NBA Player Props Odds, Picks: Our Bets for LeBron James, PJ Tucker and More (Aug. 18)
Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers.
Betting on props can be one of the easiest ways to build your bankroll. Sportsbooks tend to offer lower limits and take less action on props than they do on games, so they don’t have as much incentive to post an accurate line.
That’s where our Player Prop tool comes in handy. We compare our industry-leading NBA projections to the props posted at a variety of sportsbooks to identify the best plays each day. Each bet is then graded on a scale from 1-10, with 10 being the best possible grade.
|Win-Loss (Win Pct)|
|Bet Quality of 10||775-572 (57%)|
|Bet Quality of 9||942-776 (54%)|
|Bet Quality of 8||1432-1263 (52%)|
Tonight’s props come from two of the slate’s four games:
- Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Houston Rockets at 6:30 p.m. ET on TNT
- Los Angeles Lakers vs. Portland Trail Blazers at 9:00 p.m. ET on TNT
NBA Player Prop Bets
Houston Rockets, Danuel House
The Prop: Over 3.5 rebounds (-160)
The Rockets play really small. Maybe you’ve heard. The tallest regular on the roster is Robert Covington at 6-foot-7, and most of the other guys are several inches shorter. The Rockets are all in on small ball, and we are finally about to find out if that works at the highest level.
The first mountain to climb is the literal mountain of a man named Steven Adams. He is a monster boxing out and on the offensive glass, and I think he’s the swing player in this series. If Adams dominates on the boards and gets easy buckets, the Thunder probably win. If he gets played off the court against a faster switch-heavy team instead, the odds flip toward Houston.
Either way, the Rockets are going to need a lot of effort on the boards, especially with Russell Westbrook likely out these first few games. That shortens the entire rotation, and Westbrook is an elite rebounder, so it means more minutes for other Rockets and more rebounds to be had.
Danuel House has quietly become the most reliable 3-and-D wing on Houston’s roster (assuming Covington counts as a big man now). He averaged 30.4 minutes and 4.2 rebounds this season but should clear both marks tonight. In fact, we project him at 5.9 rebounds with all the boards available, clearing this mark by far.
The line is already -160 on this one, but I’ll play it up to -200 with that margin of error. And if the line jumps to 4.0 and gives us better odds instead, all the better.
Houston Rockets, P.J. Tucker
The Prop: Over 5.5 rebounds (-140)
Second verse, same as the first.
You read everything we just said about the Rockets and Thunder, right? Well, you know P.J. Tucker will play every minute possible. In last year’s playoffs, Tucker played 38.7 minutes per game and pulled down 7.5 rebounds per game, way up from his 34.2 minutes and 5.8 boards in the regular season.
Tucker is Houston’s second most reliable player with Westbrook out. He’s their best defender and their only hope to contend on that end of the floow. I expect him to play every minute he can handle and fight hard on the boards.
We’re projecting him at 7.7 boards, which is in line with his production from last postseason. I feel good about that and so does our Props tool, rating both of these a 10 out of 10. I’d play this to -170 and would happily play at 6.0 too.
Los Angeles Lakers, LeBron James
The Prop: Under 29.5 points (-110)
Wait, we’re betting against playoff LeBron?!
Not quite. We are just betting against LeBron’s points. And that’s a big difference.
James averaged 25.3 points per game this season, his lowest mark since his rookie season. History has shown that he tries to get his teammates going early in a series. With so many question marks in the rotation, I think he’ll see this series against the Trail Blazers as a chance to get guys like Kyle Kuzma, and Dion Waiters comfortable early.
Portland has no one to guard LeBron, it’s true. But they haven’t really guarded anyone as the second-worst defense in the bubble thus far. That gives us another path for LeBron to go under — the Blazers might just not be good enough for James to need 30 points.
If you look at LeBron’s playoff history, the seasons where he scores 30 or more points per game are the solo efforts, mostly. When he has a real team, or at least a second star teammate, that number drops a few points toward the mid 20s.
He’s still ramping things up and getting into shape, and just regular old LeBron should be more than enough against Portland. I’m happy to play this under to -135.