NBA Player Prop Bets, Picks: Eric Bledsoe Doesn’t Fit in New Orleans (Saturday, Jan. 2)
Scott Audette/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Eric Bledsoe
- Our NBA props tool is still lighting up on a short slate, pointing to Eric Bledsoe, Darius Garland and Clint Capela as values.
- Bledsoe, in particular, just doesn't fit in the New Orleans offense, and has been relegated to a spot-up shooter instead of a primary ball-handler.
- Get all our favorite props using the new Action Labs prop tool.
It’s a light slate tonight with only six games, and on a day loaded with college hoops and football, you’re forgiven if you’re not exactly building your schedule around NBA action. But that doesn’t mean we can’t keep building our back roll through props either way. Your wallet doesn’t care how it makes money.
We went 3-1 yesterday to increase our output to a sparkling 20-11-1 on the season. Two of those three wins were at plus odds too, and our two “PG” props both hit by halftime. If the numbers are in our favor, sometimes they’re really in our favor.
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
Eric Bledsoe under 4.5 assists (+125)
|Raptors at Pelicans||+1.5|
|Time||7:30 p.m. ET|
Never be afraid to go back often to a prop if you like the trend and the books haven’t adjusted yet. I’m fading Eric Bledsoe until further notice.
He just doesn’t seem like a great fit with the Pelicans. Bledsoe is a scorer who needs the ball in his hands, but the Pels want Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, and Zion Williamson all to have the ball, and that has marginalized Bledsoe. Without the ball, Bledsoe is reduced to a spot-up shooter at times, and that’s just not a good role for him.
Bledsoe played 33 and 34 minutes his first two games in New Orleans but dropped to 28 in the third game and then 25 or fewer his last two times out. His production has dropped along with his time. Bledsoe has only three assists total his last three games. We played under 4.5 assists his last time out and Bledsoe had only one assist, and that was even with Ingram getting ejected and missing a chunk of the game.
This game against the Raptors will be a rock fight, with both teams tough on defense but struggling on offense right now. This line makes no sense to me, the way Bledsoe is being marginalized. I would’ve considered playing an under 3.5 even with some juice. At 4.5 instead and with +EV, this is a no brainer.
Our props tool rates this a 10 out of 10, only because it can’t rate it any higher. Hammer this while it sits at 4.5 with plus odds.
Darius Garland over 5.5 assists (-135), over 15.5 points (-122)
|Cavs at Hawks||+6|
|Time||7:30 p.m. ET|
Darius Garland struggled mightily through a difficult rookie season, but he has looked fantastic these first couple weeks and looks like a true sophomore breakout. Garland averaged only 12.3 points and 3.9 assists last year with miserable shooting and advanced metrics, and some were calling him a bust.
But Garland was a rookie on a terrible team that fired its new coach and also had missed almost the entire previous season in college with an injury, so this was a kid jumping practically straight from high school while also rehabbing back to full health.
Garland sure looks healthy now. He’s up to 19.0 points and 7.2 assists a game for Cleveland through five games, looking confident and hitting 3.0 threes a game at 51.7% from beyond the arc. Garland looks like a star, a real franchise player for the Cavs to build around, and the books either haven’t adjusted or are still doubting. I believe.
Garland has gone over this assist total in four of five games, and he only missed it by 0.5 assists in the other one. He’s gone over the points total in four of five too, missing the one point total by 1.5 points. Garland is one bucket and one dime away from a perfect 10-0 on these overs this year.
I like both of these props but prefer the points, if you only want to play one of them. We’re projecting Garland at 19.8 points and 6.9 assists, and he’s also played at least 37 minutes in three of the last four games, so that gives him a ton of time on the court to rack up stats for us.
I like the points better because Garland is shooting so well and firing up so many from the 3-point line, with at least a trio of threes in all but one game.
I’d play the points to -140 and will also add the assists to -145. This game against the Hawks should be high scoring and fast, so let’s see if Garland can give us a showdown with Trae Young.
Clint Capela over 9.5 rebounds (-110)
|Cavs at Hawks||-6|
|Time||7:30 p.m. ET|
Clint Capela finally suited up for the Atlanta Hawks for the first time on Dec. 28 and has made an immediate impact for this team on the rise.
Capela played only 20 minutes in his debut but recorded nine rebounds. He played 20 minutes again the following game but increased his output to 12 boards. Then yesterday, Capela played a full 30-minute load and had 11 more rebounds while also adding a shocking six assists to his box score line.
Capela is still nursing a sore Achilles, and it would seem reasonable to expect Atlanta to be cautious with him here on the second night of a back-to-back, so it’s not necessarily fair to think Capela will hit 30 minutes again. Still, he’s averaging a rebound every 2.2 minutes right now for the Hawks and has nearly hit this over in all three games, even despite playing just 20 minutes in two of them.
The Hawks are running and gunning, so there will always be a ton of rebounding opportunities for Capela. And, unlike his time in Houston, there aren’t a pair of superstars here trying to gobble up all of the rebounds. Capela had to be content to leave boards at times for James Harden or Russell Westbrook, but he’s been a terrific rebounder anyway, with his RPG increasing every season in the league thus far. He had a career best 13.8 RPG in Houston last year.
As long as Capela plays and isn’t announced as another 20-minute limit before the game, I like this over a lot. His Atlanta rebounding rate so far is yet another career best, and he’ll have a decent chance of hitting this over even with a low minutes total. If Atlanta does have the confidence to let Capela play this one, it makes sense to expect a relatively normal workload. And if he doesn’t suit up, we get our money back anyway.
Our Props tool rates this a 10 out of 10 and also rates Capela’s over 9.5 points just as highly. I prefer to play just the rebounding here since I know the guy will board up if he’s out there. I’ll play to -125.