NBA Player Prop Bets, Picks: 3 Picks for Saturday Night, Including Jimmy Butler & Michael Porter Jr. (April 24)
Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Michael Porter Jr. #1 of the Denver Nuggets.
- Prop lines at 1.5 can be the worst to watch, as just one small moment can make the bet a complete success or failure.
- Brandon Anderson is bringing the sweats tonight, as he's targeting three different player props with the low line.
- See which bets he's making as he sweats out Saturday's NBA action.
It can certainly be tough to play prop lines at 1.5. At only 1.5, the line is so low that there’s so much variance. An under could be a goose egg for 47 minutes and still go over in the final minute, while an over can feel so close yet so far away, waiting out that last steal or block all game long in agonizing fashion.
Still, there’s value on 1.5-line props too, just like any other line, if you find the right plays. All three of our props today are at 1.5, with two overs and one under. They’re not for the faint of heart.
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
Steven Adams, over 1.5 assists (-115)
|Spurs vs. Pelicans||Pelicans -3|
|Time | TV||8 p.m. ET | League Pass|
Steven Adams is a nifty passer. He has always had nice touch as a big man, and his assist numbers have gone up over the past three seasons as he gets comfortable in a more clearly-defined offensive role, one where he gets more touches.
Adams has averaged at least 1.6 assists per game in three straight seasons, two of those in a pair of very different Oklahoma City seasons and now in an even stranger context in New Orleans. He’s at 1.9 APG over these last three seasons combined, and that’s right where he’s at this year as a Pelican.
Adams has multiple assists in 29 of his 55 games this season, going over in 53% of his appearances. When he plays at least 26.5 minutes, that rate goes way up to 22 in 34 games, a 65% hit rate. Before leaving that game early Thursday, Adams had gone over in four of his last six games, and he had at least three assists in all four.
In fact, Adams has at least three assists in 18 games already this season. He’s had six with at least four and even had double-digit dimes in one game against his old Thunder mates. We only need two assists to hit the over, but those high numbers show a ceiling Adams can tap into. They show off his true passing ability.
Adams exited the game early Thursday night with an ankle injury that’s been bothering him, but he’s probable to play tonight. Be sure he’s set for regular minutes before you play this over, of course.
We project Adams at 2.3 assists tonight in 29 minutes on the court of a game the Pelicans really need to have against the Spurs as New Orleans fights for its play-in lives. They’ll need a big game from their big man, and hopefully that includes a couple dimes. I’ll play the over to -135.
Jimmy Butler, over 1.5 steals (-175)
|Bulls vs. Heat||Heat -4.5|
|Time | TV||8 p.m. ET | League Pass|
As much as the Miami Heat continue to slog through their post Finals hangover season, it certainly hasn’t been Jimmy Butler’s fault.
Butler is arguably having his greatest regular season ever. He’s averaging 21.3 points, 5.2 rebounds and 7.0 assists per game. Those latter two numbers are both career highs, and his 60% True Shooting is better than he’s ever posted.
But it’s not just the offensive side of things. Butler has been a monster on defense too, playing night in and night out at the level we’ve seen him play when he’s really focused and getting after it. We’ve seen that Jimmy in moments and on the biggest stage but rarely over a full regular season like this one.
Butler leads the entire NBA at 2.1 steals per game, yet another career high. He had seven steals in the first game of the season to set the tone and has kept up his pocket-picking habit ever since. Butler has at least three steals in 16 of his 43 games, and he’s had at least four in six games. Considering how rare steals are to come by, those are pretty great numbers.
Butler has at least one assist in all but five games this season. More importantly for our bet, he has multiple assists in 26 of his 43 games, hitting this over 60% of the time. His steals have been even higher lately, up to an impressive 2.6 APG over his last 11 outings and over 1.5 steals in all but one of those games.
All the better that he’ll play the Bulls tonight. We know Butler loves to show up with a chip on his shoulder against his old teams, and the Bulls are eminently turnover prone. Chicago turns the ball over 15.5 times a game, third highest in the league, and the absence of Zach LaVine means even more handling from worse players.
Butler should feast. We project him at 2.8 steals and that makes this worth drinking the juice. Even at -175, our Props Tool rates this a 9 out of 10. I’d play all the way to -200.
Michael Porter Jr., under 1.5 assists (-140)
|Rockets vs. Nuggets||Nuggets -13.5|
|Time | TV||10 p.m. ET | League Pass|
Michael Porter Jr. suddenly finds a pretty bright spotlight on him. A year ago, Porter was supposed to be the wildcard on this team. But with Jamal Murray sidelined, now along with Will Barton, and Gary Harris traded away, Porter has been thrust into a much bigger supporting role next to likely MVP Nikola Jokic.
Porter is averaging 21.4 points per game in 11 games without Murray this season. He’s taking a huge volume of 3-pointers these days with Murray sidelined and the team needing offense, clearly hunting his shot early and often for a Nuggets team suddenly short on weapons.
What he’s not doing, though, is passing more. Porter has only nine assists in 11 games without Murray this season. He’s had multiple assists in only two of those games, which means he’s gone under 1.5 dimes in nine of 11 Murray-less games, hitting our under 82% of the time, despite playing around 35 minutes per game in those contests.
Porter is under 1.5 assists in 35 of 49 games for the season, hitting the under 71% of the time. That’s a strong rate, and it’s a reminder that Porter’s passing rate has actually dropped, not increased, without Murray as MPJ hunts his shot more often and adapts to a new role next to Aaron Gordon. Porter also has only three games all season with more than two assists and a season-high of four, once, which shows just how low his ceiling is here. He’s been held without an assist all together in 18 games already.
The Rockets are easy pickings, but that could also mean blowout potential and fewer minutes if things do go well. Let’s hope MPJ spends his evening knocking down shots instead of creating them, like usual. We project him at just 1.0 assist and rate this play a 10 out of 10. I’ll play to -175.