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NBA Player Prop Bets, Picks: Play This Rebounding Total for Alex Len (May 14)

NBA Player Prop Bets, Picks: Play This Rebounding Total for Alex Len (May 14) article feature image

Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Alex Len #27 of the Washington Wizards.

  • We're at the point in the NBA season where things are getting weird, as few people know who will start or finish a game.
  • That makes prop bets even more difficult, but Brandon Anderson still found three he likes.
  • Check out each pick with a full betting breakdown for two different games below.

Editor’s Note:Kevin Love has been ruled out for injury management.

Folks, it’s messy out there today. Be careful.

We’ve reached the final weekend of a messy, confusing, rushed regular season in a pandemic, and we are at peak WTF-is-happening mode. Every team has different motivations at this point, and lineups, minutes, and lines are in serious question. You never know who will start — or who will finish — games.

If you do choose to bet this weekend’s games, bet carefully, and make sure you factor motivations in before you make your pick. I’ve carefully chosen three picks for tonight, but don’t go crazy on these. It’s a landmine out there.

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

Kevin Love, Over 8.5 Rebounds (+135)

Cavaliers vs. WizardsWizards -8
Time | TV7 p.m. ET | NBA League Pass
Best BookPointsBet

The Cavs won their last game but lost their previous 11. Cleveland is bad enough that the Cavs don’t even really have to actively try to tank.

Luckily for Kevin Love, he’s not really good enough at this point in his career to be a risk to the tank. Love has played 21 games down this stretch since returning from injury on April 1. He started all 21 and averaged 26.9 minutes per game, and those minutes haven’t really fluctuated — the Cavs have already been “tanking,” per se, the entire time.

Love has averaged 13.4 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 2.8 assists in those 21 games. That certainly doesn’t look like much, but it’s worth noting that the numbers would project to something closer to 17 points, 10 rebounds, and 3.5 assists in a more normal minutes load — still nice numbers for a player Love’s age.

Love has always been an outstanding rebounder. His rebounding numbers have fluctuated in different roles throughout his career, and his offensive rebounding, in particular, has been minimized as he moved into a stretch-four role. Even so, he’s gone over 8.5 boards in 10 of these 21 games, hitting the over almost half the time at 48% hit rate.

He’s been even better lately, with five overs in the last seven games and a 10.0 RPG during that stretch, plus a sixth game in which he was only one board from an over. Jarrett Allen’s rebounding numbers have fallen lately as Love’s have risen, and perhaps Cleveland is trying to showcase its veteran a bit before hoping for an offseason trade.

I’m willing to bet on Love’s natural rebounding ability, especially with such positive odds.

This is available at 7.5 at BetMGM but with -145 juice, and that doesn’t interest me. If Love plays enough to get 7.5, he’ll have a good shot at going over 8.5 too, and I want the big payday. I’ll play at +135 and down to +110 if needed.

Alex Len, Under 4.5 Rebounds (+110)

Cavaliers vs. WizardsWizards -8
Time | TV7 p.m. ET | NBA League Pass
Best BookPointsBet

The Wizards are certainly still trying to win games, and this is a winnable one against the Cavs. Washington still hasn’t quite guaranteed its place in the play-in tournament, and the Wizards are still hoping to improve their seed and position as well.

Washington has been very good down the stretch, in part because the Wizards have really improved their defense. They’ve gone to a three-man center rotation of Alex Len, Robin Lopez, and Daniel Gafford, and somehow, it works.

Len starts and typically plays around 15-to-17 minutes. Gafford brings energy off the bench for 14-to-16 minutes himself. RoLo is the veteran and gets the other 14-to-16 minutes, though he sometimes fluctuates down.

Naturally, that makes for minimal numbers for all three players. Len is averaging 7.4 points and 4.9 rebounds a game over the last 20 games. He’s doing that in 15.5 minutes, so they’re honestly pretty solid numbers, just not long enough for anyone to notice much.

That rebounding average is also boosted by five games with nine or more boards. Those five games account for 49 of his 98 rebounds in this stretch — exactly half of them — meaning he grabbed just 49 boards in the other 15 games, a 3.3 RPG average.

If you look at the minutes, four of those five outlier high-rebound games have also come from his five highest minute totals during this stretch. And four of those five higher-minute games came when either Lopez or Gafford was out or limited.

Since all three bigs are expected to play, that should leave Len in his more limited minutes role and that reduced RPG. We project him at 4.0 boards tonight, so I’ll hope we avoid one of the outlier highs and grab the +110.

Look, it’s messy out there today. If I’m going to risk a few plays, I may as well make the winning worth my while. I’ll play to -110.

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Tim Hardaway Jr., Under 3.5 3s (-110)

Mavericks vs. RaptorsMavericks -13.5
Time | TV9 p.m. ET | NBA League Pass
Best BookBetMGM

OK, enough mental gymnastics. Let’s close with a more normal pick.

Tim Hardaway Jr. is out there to shoot, and he’s doing plenty of it. Hardaway is averaging 3.0 made 3-pointers per game, and that’s right in line with the 2.9 treys he made per game last season. He’s taking around 7.5 attempts per game beyond the arc and shooting a touch under 40% these last two seasons.

Even for a relative volume shooter, four 3s is a big ask, and that’s what Hardaway would need to hit this over. He’s done that 18 times this season and did hit 10 treys in a game just a week ago, but that also means THJ has gone under 3.5 made 3s in a whopping 50-of-68 games this season. That hits our under 73.5% of the time, almost three out of every four games.

The danger here is that Hardaway’s volume has been up lately.

Over his last 10 games, he’s up to 9.4 attempts per game, and he’s making 4.3 per game over that stretch. That includes that 10-makes outlier, though, along with outlier 45.7% shooting. Even at 9.4 attempts, Hardaway would still average only 3.7 makes per game at his usual shooting rate.

That’s close enough to lean on the overall numbers and trends, especially because Hardaway may not get quite that volume up tonight, especially if the Mavs blow out a Raptors team that’s already packed it in for the summer.

Even with Hardaway’s volume up this last 10 games, he’s still gone under 3.5 makes in 6-of-10 games.

We project Hardaway at 2.8 makes tonight, and it’s probably going to be a sweat. Let’s hope he doesn’t get hot and play this under to -130.

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