretty good. He’s at 27.6 points, 9.0 rebounds, and 8.0 assists a game on the year, and his production has ticked up over the past three games to 32.7 points, 13.3 rebounds, and 10.3 assists. Those numbers are helped a bit by overtime and 39 MPG during that span, but they’re ridiculous no matter how you slice them.
With Dallas so shorthanded, you better believe Doncic will be playing a lot, and when he’s out there, he’s going to fill up the box score. We’re projecting Luka at 10.6 boards, so there’s a wide margin of error here. I’ll play confidently to -130 and would consider playing other Doncic overs too. I expect a huge line.
Nikola Vucevic over 3.5 assists +132
|Magic at Mavericks||+5.5|
|Time||8:30 p.m. ET|
We’re back again, one night after coming up half an assist short on this very prop. The logic is all the same.
With Markelle Fultz out for the season, the Magic will have to look elsewhere for usage and creation. The best Orlando passers after Fultz are rookie point guard Cole Anthony and star center Nikola Vucevic, and Anthony is still adjusting to the NBA and, now, a new starting role.
Vooch had six assists in the game where Fultz was injured, clearly seeing more of the ball. That dropped to three assists last night as the Magic were blown off the court and sat out the fourth quarter, only the third time all season he finished below 30 minutes. We were on pace for an over yesterday, and with Dallas so shorthanded here along with Orlando, a blowout is less likely.
Vucevic should be out there, and he should have opportunities to pass. He’s averaging 3.6 APG since the start of the 2017-18 season, right at this number, and with Orlando missing Fultz along with a number of other key players, he’s a good bet to get plenty of the ball again tonight against a Dallas team that doesn’t have any real answers against him.
Win our money back, Vooch — and at plus odds, he can do that and more. I’ll play down to +115.
DeMar DeRozan over 6.5 assists +125
|Spurs at T’Wolves||-4.5|
|Time||8 p.m. ET|
DeRozan’s assist over is another familiar prop for frequent readers of the column. DeRozan continues to play more of a LeBron-lite role as a point forward, even playing up a position as a nominal four in this new look smaller Spurs lineup.
DeRozan averaged only 2.8 assists per game over the first eight years of his career but started to expand as a playmaker his final season in Toronto, ticking up to 5.2 APG. He’s kept that production in two years as a Spur at 5.9 APG but is passing it better than ever this year, averaging a career-high 7.3 dimes a game with a career-best assist percentage over 31%.
DeRozan has at least six assists in all but one game this season, putting him in range here almost every game, and he’s gone over this number in five of eight games. The Timberwolves have a poor defense and should not offer much resistance, and we project DeRozan at 7.3 assists today, right at his season average.
This one will probably be close, so you’ll likely sweat it out, but at plus odds, it’s worth the upside. I’ll play the assists over to +110.