NBA Player Prop Bets, Picks, Predictions: Kyle Kuzma, Kemba Walker Highlight Tuesday’s Top Selections (April 13)
Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Kemba Walker
- There is plenty of intrigue on Tuesday's NBA slate, with seven games on the docket.
- Brandon Anderson gives his three prop picks below, including angles on Kyle Kuzma and Kemba Walker.
Unfortunately, injurie have become the story of the NBA season. Today’s news of Jamal Murray’s ACL tear is upsetting and sad for one of the league’s bright young stars on one of its most watchable teams.
However, where there are injuries, there is also opportunity in the betting world. Today, we’ll play three props with a direct correlation to injuries and injury returns.
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
Kyle Kuzma, Total Over 5.5 Rebounds (-113)
|Lakers vs. Hornets||Lakers -1|
|Time | TV||8:10 p.m. ET | NBA League Pass|
Kyle Kuzma overs continue to pay out handsomely, while the Lakers are shorthanded with LeBron James and Anthony Davis sitting on the sideline.
In 10 games since James left injured, Kuzma has averaged 15.3 points, 7.1 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game. Early on, Kuzma was racking up assists and hitting assist overs, plus his points had spiked at times as well with three games of 20 or more points.
Yet, more than anything, Kuzma’s rebounding that has become quite reliable, and that makes sense since rebounds are often in direct correlation with playing time. We might not be able to count on points or assists from Kuzma from one night to the next, but it’s clear that he will continue to log huge minutes for the Lakers.
Kuzma is averaging almost 35 minutes a game during this 10-game stretch, and he’s gone past 5.5 rebounds in seven of the 10 games. That includes six in a row at one point, though it must be pointed out that Kuzma has gone under this number in three of the last four now that Andre Drummond has played.
That certainly takes some of the ceiling off the top of Kuzma’s rebounding number, but we don’t need a big number here and he’s has had at least four four rebounds in each of these 10 games so the floor is still there.
Kuzma is averaging a rebound every 4.2 minutes on the season, and that would mean we need only 23 minutes to hit this over on this play. He’ll surely play far more than that, and that’s why we project him at 7.2 rebounds and rate this over a 10 out of 10. I’ll play to -140 odds.
Kemba Walker, Under 6.5 Assists (-160)
|Celtics vs. Blazers||Blazers -1.5|
|Time | TV||10 p.m. ET | TNT|
Kemba Walker has been back in the Celtics’ lineup for quite some time now, but it’s relatively clear at this point that this is not the same player.
Walker has struggled all season. He’s shooting under 40% from the field, which is a really ugly number, and that includes under 47% on 2-point shots alone. Walker is down to 17.6 points, 3.7 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game on the season. He just doesn’t look right out there, and you have to wonder how much that injury is still bothering him.
That step and burst to get to his spot haven’t been what they once were, and that could be a death knell for a small guard on the wrong side of his prime.
Walker’s minutes are up some since the All-Star break, and his numbers are a little better but still not great. He’s still shooting only 41% from the field and still at just 3.9 rebounds and 5.6 assists per game. The playmaking has improved a little, but really not even enough to be sure it’s more than just variance.
Even with that slight uptick, Walker has still gone under 6.5 assists in 11 of these past 14 games, hitting this under 79% of the time. He’s gone under in 29 of 34 games on the season.
Honestly, this line is a full assist too high. FanDuel has moved the prop down a number to 5.5 with plus juice, but I typically prefer the surer payout and will play the higher number here while I can find it. We project Walker at 4.9 assists, and I’d play the under 6.5 as high as -200, otherwise grab the 5.5 at any plus number if necessary.
Jusuf Nurkic, Under 3.5 Assists (-144)
|Blazers vs. Celtics||Blazers -2|
|Time | TV||10 p.m. ET | TNT|
Jusuf Nurkić has played seven games since returning from more two months away, and he’s still struggling to get into peak form.
Nurkić is playing just 20.3 minutes per game in these past seven games. He’s starting, but not playing much as Portland slowly works him back into shape. The production has been surprisingly solid, given the lack of minutes, at 8.3 points, 7.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game.
It’s honestly pretty impressive production in such limited time, especially those assist numbers. That assist rate would be almost six dimes over 36 minutes if Nurkić were playing a fuller load, and Nurkić has hit four assists in four of the seven games.
And all of that is quite wonderful but also screams unsustainable. For his Portland career, Nurkić averages an assist every 10.1 minutes. That’s pretty good. He’s become a nice passing big man and has great chemistry with Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum.
But he’s up to an assist every 6.2 minutes during this recent stretch. Is it really likely that Nurkić nearly double his assist rate while he was away injured?
It probably isn’t, which means regression is likely coming. At Nurkić’s typical assist rate and current minutes load, he would be expected to have around two assists. We project him at 2.5, and four is simply a steep ask in only 20 or so minutes, even if he’s done that a few times lately.
I have to play the under here while Nurkić remains limited. I’ll play to -160 odds.