NBA Player Prop Bets, Picks: Fade Deandre Ayton Against Nets (Tuesday, Feb. 16)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images. Pictured: Phoenix Suns star Deandre Ayton, left, and Sacramento Kings player Richaun Holmes.
Hey, did you know our Action Network app now tracks combo props for NBA players? It’s true! We recently added the ability to track a few combo props in the app:
- Points + Rebounds
- Points + Assists
- Points + Rebounds + Assists
There are times when a combo prop is the right play. It’s a way to go all-in on a player, for or against, and combo props can also provide a little protection.
Let’s say you like a player to go over both points and rebounds, with lines of 15.5 points and 9.5 boards. Sure enough, they have a monster game with 26 points and nine boards — but your props went 1-1.
A combo prop gives you credit for all those extra points and helps you hit your prop even though you were half a rebound short, since you hit the over 25.5 points + rebounds combined.
If you like a player to have a big game in more than one category, a combo prop might be the right play, especially if our Props Tool agrees. Combo props can also be a strategic way to play someone’s minutes rising or falling. Tonight, we’ll recommend our first combo prop.
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
Nikola Jokic, Over 7.5 assists (-110)
|Nuggets vs. Celtics||Celtics -1.5|
|Time | TV||7 p.m. ET | NBA League Pass|
Despite the ongoing failings of most of the Nuggets players around him, Nikola Jokic continues to have an absolutely monster season. He’s averaging 26.5 points, 11.5 rebounds, and 8.7 assists per game and leads the league in pretty much any all-in-one advanced metric you can drum up.
Jokic is still my MVP thus far, even after a somewhat quieter stretch over the second half of January — at least as a passer. Over the first 13 games, Jokic was averaging 10.3 assists a game, giving him a triple-double average on the season. He had at least nine assists in all but three of those games. Then Jokic went a bit quieter for an eight-game stretch, dropping to just 5.4 APG over that stretch and failing to hit nine dimes even once.
Jokic was scoring a bit more in that stretch, and Denver was more full strength, and the Nuggets went 6-2. But now the Nuggets are struggling to find bodies again with Gary Harris, Will Barton, and Paul Millsap out along with possibly Monte Morris, and Jokic’s passing has jumped again to what we saw at the start of the season.
A monster 50-point 12-assist game against the Kings set off this recent five-game stretch in which Jokic is back to averaging nearly a triple-double again: 28.4 points, 11.0 rebounds, and 9.8 assists. And like the start of the season, he’s had at least nine dimes in all but one of these games.
I expect yet another superhuman effort from Jokic, and in the role he’s been playing again, that has almost always meant at least nine assists. The only quiet game in this stretch was a 38-point blowout win, and there should be no danger of that against the Celtics.
We project Jokic at 8.7 assists, and I like him to hit that mark of nine or above again. I don’t think the books have readjusted after Jokic’s quiet period, and I’m happy to play this over up to -145.
Al Horford, Over 21.5 points + assists (+100)
|Trail Blazers vs. Thunder||Trail Blazers -5.5|
|Time | TV||8 p.m. ET | NBA League Pass|
Now that we can track combo props now in the Action Network app, and I’m giving Horford the first chance to grab us a combo win.
The Thunder continue to play without all of their regular guard rotation. George Hill has been missing for some time now, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Theo Maledon continue to be out too. Oklahoma City has played four games without that trio, and Al Horford has been huge in all four:
- 26 points, 7 rebounds, and 8 assists vs Minnesota
- 25 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists vs LA Lakers
- 16 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists vs Denver
- 20 points, 7 rebounds, and 9 assists vs Milwaukee
That’s an average of 21.8 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 7.3 assists per game. That’s pretty great production, and against some quality opponents too. And even that quieter Denver game started out looking like a monster game. Horford scored 12 of the first 15 points for the Thunder in that one before going quiet the rest of the game.
It’s the assists that have really caught my eye, but the scoring is up too. There’s simply more volume and time on the ball for Horford right now, and all the better for OKC that they can showcase Horford looking awesome with the trade deadline coming soon.
Portland’s defense is ripe for the picking, so I expect another big game from Horford. Maybe that means more scoring, or perhaps setting up his teammates, so this combo props gives us a shot at either. If you can’t play a combo, my favorite Horford component here is over 4.5 assists at -145 at BetMGM.
But that same book will give us even odds on the combo, and I think there’s a decent chance Horford hits this over just on points, let alone with the seven or eight assists I expect.
Let’s get these combo props off to a good start. I’d play Horford over 20.5 points + assists up to -150.
Deandre Ayton under 15.5 points (-115)
|Nets vs. Suns||Suns -5.5|
|Time | TV||10:30 p.m. ET | TNT|
I’m still not totally sure how Deandre Ayton fits into this version of the Suns, and I’m not sure Phoenix knows yet either. The former No. 1 overall draft pick has the body of an Adonis and can dominate in the post, and that’s how he likes to play — slowing the game down, getting his touches in the post, and showing off an array of moves.
Many expected Ayton to have a breakout season with a point guard like Chris Paul creating good looks for him, but instead, Ayton has regressed.
Instead of contending for an All-Star spot as some predicted, he would probably be the fourth All-Star pick from his own team now at best. Those easy points haven’t been coming.
Instead Ayton’s scoring has fallen to a career low 13.8 PPG. With Paul and Devin Booker on the ball so much, there just isn’t time for Ayton to sit in the post and do his thing.
The Suns are hot right now. Phoenix has won nine of its last 10 games, and it feels like things are clicking. Booker’s scoring is up, CP3 is taking more shots while Booker is out, and things are humming. But Ayton’s scoring is down even further to 13.0 PPG, and he’s gone under 15.5 points in seven of those 10 games.
It’s easy to look at this matchup with the Nets and be tempted. Brooklyn’s defense is a sieve, and the Nets are playing small without Kevin Durant or the departed Jarrett Allen. That should give plenty of scoring opportunities, especially for a big man.
But I expect this game to be fast-moving and up-and-down, and that doesn’t favor the way Ayton gets his touches and points, so even in what looks like an appealing matchup, I think it could be another quieter night for Ayton.
He’s gone under 15.5 points in 17-of-26 games, hitting this prop 65.4% of his games this season. I’ll play another under here to -135.