Friday NBA Player Prop Bets, Picks: How To Bet Draymond Green, Myles Turner & LaMelo Ball (Nov. 8)
Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images. Pictured: LaMelo Ball.
- It's Defense Night for Brandon Anderson's NBA player props.
- Two of Anderson's three picks are on defensive stats, in addition to one for LaMelo Ball.
- Check out Brandon picks, which he made using the Action Labs Player Props tool.
Every now and then, I like to play some defensive props.
It’s easy to ignore defensive props because it’s just more fun focusing on flashy scoring numbers. Defensive props can also be frustrating and feel unpredictable because we’re so often dealing with lines at 1.5 or 2.5. One play can make or break the whole prop, and a points line of 20.5 feels like it has a much wider range of outcome.
But so often, a player ends up at 18 or 23 points, and that’s really just one play too. We need not be scared away from defensive props. If anything, we should be drawn to them at times because they’re so overlooked, which implies better value there than the sexier lines. Tonight, two of our three props come on the defensive side of things.
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
Draymond Green, under 2.5 steals + blocks (+100)
|Pelicans vs. Warriors||Warriors -9.5|
|Time | TV||10 p.m. ET | ESPN|
Allow me to nerd out for a minute.
There aren’t five current basketball players I love watching more than Draymond Green. I’ve never seen anyone defend quite like him. His intelligence and feel for the game are off the charts, and he’s disruptive in so many obvious and more subtle ways.
Rather than ball watching during the next Warriors game, just keep your eyes focused on Draymond when he’s on defense. He flies all over the place, defending multiple players on the same possession and properly defending the space in between them, constantly moving, constantly thinking and processing.
It’s an absolute crying shame that Green has just one Defensive Player of the Year Award. He would’ve been my choice last year, he’s my pick this year leading the current No. 1 defense in the NBA, and I think he’s a surefire Hall of Famer and should have been on the NBA 75 team.
And that might sound crazy to you!
That’s because defense is impossibly hard to quantify. We have so many great ways to quantify NBA offense these days. There’s a new all-in-one metric every month, and we have all sorts of fancy advanced numbers. But we have precious few ways to measure defense and, far too often, fall back on the two numbers we do have: blocks and steals.
And by just his stock numbers (steals and blocks), Green is more good than great. He’s like Dennis Rodman in that way. If you’re looking for a stat to prove his greatness, you’ll never find it.
And that brings us to today’s bet. As awesome as Green is, and as well as he and the Warriors defense are playing, we’re fading his stock numbers tonight. So far this season, here are Draymond’s stock numbers by game: one, one, zerio, four, eight, one, one. He’s averaging 2.3 stocks per game, just below this line, but he’s gone under in five of the seven games.
That fits the trends we’ve seen over the past two seasons too. Last year, Green had under 2.5 stocks in 37 of 63 games (59%); the year before, he was under in 28 of 43 (65%). There are games where he absolutely piles up steals and blocks and inflates his overall numbers, but mostly his impact has to be seen by the eye and in the wins column, not in the box score.
Besides, there’s another easy way for Green to go under here — just by not playing much tonight against a terrible Pelicans team that may get blown out.
The math is in our favor here. Green has gone under this line 62% of the time over these past three seasons combined. You never know when he’ll have one of those 8-stock games, but hopefully tonight is another of those games you have to see to truly appreciate.
Myles Turner, over 2.5 blocks (+115)
|Pacers vs. Trail Blazers||Pacers +4.5|
|Time | TV||10 p.m. ET | League Pass|
Myles Turner is another Defensive Player of the Year candidate, but unlike Draymond Green, he’s a bit flashier with one of those counting stats: blocks.
Turner led the league in blocks last year with 3.4 BPG, a career-high for him. He also led the NBA in blocks in 2018-19. Protecting the rim is Myles Turner’s specialty. This is specifically what he’s out there to do. Sure he can shoot an occasional 3 and do a few things in the post, and he has his moments defending in space, but Turner makes his money in the paint protecting the rim.
There was a hiccup for Turner earlier this season where he fell a bit out of the rotation, with two games at just 14 and 16 minutes. That appears to be in the rear-view mirror now, and Turner is back to playing his usual minutes and should do that again tonight against a Portland team with plenty of size.
Turner is averaging 2.9 BPG this season — still excellent! — but exclude those two low-minute games and he’s at 3.3 BPG in the other contests, basically the same as last year. He’s over 2.5 blocks in six of those games too. And last year, Turner went over 2.5 blocks in 31 of 47 games, almost two of every three. Even counting those outlier games this year, he’s over in six of nine games — hey, that’s two of three too!
Turner’s hitting this blocks over at a rate that would normally be around -200, but we’re getting plus juice instead. Portland does tend to get their shots blocked a little less often than most, but not enough to scare me away. Turner has at least two blocks every game but that 14-minute one this season, so we’ll have a nice shot here. I’ll play to -125.
LaMelo Ball, over 5.5 assists (-145)
|Hornets vs. Kings||Hornets +2|
|Time | TV||10 p.m. ET | League Pass|
Alright, fine, let’s play one more traditional prop today — there’s no need to be so defensive!
Books continue to underrate LaMelo Ball’s passing. We’ve played Ball’s assists over previously and we’re going back to the well because the line hasn’t adjusted enough yet. The juice is a bit steeper but this really ought to be an assist higher so it’s still worth a play.
If you don’t know about LaMelo’s passing by now, you must just not be watching basketball. Ball is already one of the league’s 10 best passers, and 10 is almost certainly too high. He sees and invents passes that almost no one else in the world can even imagine, often surprising even his own teammates, though they are getting more used to his abilities by now.
Ball is averaging 6.3 assists per game this season, right about in line with the 6.1 APG he averaged as a rookie. He’s gone over this line in seven of nine games so far this season, and he missed by half an assist in another. The only time he fell well short was his worst game of the season, in which he played only 24 minutes on an off night.
And lest you be worried about the return of Terry Rozier to the lineup, it looks like Rozier’s presence actually helps Ball’s numbers. LaMelo averaged 5.0 APG in games without Rozier, but he’s at 6.8 APG with him, and that was consistent with last year’s performance too.
Ball is consistently going over this number, and he’s also playing in what looks like the highest scoring game on the slate tonight. Charlotte and Sacramento both love to get out and run, so this should be fast-paced. The books think so too with a total set at 231 while most other totals tonight are in the 210s. That means even more scoring and assist opportunities.
I’ll drink the juice on LaMelo and play as high as -170.