NBA Player Prop Bets: Our 3 Favorite Picks for Monday’s Slate, Including Kelly Oubre Blocks (Feb. 8)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images. Pictured: Kelly Oubre
The NFL season is over, so it’s officially all NBA all the time here at Action Network. At least in my eyes.
I’m a little tired out after all those (winning) Super Bowl prop bets, so let’s have a little fun and bet on Boogie Cousins and Kelly Oubre Jr. tonight.
What’s the point of sports wagering if you can’t have a little fun sometimes? All the better when our tools tell us these are among the best plays on the board today.
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. Monday, there are nine NBA props graded as a 10 as of 1 p.m. ET.
NBA Player Props & Picks
DeMarcus Cousins over 11.5 rebounds (-110)
|Rockets at Hornets||-3|
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
I gotta be honest. I really didn’t think we’d see DeMarcus Cousins play basketball again after those repeated injuries. Cousins has barely seen the court the last two seasons, and big men in particular do not tend to last historically when they rack up leg injuries.
But Boogie is back, and now that Christian Wood is sidelined for the foreseeable future, he will be featuring for these Houston Rockets.
Cousins has started five games for the Rockets this season. He’s averaging 14.6 points and 13.6 rebounds in those starts, and he’s doing that in just under 30 minutes per game. The scoring hasn’t always been consistent or efficient, and that’s probably a remnant of the athleticism lost with those repeated injuries, but the rebounding has been terrific, as it always has been with Boogie.
Cousins has at least 11 rebounds in all five starts this season. He’s averaging one rebound every 2.6 minutes in Houston, pretty close to his 2.9 career average. The rebounds have not fallen off, and now that Wood is out, Cousins should get a lot of minutes when he can handle them.
We’re projecting Boogie at 30.3 minutes tonight, along with 15.9 points and 13.4 rebounds. He should not have much problem racking up rebounds against Cody Zeller and the Hornets. I always love an opportunity to celebrate Boogie, and I’ll play this over as high as -150.
Josh Richardson over 12.5 points (-110)
|T’Wolves at Mavericks||-9.5|
|Time||8:30 p.m. ET|
The Dallas Mavericks are grinding right now. The Mavs have not found the offense that dominated the league a year ago. Their shots are not falling this season, and while that’s partly because they’ve lost guys like Seth Curry, it’s also because some of their most reliable players missed almost all of January.
Josh Richardson is one of those guys, and he’s finally back and looks like he’s starting to get into a groove. Richardson averaged 13.8 PPG his first eight games with the Mavericks, with double-digit points in all but one game. But then he missed the next three weeks and was slow to get things going again in the few games after he returned.
Over his last four games, Richardson’s minutes have ramped up and his production has returned. He’s scoring 15.3 PPG over the last four, and you can see the uptick in the numbers. Richardson is shooting a bunch of threes again like he was early in the season, usually around seven a game, and he’s starting to get to the line more often, too. It looks like he’s starting to become a reliable third scorer for Dallas, something these Mavericks sorely need.
The Timberwolves certainly won’t do much to slow Richardson or anyone else in Dallas down. He should have an opportunity to put up another nice line tonight as he and the Mavs slowly build some confidence in this offense. We’re projecting Richardson at 15.1 points, so I’ll play the over here up to -140.
Kelly Oubre over 0.5 blocks (-115)
|Warriors at Spurs||+1.5|
|Time||8:30 p.m. ET|
Did you know that our Props Tool now grades blocks and steals for you each day too? I’ve been looking for an opportunity to showcase that part of the tool, and this seems like as good an opportunity as any.
Blocks and steals are really hard to predict. Most players get zero each game, so an under is typically the best bet in most scenarios, but it’s also going to have pretty short odds most of the time. Books go nuts with these lines. They’re not afraid to list a player at -500 if they feel strongly, or at +800 or above if they think there’s a real long shot. I won’t be playing those too often unless the odds look really skewed.
This one is at -115, which means it’s closer to a coin flip, and fresh off the Super Bowl where the opening coin flip is just about always one of the most popular bets, let’s have a little fun and give this part of the tool a ride.
The over line here is 0.5 blocks at -115. That means the books are implying Oubre needs to get at least one block 53.5% of the time for this bet to play in our favor.
Oubre has played 23 games with the Warriors, starting all of them. He has at least one block in 15 of those games, hitting an over 65.2% of the time. Hey, not bad! But that’s also a small sample size. Last season, Oubre had at least one block in 28 of 56 games, exactly 50%. The year before, he had a block in 41 of 69 games, hitting the over 59.4% of the time.
Add it all up and we’re at 63.5% of Oubre’s games the last three seasons with at least one block. And now that we’ve gone so far back, we’re also starting to include Oubre games with the Wizards, when he was coming off the bench in limited minutes before being jettisoned in a trade.
Oubre is uber-athletic, and while he can go ice cold as a shooter, he loves to throw down an insane dunk or block a guy into the non-existent crowd. His role with the Warriors is clear: run hard, play hard, and defend. It’s no coincidence that his blocks are up a bit this year, and he should get plenty of minutes tonight with the Warriors quite shorthanded. They’re playing small right now too, which puts more onus on the rest of the team to play big, and the Spurs are also a small team and rank top five in the NBA in shots blocked.
These are all razor-thin margins, and we’re literally talking about the difference between zero and one block. It certainly feels riskier than playing a points line like Richardson’s, where our projections put him nearly three full points clear. But that’s just one play too — if a 3-pointer doesn’t fall for example — so let’s give our Props Tool a chance and try for an Oubre block.
Given what we’ve learned about Oubre, I would probably have set this line at over 0.5 blocks for -175. We’re getting a much better price at BetMGM.