NBA Player Prop Bets: 3 Picks for Thursday Night, Including Kevin Huerter and Dejounte Murray (April 1)
Logan Riely/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Dejounte Murray
- A limited slate is no reason to not find value in the player props market in the NBA.
- Brandon Anderson breaks down three props he likes on Thursday night.
The Atlanta Hawks and San Antonio Spurs meet tonight in a matchup of teams on the right side of the playoff picture, at least for now. Both teams are fighting to stay on the right side of the bubble, and we’re playing one guard prop from each side tonight.
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
Darius Garland, under 18.5 points (-113)
|76ers at Cavaliers||+10|
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
Sigh. Why must I continue to lose money on Darius Garland?
Garland has crushed me all season. For weeks, I watch Garland put up big numbers. For weeks, he racks up points and assists and looks like a true breakout sophomore, rocking the overs. Then, finally, I play a Garland over and he absolutely tanks. If it’s assists, he decides to shoot 20 times that night, or if it’s points he misses 80% of his shots or sleepwalks through the game.
We have a segment on our Action Network NBA Buffet podcast called Thanks For Nothing, and Darius Garland was my very first one. It’s like he’s reading my columns and actively tanking my picks at this point.
Well, the heavens have parted and finally given us a good opportunity to do something with Garland we haven’t tried all year: bet the under.
The Philadelphia 76ers are really good. And the Sixers defense remains extremely good, even without Joel Embiid. Philly’s defense has ranked near the top of the league in defense even without its stud big man because of Ben Simmons and other great, long Sixers defenders who shut things down at the rim.
I think that defense makes life difficult on Garland and the Cavs tonight, and this is a pretty high number for Darius anyway. He’s gone under 18.5 points in 26 of 38 games, and three of those overs were that first week of the season before an injury slowed him way down. Since returning from that, Garland is under 18.5 points in 23 of 32 games, hitting this under 72% of the time. He’s averaging 16.5 PPG during that stretch, and we put him at 15.5 points in what should be a slow, defensive battle.
When Garland does go over, it’s typically been because of an outlier. The overs include his four best shooting games of the season, the only ones with at least four made 3-pointers, along with his four best free throw games, the only ones with five makes. Avoid either one of those outliers tonight and our under is a wrap.
Now, please — just no one tell Garland we’re betting on him again tonight. I’ll play the under to -135.
Kevin Huerter, under 11.5 points (-111)
|Hawks at Spurs||Pick’em|
|Time||8:30 p.m. ET|
The Atlanta Hawks are finally playing well.
After making the switch to Nate McMillan at head coach, the Hawks reeled off eight straight wins and have won nine of their past 13 games. And while it’s easy to point to the coaching switch, the truth is that the team has finally gotten mostly healthy during this stretch. Bogdan Bogdanovic is finally back. Danilo Gallinari has returned and is playing well. Clint Capela is healthy again.
The Hawks are playing well because they finally look like the team they were built to be. And we’re starting to see that that version of the team does not involve a ton of Kevin Huerter, who was putting up nice numbers while the Hawks were shorthanded. From mid-January until the All-Star break, Huerter was logging over 34 minutes and putting up 12.3 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 3.9 assists per game.
Now that the Hawks are mostly whole again, Huerter’s playing time has fallen off hard. He’s at only 27.4 MPG over the past 10 Atlanta games, and his production has fallen too. Huerter is averaging just 9.1 points per game during this stretch, and he’s gone under 11.5 points in seven of the 10 games.
Huerter is going to get his threes up, and if he hits a trio of them like he has twice during this stretch, we probably lose. But we’ll bet on reduced playing time and a line that’s too high. We project Huerter at 9.9 points, so I’ll play this under to -130.
Dejounte Murray, over 6.5 rebounds (-102)
|Hawks at Spurs||Pick’em|
|Time | TV||8:30 p.m. ET|
We’ll stay in that game for our third pick and grab a guy on the other side. A Spurs and Hawks game should feature a nice tempo and playing of shots and scoring. As always, tempo and shots mean rebounds, and that’s our angle on Dejounte Murray.
With Murray, rebounds are usually the angle to play. Murray is long and athletic and an outstanding positional rebounder. And he’s a nightmare defender too, so Trae Young should have his hands full tonight. Murray is actually second on the Spurs in rebounds at 7.0 boards per game, and he has a very high rebounding floor.
Murray has at least six rebounds in 33 of his 44 games this season. That’s a remarkably high floor for a guard, with at least six boards 75% of the time, and it means that a typical game puts us only one rebound away from our over. The problem is that Murray has exactly six boards in 14 games already this year, and that’s not going to cut it when the line is 6.5, of course.
We need that extra board, but that’s where we bank on pace of play against a healthy Atlanta team that loves to get shots up. It’s also a bet on positive variance in our favor. Six boards doesn’t cut it, but Murray has nine games with double-digit boards and five with at least 11. That’s why his per game average is so high, and it tells us that seven or eight boards is the most likely outcome any given Murray game.
That’s right where we project Dejounte tonight, at 7.9 rebounds, and we’re getting near even money. I’ll play to -120.