Friday NBA Player Prop Bets, Picks: How to Bet Karl-Anthony Towns, Russell Westbrook, More
Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Russell Westbrook.
- Keita Bates-Diop. Karl-Anthony Towns. Russell Westbrook.
- Brandon Anderson lays out his three best player props on Friday's NBA schedule.
- Check out below why he's landed on this trio on another busy card.
Normally we don’t get to play too many superstar prop lines in this space.
Stars are more visible, after all, and that typically means sharper lines and harder to find edges. That’s why we often play guys like Keita Bates-Diop, one of the names we’re playing tonight. But we’re also riding with Karl-Anthony Towns and Russell Westbrook, so let’s dig into how we can find an edge on those two stars.
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
Keita Bates-Diop, over 5.5 rebounds (+100)
|Spurs vs. 76ers||Spurs -7.5|
|Time | TV||7 p.m. ET | League Pass|
The Spurs are one of those supremely shorthanded teams tonight.
Keldon Johnson and Derrick White are the two biggest names missing, but it looks like Devin Vassell, Thad Young, Lonnie Walker, and Doug McDermott are out for San Antonio too. That leaves precious few forwards in the Spurs rotation, and that means Keita Bates-Diop should get big minutes tonight.
We project KBD at 27 minutes tonight, and that’s even with Walker projected for 30. Walker is a question mark so if he’s out too, that could leave a few more for Bates-Diop. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see him hit 30.
Rebounds are a volume game, and guys who play 25 or 30 minutes are going to get a bunch of rebounding opportunities. Bates-Diop has played 20 or more minutes in seven games so far this season. He’s gone over 5.5 boards in six of those seven, averaging 7.3 rebounds, and that’s about right where we project him, at 7.2 tonight.
I think I’ll stay away from any aggressive alternate overs here with so much unknown for San Antonio, but I feel good about young KBD getting six boards. This line is a steal at even odds. I’d play all the way to -140 if needed.
Karl-Anthony Towns, over 2.5 assists (-165), over 3.5 assists (+138)
|Timberwolves vs. Thunder||Timberwolves -6|
|Time | TV||8 p.m. ET | League Pass|
Karl-Anthony Towns has always been a very good passer for a big man, and it was only a matter of time before Chris Finch really started to unlock his passing abilities. This has been a staple for Finch big men in the past, and Towns is starting to put up some real numbers.
Over the past 15 Wolves games, Towns is averaging 4.6 assists per game. He’s not exactly Nikola Jokic out there, but combine that with about 25 points and 10 boards a game and you have a serious All-NBA contender and a major difference maker. Towns is up to 7.3 potential assists per game during that stretch too, an uptick from the rest of the season.
Towns played only nine games of that stretch, but he’s had at least three dimes in all but one of those games. That makes this lower line quite attainable, but it also means we might want to set our sights a bit higher. KAT had only three assists last game in his return from two weeks away, but he had tallied at least four dimes in five straight games before that, and in seven of the previous eight.
It feels like -165 is steep juice on a bet, but that implies a 62% hit rate for Towns to get at least three assists, and he’s done that in 89% of his appearances over these last 15 games. He’s had at least four in 78% of them, and we’re getting +138 on that bet, just 42% implied. Heck, if you want to keep going, Towns is +560 to get at least six dimes. That implies only 15% likely but he’s done it in three of the last nine games, more than double that rate.
I won’t go that far, but I’ll play both the 2.5 and the 3.5 assists and hope the Minnesota big man keeps rolling.
Russell Westbrook, under 8.5 assists (+104)
|Hawks vs. Lakers||Lakers -3|
|Time | TV||10 p.m. ET | ESPN|
Much was made about Russell Westbrook his last game out, when he played 33 minutes without recording a turnover. It broke an NBA record streak of 407 straight games with a turnover for Westbrook, and Russ was roundly celebrated around the league for ending the streak. The next highest streak in history is just 239 games from James Harden, barely half as long.
March 14, 2016, was the last time Russ played a game without a turnover. He had 16 points and 17 assists in that game and also sat out late in an easy 34-point win over Portland. And here’s the part of the stat you didn’t hear: that no-turnover game actually broke a streak of 179 consecutive Westbrook games with at least one turnover. At the time, that was the second longest streak in NBA history, behind only Karl Malone.
Yes, that means that if Westbrook had had to play out that Portland fourth quarter and recorded a turnover somewhere down the line, he would’ve had a streak of 586 games with at least one turnover, dating all the way back to November 2013.
Either way, the streak is over now. But what does it tell us?
Well, we can’t bet on Westbrook to record at least one turnover tonight. But we can notice what it tells us about how his game is changing for the Lakers. As a few around the NBA pointed out, the no-turnover game last time out was actually a backhanded compliment to Westbrook. It showed how little Russ had the ball in his hands and how much he’s being minimized right now.
Per NBA Advanced Stats, Westbrook had only five potential assists last game, his lowest total of the season. He had only nine potential assists the game before. He’s been trending down in that stat for awhile now, but these two games are a very sharp decline from 15.5 potential assists per game the rest of the season before that.
Over the last 10 games, Westbrook is averaging 7.2 assists per game, and he’s at just 3.5 over his last two games. After all, it’s hard to hit nine dimes when you only have five potential assists all game.
This is a spot where I actually wish there were alternate unders available. Alas, we’ll have to settle for plus odds on Westbrook getting eight or fewer. Russ has done that in 21 of 39 games this season, already a 54% hit rate in our favor even before this new downswing.
We’re projecting Westbrook at 7.3 assists, but I think that’s being kind. I’ll play the under 8.5 at any plus number or down to -125.
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