NBA Player Prop Bets, Picks: 3 Players to Target, Including New York’s Julius Randle & Phoenix’s Chris Paul (January 8)
Sean Gardner/Getty Images. Pictured: Chris Paul.
- Six games line the NBA calendar on Saturday, including the Knicks as New York Welcomes online sports betting.
- Our expert has three player prop bets for the day action, featuring Cade Cunningham, Julius Randle and Chris Paul.
- See what plays Tyler Schmidt likes the best, below.
Big day for New York sports betters, so you know I had to provide at least one Knicks prop!
There are three picks in total that caught my eye for Saturday night in the NBA. Let’s start the weekend off right by increasing our bankroll.
We’ll be using the Action Labs Player Prop tool to compare our NBA projections to the props posted at a variety of sportsbooks. 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
Cade Cunningham, Under 18.5 Points (-115)
|Pistons vs. Magic||Pistons -2.5|
|Time | TV||7 p.m. ET | NBA League Pass|
Not many eyes will be on this game tonight.
Detroit (7-30) has been a little bit better than the Magic (7-32) lately, which isn’t saying much, by splitting its last four games.
Our model absolutely loves Cade Cunningham unders tonight. Taking a Cunningham prop in what should be a close game against a bad defense may be intimidating, but I am trusting the numbers. Picking which under prop to target was difficult, but I decided to go with his points.
We have Cunningham projected for 15.2 points tonight, so this prop has a large expected win percentage. Cunningham is averaging just 11.6 points over his last five games, during which he is shooting just 36.5% from the field. He has scored 19 or more points just once in his last five.
Like I mentioned above, the Magic do not have a good defense at all. They rank 25th in Defensive Rating and have allowed 111.5 points per game, which is the seventh-highest in the league. The total for this matchup is only 212.5 points, which is quite low for this slate. There is value in this sloppy game.
If this prop provides juice at 17.5 points, I would have to take it after looking at our model and seeing what Cunningham is projected for tonight. This will be an ugly game to watch, so maybe just put the bet in and watch the Knicks instead.
Julius Randle, Under 4.5 Assists (-110)
|Celtics vs. Knicks||Celtics -7|
|Time | TV||7:30 p.m. ET | NBA TV|
With so many big-time promos in New York, I knew I needed at least one Knicks player. Fans might not want to bet an under, but I believe this is the best value prop for them tonight.
After averaging a career-high 6.0 assists per game last season, Randle has taken a bit of a dip this season. He is still averaging a healthy 4.9 per game, but that number has been struggling dropping dimes lately. Randle has had five or most assists just once in his last seven games.
This matchup against the Celtics is difficult since Boston ranks eighth in Defensive Rating this season and allows only 21.6 assists per game, which ranks second to the Warriors. A big reason for that is that the Celtics play elite man-to-man defense.
Boston allows 9.2% isolation plays, which ranks fourth in the league in frequency. This feeds right into Randle’s game, as he has the third-highest isolation frequency (21.2%) in the NBA.
The Celtics are also very healthy at the moment. Per Cleaning the Glass, Boston’s lineup of Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Al Horford and Robert Williams ranks as the best five in defending the rim and eighth best in effective field goal percentage allowing only 45.7%. Randle will surely be aggressive, but I don’t think he will be looking to pass.
The Knicks are projected for a slate-low 100.5 points as 7-point road underdogs. Assists will be tough to come by for not only Randle, but for the team as a whole. Playing this many minutes is always a bit scary taking an under prop, but I am trusting the Celtics defense to make it tough on Randle tonight.
Chris Paul, Over 10.5 Assists (+110)
|Suns vs. Heat||Suns -8.5|
|Time | TV||9 p.m. ET | NBA League Pass|
We will finish off this Saturday with a juice prop. Unlike Randle, I think Chris Paul gets his over assists prop even though the line is set at 10.5 tonight.
The Suns have the best record in the league at 30-8, while the Heat are finally starting to get healthy and win games again.
Paul continues to lead the league with 10.1 assists per game. Paul has averaged 13.7 assists in his last three games and gets a boost in the form of Deandre Ayton returning from health and safety protocols.
The Heat rank 10th in Defensive Rating this season, which isn’t too bad. Even though getting Jimmy Butler back helps Miami defense, I hope he can suit up tonight to make sure this game doesn’t get too out of hand to help Paul’s minutes stay up. Granted, when the Suns won 133-99 against the Hornets, Paul still finished with 16 assists.
The veteran point guard has taken a backseat in terms of scoring and obviously is the lead facilitator for this Suns team. He hasn’t averaged this many assists in a season since 2014-15, when he was part of the “Lob City” Clippers teams.
Paul is averaging a career-low 14.1 points and 11.1 field goal attempts per game. He just keeps dropping dimes.
If this prop drops below double digits, I would feel more comfortable with it, but I do enjoy the juice. This will provide more value if you add it to a parlay. The Suns should roll tonight, and Paul will be the main facilitator once again.
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