Sunday NBA Player Prop Bets & Picks: Celtics’ Brown Highlights Top Plays (Jan. 24)
Mitchell Leff/Getty Images. Pictured: Boston Celtics standout Jaylen Brown.
- The sports world might be focused on the NFL playoffs Sunday, but there are some solid NBA player props worth looking at on the evening's slate.
- Daniel Titus gives three value plays, highlighted by an angle on Celtics star Jaylen Brown, below.
Sunday is here, and the NBA’s graced us with a full schedule of basketball. The seven-game slate lacks star power, but includes some intriguing matchups, especially in the Eastern Conference.
For today’s player props, we targeted players in the 7 p.m. ET and 8 p.m. ET contests to give fans the chance to watch football amid all the NBA games. We finished 2-0 last week, and we’re rolling with a three-guard ticket that features Jaylen Brown, Jrue Holiday and rookie Cole Anthony. That said, let’s dig in.
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
Jaylen Brown, Over 26.5 points (-106)
|Cavaliers at Celtics||Celtics -6.5|
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
Brown is scorching hot right now. He torched the Sixers for 42 points on Friday, tying his season high. Brown’s leaped into a bonafide All-Star this season, largely because of his improved play on both sides of the ball. It also helps he’s been shouldering much of the offensive load with All-Star sidekick Jayson Tatum out of commission with COVID-19 issues.
Brown is averaging 26.9 points per game, shooting a pristine 52.4 percent from the field through 14 games. He comes into Sunday’s tilt facing an 8-7 Cleveland Cavaliers team which put together impressive back-to-back wins against the Brooklyn Nets. This isn’t exactly the “We Believe” Cavs, but they’ve morphed into a respectable team that won’t back down.
On the other hand, the Celtics have dropped two in a row to Philly and sitin a tight race with a few playoff contending teams. It’s still early in the season, but this has the feels of a statement game playing against Cleveland. Brown’s been a beast in TD Garden, averaging 29.2 points while attempting 20-shot attempts in six home games.
He is the focal point of the Celtics offense, and while Cleveland guards against opposing shooting guards well, it will be a challenge to contain Brown, whose been on a tear over his past five games. The implied game total is 212.5, which doesn’t project as a high-scoring matchup, but we’ve seen Cleveland stay competitive despite being 6.5 point dogs. Our models have Brown scoring 28 points, so feel good about him continuing his hot shooting surge.
Cole Anthony, Over 3.5 rebounds (-135)
|Hornets at Magic||Magic -1|
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
The Orlando Magic have been decimated by injuries to their backcourt this season. Markelle Fultz went down with a season-ending ACL injury, and Michael Carter-Williams has missed his last nine games with a foot ailment. Since then, it has been Cole Anthony — the rookie from UNC — who’s now responsible for leading the Magic.
Anthony has been more active rebounding than facilitating thus far, averaging 4.5 rebounds per contest to only 3.2 assists. Interestingly enough, his rebound market has remained steady at 4.5 rebounds over the past week. The dip to 3.5 rebounds is too hard to pass up, and here’s why.
He faces a Hornets team that’s giving up 5.6 rebounds per game to opposing point guards. The Magic are one-point favorites, and according to Fansure, the rookie’s pulled down 3.5 rebounds in his last seven games as a favorite, with an average of 5.3 rebounds per game over that span.
This matchup’s implied total sits at a modest 214, but Charlotte’s team FG% has dropped to 44% in January and ranks in the bottom-10 overall.
With Anthony playing a shade under 30 minutes per game and limited depth behind him, our projections have him snaring 5.1 rebounds with a bet quality of 10 out of 10.
Jrue Holiday, Over 16.5 points (-110)
|Hawks at Bucks||Bucks -8.5|
|Time||8 p.m. ET|
The Bucks take on the Hawks in what should be one of the most entertaining games of the slate. Holiday is coming off a 22-point effort against the Lakers and with the Bucks losing two consecutive contests, this is a prime opportunity for the former All-Star to step up offensively.
Holiday, the newest acquisition of the Bucks, is in the midst of a down year in scoring. He’s averaging 16.1 points per game and attempting fewer shots than last season (12.8 FGA compared to 16.5 FGA).
He’s also not getting to the line as much as well. This is the first time since the 2014-2015 campaign where he’s attempted less than two free throws a game.
Despite less volume, he’s been more efficient this season, shooting a career-high 49.5% from the field, and is fitting in well as the new point guard on a contending team.
After all, Holiday is in his 12th season in the league and made a choice to play with more talented players for a legitimate shot at winning a title.
Back to Holiday and why his 16.5 points are understated. This game carries the highest implied total of 230.5, signaling a high-scoring affair. Trae Young is questionable, but the Hawks defense against opposing points guards is even more suspect.
According to Hashtag Basketball, Atlanta is giving up 23.9 points per game to opposing point guards. The Hawks are one of the worst teams defending the guard position, and Holiday’s track record with two days rest has been strong.
In three games after two days’ rest, Holiday averaging 19.7 points per game. He’s scored at least 21 points in three of his last four contests. Our model projects he’ll score 17.3 points tonight, and with the Bucks needing a win, Holiday has a safe floor to exceed 16.5 points against the Hawks.