NBA Player Prop Bets, Picks: How to Bet LeBron James, LaMelo Ball & More (Sunday, Feb. 28)
Alex Goodlett/Getty Images. Pictured: LaMelo Ball.
February is almost in the books, and we’re closing out the 10th week of the NBA season with an eight-game slate on Sunday.
Despite the postponement of the Raptors-Bulls matchup, tonight’s schedule features a slew of high-profile matchups, which began with the Clippers facing the Bucks on the road in a matinee that tipped off at 3:30 p.m. ET.
Like previous weeks, we’ll focus on the slate of games at night for our best props.
In a slight change of pace, today’s props will feature an under of an MVP candidate, a rookie primed to ball out and a big man slated to have a dominant performance on the road.
Let’s get into the action!
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
LeBron James, under 9.5 rebounds (-110, BetMGM)
|Warriors vs. Lakers||Lakers -3.5|
|Time | TV||8 p.m. ET |ABC|
The Lakers are small favorites in Sunday’s primetime matchup. The implied total is 221, but both teams have been outstanding defensively, ranking in the top five in Defensive Efficiency this season — Los Angeles is first, per NBA Advanced Stats, at 105.8.
The Warriors are finally getting healthy in their frontcourt with the returns of Kevon Looney and James Wiseman earlier this week, and it should make a difference in LeBron James’ ability to surpass his rebound line of 9.5 tonight.
James is squarely in the conversation for MVP, and rightfully so. He’s averaging 25.7 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 7.9 assists across 34 games this season, and the Lakers are 23-11, which is third in the Western Conference.
LeBron has been doing a lot as of late, mainly because Anthony Davis remains on the shelf with a calf injury and Dennis Schroder has been out of the lineup due to health and safety protocols, although he returned on Friday night. So it’s not a surprise that James’ overall production has risen over his past 10 games to putting up 26.2 points, 9.3 rebounds, and 8.3 assists.
James has been rebounding at a higher rate in February, averaging 8.8 per game this month. Still, he’ll be pressured continuously by the Warriors’ strong defensive frontcourt led by Draymond Green and Kelly Oubre Jr., both of whom have improved their play over the past month.
James’ rebounding numbers are pretty similar at home (8.1) vs. on the road (8.3), but 9.5 rebounds is a tough measure to get behind. According to Fansure, James has failed to go over that total in five of his last six games at home, with an average of 8.7 rebounds per game average over that span.
This isn’t to say that James is not going to put on a show, but having only gone over double-digit rebounds in nine of 34 games this season, his market seems too high in a matchup against an ascending defense.
James under 9.5 rebounds gets a bet quality score of a 7 out of 10, as we are projecting him to pull down a shade under nine rebounds at 8.9 against Golden State.
Deandre Ayton, over 11.5 rebounds (-100, DraftKings)
|Suns vs. Timberwolves||Spread|
|Time | TV||9 p.m. ET | League Pass|
While the Suns have won seven of their last 10 games, the Timberwolves are bottom of the Western Conference at 7-27 and have won just twice in their last 10 home games.
Minnesota enters Sunday ranked 29th in Rebounding Percentage, according to NBA Advanced Stats, which gives our second prop great value.
Ayton’s been a slight disappointment on offense this season, seeing his scoring average drop from 18.2 to 14.3 points per game since Chris Paul took the reins of the Suns’ offense.
One thing that hasn’t changed, however, is his ability to rebound at a high-rate. Ayton is averaging 11.7 rebounds this season but over the last 10, his average has dropped to 9.5 per contest.
Don’t be discouraged, though, as Ayton has a prime opportunity to feast against the lowly Wolves. Ayton’s had more success hitting the glass against the Western Conference this season, outpacing his average by 1.5 rebounds per game (12.3 vs. 10.8) when compared to Eastern Conference opponents.
Ayton has registered over 11.5 rebounds in 18 of 32 games this season but according to Fansure, he has exceeded 11.5 rebounds in eight of his last 11 games against opponents with a losing record.
The Suns are 10-point favorites, but Karl-Anthony Towns will be on the floor for 30-plus minutes, so you can expect Ayton to be right there with him. We project Ayton to grab 12.4 rebounds on Sunday night and given the odds, this is a slam dunk with a bet quality of 10.
LaMelo Ball, over 20.5 points (-115, PointsBet)
|Hornets vs. Kings||Kings -3|
|Time | TV||10 p.m. ET | League Pass|
LaMelo Ball has taken the reins of the Charlotte Hornets’ offense.
The odds-on favorite to be this season’s Rookie of the Year has been cooking recently, entering Sunday averaging 20.1 points, 6.4 rebounds and 6.5 assists over his past 10 games. Now, Ball finds himself in a great matchup against the Sacramento Kings, who rank dead last in Defensive Efficiency this season.
Devonte’ Graham has been absent for six of the Hornets’ last eight games, and Ball has stepped up his scoring to 20.6 points per game in that span. The need for Ball to score is heightened even more with news of Gordon Hayward is doubtful for tonight’s game with a hand injury.
The market has slightly adjusted the odds (-110 to -125) with news of Hayward’s unlikely availability. Ball’s scoring prop has moved slightly, from 19.5 to 20.5.
In 12 games as a starter this year, Ball is averaging 19.8 points this season. In the two games where Hayward’s been absent, he’s seen his usage rates climb from his seasonal average of 26.1% to 28.6% and 37.1%.
According to Hashtag Basketball, the Kings are also allowing 24.9 points per game to opposing point guards this season, which bodes well for Ball. It also helps that he is riding a three-game streak of scoring 20-plus points for the first time of his budding NBA career.
The implied total for the Kings and Hornets game is the highest of Sunday’s slate at 236.5. Both teams have been scoring at a dizzying pace recently, averaging over 116 points per game. The Kings have hit the over in eight of their past 10 games, while the Hornets have also gone over in seven of their past 10 games.
With only Terry Rozier to compete with for buckets, fire up LaMelo in what projects to be a high-scoring affair.