NBA Player Prop Bets & Picks: 3 Bets for LeBron James, Robert Williams & Dejounte Murray (January 12)
Chris Elise/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: A close up shot of LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers.
- With nine games on Wednesday night's schedule, there's plenty of value to be had for bettors in the NBA.
- Using the Action Labs Player Props tool, Brandon Anderson has found value in the props market.
- He breaks down his three best bets for the night below.
It’s a full NBA slate ahead tonight, and the props board is ripe for the picking. And we’ve got a little bit of everything today.
We’ll play the league’s marquee superstar, one of its breakout stars on his way up, and another role player starting to earn bigger and bigger minutes lately. I’ve also got four bonus props for you at the bottom so we can really dive in on the action.
Using the Action Labs Player Prop tool to compare our NBA projections to the props posted at a variety of sportsbooks, I have laid out my top three prop-bets for Wednesday night.
NBA Player Props & Picks
Robert Williams, Over 9.5 REB (+104) | Over 11.5 REB (+255)
|Celtics vs. Pacers||Celtics -2|
|Time | TV||7 p.m. ET | NBA League Pass|
Who has been the best player for the Boston Celtics so far this season?
Jayson Tatum is the default answer, and you can make a case for Jaylen Brown. Those two will be vying for the same All-Star spots the next few weeks. Al Horford has been Ol’ Faithful, and many advanced metrics rate him ahead of both star wings. But do you know who the metrics rank ahead of all three? Spoiler alert: It’s the guy whose section you’re reading.
Robert Williams has always produced big numbers when on the court; he just doesn’t always get enough minutes to produce them. But lately that’s changing. Horford has been minimized over the past couple weeks, playing only around 25 minutes per game when Williams is available. And Timelord is being elevated.
Over the last five Williams games, he’s averaging 34.5 minutes per game. He recorded a triple-double during that stretch and is a couple points and rebounds away from averaging a double-double. And, like always, the blocks have come early and often. Williams is averaging 4.4 blocks per game these last five! His freakish athleticism makes him a monster on the glass and swatting shots.
Williams has played at least 32 minutes in five straight games. That gives him 14 games this season with at least 32 minutes. In those 14 games, Timelord is averaging 11.3 rebounds and 3.0 blocks per game, making use of that extra time on the court to put up big time numbers. For his career, Williams averages a rebound every 3.0 minutes and a block every 11.0 minutes, so those numbers are basically right in line with what we should expect at 32 minutes.
I love getting Williams at a plus number to hit double-digit rebounds. He’s done that in 10 of those 14 games with at least 32 minutes, hitting our over 71% of the time. He’s had 12 or more boards in five of them, a 36% hit rate versus 28% implied at +255. You can keep going too if you want to get aggressive: +560 for 14 rebounds and +1100 for 16, all at FanDuel.
I’ll also play Williams to go over 1.5 blocks at -200. He has multiple blocks in 11 of those 14 higher minute games, and I’d play over 2.5 swats at a plus number if you have the option. This is a nice spot for a Williams Same Game Parlay if you want to put a few of these together, since he’s good a good chance of hitting or missing all of them depending on if the minutes are there.
I’ll play the basic over 9.5 rebounds to -125 as needed.
Dejounte Murray, Under 9.5 Assists (-115)
|Rockets vs. Spurs||Spurs -7|
|Time | TV||8:30 p.m. ET | NBA League Pass|
What a breakout campaign for Dejounte Murray! Murray has become the face of the San Antonio Spurs. He’s putting up 18.4 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 8.9 assists per game, a nightly triple-double threat and a serious threat to make an All-Star team and maybe even push for Most Improved Player. Dejounte leads the league in steals per game and is fourth in assists. He’s been a star.
And never has Murray been more the face of the Spurs than right now, while San Antonio remains incredibly shorthanded. It looks like Keldon Johnson, Derrick White, Devin Vassell, Doug McDermott, Tre Jones, and others could all miss again, and that leaves mostly Murray, Jakob Poeltl, and whatever other random dudes Pop finds to give minutes too — one of which includes Josh Primo, a rookie starter right now that I’ve got another prop for below.
With all those missing Spurs, you’d think this is the time to play Murray overs, but I’m going the other way. Assists are a two-man job. You need teammates out there to convert the great chances you’re creating for them, and the Spurs just don’t have much help for Dejounte right now. They might also need him to take on more of a scoring load, and that shouldn’t be too tough a task against the Rockets. And against Houston, there’s always the chance that Murray sees reduced minutes late in an easy win, even shorthanded.
Even if none of those things come to fruition, Murray has gone under 9.5 assists in 23 of his 35 games this season either way. That’s a 66% hit rate for our under, and it takes nothing away from Dejounte’s breakout season — it’s just really hard to get double-digit dimes on the nightly.
I love Dejounte, but I’m fading him tonight. We project him at 7.9 assists, and I’ll play the under here to -135.
LeBron James, Under 9.5 Rebounds (-135)
|Lakers vs. Kings||Lakers -3.5|
|Time | TV||10 p.m. ET | NBA League Pass|
We don’t get to bet on The King too often in this space, so let’s take an opportunity to appreciate LeBron’s greatness.
Over the last 11 games with Anthony Davis sidelined, James has stepped into the rejuvenation machine and is putting up monster numbers. He’s averaging 34.2 points per game during this stretch and suddenly making a push up the scoring leader and MVP charts, and he’s suddenly getting back to the line a ton and adding 3.1 treys a game at a 40% clip too.
LeBron is getting more touches without Davis around, and he’s also playing a bit more as a de facto big man. That also means his rebounding has gone up a lot. He’s at 9.5 rebounds per game during this 11-game stretch, a huge jump from his 6.2 RPG the rest of the season.
That explains why this line has moved so high — but it’s gone too far. Even though it’s right at his average during this recent stretch, James is still in single-digit rebounds and under this line in seven of the 11 games, the overall average boosted by a few outlier highs. LeBron is under 9.5 boards in 20 of 29 games on the season too.
We’re projecting LeBron at 7.5 rebounds tonight. That might be a touch low, with his median outcome during this 11 games right at nine boards, but either one of those outcomes hits our under.
I’ll appreciate the greatness of The King but I’ll also fade his rebounding tonight since our Props Tool rates this a 10 out of 10. I’ll play to -150.
Bonus Prop Bets
- Jaylen Brown, Over 2.5 3-Pointers (+120 DraftKings): Keep playing Jaylen. He’s averaging 3.1 made 3s on 8.5 attempts his last 14 games since returning from a couple weeks away, over this number in nine of 14 (64%). Don’t go crazy with alternate overs, though; he’s attempted only four and six treys his last two games, his lowest during these 14 games. But we have to play the plus number.
- Mason Plumlee, Over 5.5 rebounds (-130 DraftKings): The Charlotte Hornets will need Plumlee’s size as much as he can stay out there against Joel Embiid, and Philly is not a particularly great rebounding team. We project Plumlee at 8.2 rebounds, and he’s gone over this line in 23 of 32 games this season. His median outcome is seven boards, so this line is just too low.
- Josh Primo, Over 0.5 Blocks (+120 DraftKings): One of the league’s youngest players is getting big minutes with all the missing Spurs. Primo is a defender first, and he’s had nine blocks in his five games with over 15 minutes played, with at least one block in all of them. He’s averaging 31 mpg the last three.
- Onyeka Okongwu, Over 1.5 Blocks (+155 DraftKings): Okongwu is finally back and thrust immediately into the Hawks‘ starting lineup with Clint Capela out. His elite skill is shot blocking with one every 18.1 minutes for his career, and he played almost 38 minutes last time.
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