NBA Player Prop Bets & Picks: Don’t Expect Kristaps Porzingis to Force Turnovers (Wednesday, Feb. 10)
Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Kristaps Porzingis.
- Betting on steals and blocks can turn a profit just like any other prop bet.
- The Action Network app now tracks steals and blocks, and Brandon Anderson is taking advantage by playing a Kristaps Porzingis steals prop.
- Check out three of Anderson's prop bets for Wednesday's slate below.
Fun fact: you can bet on steals and blocks at most sportsbooks. We’ve been playing blocks the last couple of days, and today we’ll play our first steals prop.
We just added steals and blocks in our Props Tool and on the Action app for tracking, too, so it’s all signs go on these two defensive stats.
Don’t be thrown off by the low numbers and assume there’s no money to be made here. Books often offer very enticing juice on these numbers, and all it takes sometimes is one steal or block. Winning money is still green, no matter where we find it.
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
Will Barton, Over 2.5 Assists (-164, FanDuel)
|Cavaliers at Nuggets||Nuggets -9.5|
|Time||9 p.m. ET|
If you’ve played fantasy basketball over the past few years, you know that Will Barton occasionally has stretches where he just fills up the box score and carries both your team and the Nuggets. It looks like this is one of those stretches.
Barton has been starting for a while now, but his minutes have ramped up over the past four games with Denver so shorthanded right now. During that stretch, he’s averaging 37.3 minutes a game and putting up 15.5 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 4.8 assists a game.
Barton has always been a nifty passing forward when he has the opportunity — he just usually does it in more limited minutes and off the bench.
As our Matt Moore pointed out on today’s Wednesday NBA Buffet podcast here at The Action Network, Barton has really been feeding Michael Porter Jr. lately, trying to get him going. That’s paying off, and Barton’s assist numbers are blossoming even with Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray next to him in the starting lineup.
Over the past five seasons, Barton consistently averages one assist every 8.5 minutes, and I think this line is a full assist or two too low.
Some of the books agree, setting this line at 3.5 instead of 2.5, and honestly, I think that may be worth considering at plus juice. But don’t be thrown off by the -164 here at FanDuel.
Using our EV calculator on the Action app, we only need to hit this prop 62% of the time to find a profit at -164, and I absolutely think Barton gets to three assists two-thirds of the time or better right now.
I’ll grab the 2.5 over up to -180, but our Props Tool rates the 3.5 over with plus juice almost as highly, and both are 10-rated props tonight.
Jonas Valanciunas, Under 13.5 Rebounds (-125, DraftKings)
|Hornets at Grizzlies||Grizzlies -4|
|Time||8 p.m. ET|
Jonas Valanciunas is an awesome rebounder.
I’ve never been much of a Valanciunas fan, and if I had my druthers, I’d be much more excited about this Memphis team if it got everyone healthy and turned over the big man rotation to Jaren Jackson, Xavier Tillman, and Brandon Clarke and sent Valanciunas off to another team.
Valanciunas is great at what he does. It’s just that what he does best feels like it’s a relic from another era of basketball, and that’s an era where Ja Morant’s explosiveness and pace-and-space offense didn’t exist.
But in the meantime, Valanciunas is back after a couple of weeks away, and if he’s out there, he’s going to score some post points and rack up rebounds.
Valanciunas has double-digit rebounds in 10 of his 14 games this season, and three of those rare single-digit games came in his lowest minute totals of the season. Valanciunas is a walking double-double.
So, after all that… we’re taking the under?
Yes, we are, and it’s for a very simple reason: 13.5 is just a heck of a number. Even as strong a rebounder as JV is, he’s hit 14 or more rebounds only three times all season, and two of those were his highest minute totals of the year.
I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect Valanciunas to play 35 minutes and rack up monster rebounding totals, and it’s not very wise, either, for a player who has a hard time staying healthy.
We project Valanciunas around 27 minutes, right at his season average, and that puts him at 11.1 rebounds, safely below this number. It’s probably going to be a sweat, and he might get five or six boards in one quarter and hit double digits to keep this close, but it’s just almost always a good bet to bank on a guy not hitting 14 rebounds in a game.
I’ll play the under here to -160.
Our Props Tool actually likes Valanciunas to go under his assists line, too, so you might consider parlaying those or playing a rebounds-plus-assists line if your book offers it.
Kristaps Porzingis, Under 0.5 Steals (+100, BetMGM)
|Hawks at Mavericks||Mavericks -3.5|
|Time||7:30 p.m. ET|
About a year ago right now, it felt like everything was really coming together for Kristaps Porzingis in Dallas.
The oft-injured big man was finally getting fully healthy, and it showed. In a 13-game stretch that covered all of February and a spare game or two on either end, Porzingis averaged 27.7 points, 11.0 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks a game, adding 3.6 3s a game at almost 40% behind the arc.
Superstar Porzingis was back. I even had a feature ready to drop on Porzingis and what it meant for Dallas if KP was back to star status again.
That Sunday, he rolled his ankle and had his worst game in over a month. One game later, the NBA season shut down for the pandemic, and that was that.
Porzingis played again at the start of the bubble and was actually terrific again, scoring over 30 PPG in the seeding games and putting up solid numbers in two-and-a-half playoff games before shutting it down for the season with an injury again.
I say all that to remind you not to jump off the Porzingis bandwagon just yet. When Porzingis is healthy, he has shown he can be an absolute superstar, especially next to Luka Doncic. That February stretch and run in the bubble was his best ball ever.
But then he got hurt again and had yet another offseason surgery, and now he’s clearly still working his way back into playing shape. You can tell because the numbers are mediocre again.
They’re starting to tick up again in February. He’s getting closer. But that athletic bounce hasn’t quite been there, and one telltale sign is Porzingis’s stock (steals plus blocks) numbers; he’s down to just 1.7 blocks and a meager 0.3 steals per game this season.
Porzingis has recorded four steals all season. Four! All season!
Porzingis averages 0.7 steals per game for his career and 0.6 SPG in Dallas, but this year’s Porzingis is not getting steals, and at even odds here, we have to grab the under and hope he goes without a steal like he has in 71.4% of his games this season.
Besides, we played blocks the last few days, and this was a great opportunity to remind you that our Props Tool and app now tracks steals too, and you can make money just as well on steals as any other stat.
I’m not out on Porzingis. When he gets healthy, both he and Dallas will look much better. But since he’s not quite there yet, I’ll fade him by looking for another 0-steal night here and will play to -120.