NBA Player Prop Bets, Picks: 3 Picks for Sunday Night’s Slate (Jan. 10)

NBA Player Prop Bets, Picks: 3 Picks for Sunday Night’s Slate (Jan. 10) article feature image
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Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Nikola Jokic.

  • NBA betting analyst Dan Titus uses the ActionLabs Player Prop Tool to find three picks for Sunday's slate.
  • Check out the trio of overs he's targeting below, beginning with Nikola Jokic vs. the Knicks at 6 p.m. ET.

In true Wild Card Weekend fashion, the NBA is laboring through a slew of COVID-related incidents and injuries. And much like the NFL, the games must go on. 

Sunday is packed with an eight-game slate beginning at 3 p.m. ET that features a couple of playoff rematches between the Lakers and Rockets and Heat and Celtics, with a nightcap of the Raptors taking on the Dubs. (Editor’s note: Heat-Celtics was postponed due to COVID-related issues.)

There is some uncertainty about the statuses of notable players such as Anthony Davis, Jaylen Brown and Kyrie Irving, so we’ll focus on two stud players and one unsung hero to outperform market expectations for Sunday’s contests.

For those who are new to this article, we’ll be using the ActionLabs 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 10.5 Rebounds (-120)

Nuggets at Knicks Nuggets -5.5
Bet Now
Time 6 p.m. ET

The Denver Nuggets are underachieving with a 4-5 record heading into Sunday. However, it’s hard to pass the blame onto Jokic. After all, he is averaging a triple-double (24.7 points, 11.3 rebounds and 11.0 assists) through nine games this season.

Denver’s defense has been the issue, ranking in the bottom five in defensive efficiency (1.106) and letting up 115.4 points to opposing teams — ninth-worst in the NBA.

Bad Offense Means More Rebounds

Jokic is playing the second game of a back-to-back set, and while some might be concerned about his workload, I’m not. He played a season-low 29 minutes against a depleted Sixers frontcourt on Saturday. 

Sunday, he faces the re-tooled New York Knicks, who have been surprisingly good on defense this year. Both teams rank in the bottom 10 in pace, with the game script likely to be a grind-it-out, low-scoring affair. The Knicks rank 26th in Effective FG% in the league, leaving plenty of boards for the taking.

Top Rebounders Feast Against Knicks

Jokic failed to reach 11 rebounds in four of nine games this season, but he has a plus matchup against the Knicks. For reference, the Knicks gave up 12+ rebounds to Rudy Gobert, Domantas Sabonis, Andre Drummond and Clint Capela, who rank in the top 10 in rebounding this year along with Jokic. According to Basketball Reference, he’s performed well with zero days rest, averaging 11.5 rebounds in 11 games last season and 11.4 rebounds in 12 games in the 2018-19 season.

With odds at -120, I think the market is undervaluing Jokic’s rebounding total and would bet his total up to 12. The player props tool ranks this bet a 9 out of 10 — and with good reason.

[Bet this prop at BetMGM and get an INSTANT $500 deposit match.]

James Harden, over 28.5 points (-106)

Team at Team Lakers -3
Bet Now
Time 7 p.m. ET

Scoring Machine-Turned-Distributor

Harden remains one of the NBA’s best players, but it’s hard to ignore his production over the past few games. He’s played the distributor role well, averaging a robust 11.6 assists over his last three contests while averaging a mere 17 points per game over that span.

 Harden is still finding his groove with his new teammates, but you can’t hold a scoring machine like Harden down for too long. His lack of scoring is correlated to his inability to get to the free-throw line. Since last season, his free-throw attempts dropped from 11.8 to 8.3, with his FG attempts falling from 22.3 to 17.5 per game. 

nba-player-prop-bets-picks-nikola-jokic-james-harden-kyle-lowry-sunday-january-10
Michael Hickey/Getty Images. Pictured: James Harden.

It’s not like Harden forgot how to score. He’s averaging 27 points per game while adjusting to a new system and getting his teammates more involved in the offense. That said, the Beard averaged 29 points against the Lakers in three games last year and is likely still bitter from his second-round exit in the bubble. While it’s still early in the season, this game takes on more significance with the Rockets sitting at 3-4 and the Lakers at 7-3. 

Both teams are middle-of-the-pack in terms of pace this season, and it shows with a modest implied game total of 222. Harden is a showman, and with two days of rest, our projections have him going off for 30 points tonight. While our player prop tool gives Harden’s point total a bet rating is a 6 out of 10, this has all the feels of a Harden explosion.

[Bet this prop at BetMGM and get an INSTANT $500 deposit match.]

Kyle Lowry, over 6.5 assists (+102)

Raptors at Warriors Raptors -3
Bet Now
Time 8:30 p.m. ET

The underrated 14-year veteran continues to get it done on a nightly basis. He missed his previous contest against the Kings for personal reasons, but he is off the injury report and ready to play against the Warriors on Sunday. The Raptors are playing horribly as a team, standing at 2-6 through eight games this season. 

Consistency is Key

Lowry has been doing his part, averaging 19.4 points, 5.1 rebounds and 7.4 assists, but he’ll need to do more for the Raptors to get on track. His usage rate is a healthy 23.5%, and his numbers are nearly identical compared to last season.

The books are not believers in Lowry’s assist total, but I think this game will be a battle of the guards. Lowry’s dished out over 6.5 assists in four of seven games this season. The Warriors are the top-ranked team in pace this season, so the Raptors will have to keep up to get in the win column. More notably, the Warriors and Raptors have the highest implied total for Sunday’s slate at 232. 

Pushing the Pace

Lowry is a dog and will not back down to Steph Curry. Let’s not forget the man won an improbable championship against Curry only a couple of years ago.

To better cement Lowry’s upside in the assist department, the Warriors rank 11th in fast-break points allowed this season. Fittingly enough, the Raptors are ranked No. 1 in transition points at 18.5 per game.

With the combination of Lowry’s unrelenting defense and willingness to get his teammates involved, I think 6.5 is a safe measure for Lowry to hit. Our player prop tool grades this bet as a 10 out of 10, and with plus odds at +102, this should be a good one to watch.

[Bet this prop at BetMGM and get an INSTANT $500 deposit match.]

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