Friday NBA Player Prop Bets, Picks, Predictions: Take the Under on Nikola Jokic, 2 More Betting Angles (April 9)
Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets.
- Another exciting night of NBA action is upon us, with several player props with value available around the league.
- Check out Brandon Anderson's three top selections on Friday's NBA card below.
When looking at props, it can be a great idea by starting with a look at the game over/under totals for the slate.
Tonight the Memphis Grizzlies and New York Knicks play in a matchup set at 215.5 points, the lowest total on the slate by over five points.
In a game that looks that defensive and lower scoring, it’s typically a good idea to look for the right under. Tonight we’re playing one under prop from each side of that game, plus another under in one of the slate’s late games.
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
Grayson Allen, Under 19.5 PTS + REB + AST (-115)
|Grizzlies vs. Knicks||Grizzlies -1.5|
|Time | TV||7:30 p.m. ET | NBATV|
Wednesday was Grayson Allen’s night. Allen exploded against the Atlanta Hawks his last time out, dropping 30 points on 10-of-18 shooting.
It was not quite a career high for Grayson — never forget the ridiculous 40 points Allen dropped in the Jazz regular season finale as a rookie — but it was the second-best night of his professional career, and it came in a meaningful game. Allen got to the line a season-high eight times and added four rebounds, three assists, and three 3-pointers.
Allen can get hot and pour in the points when he does. We saw that happen at Duke more than a few times too. But most of the time, he’s more of a cog in the machine with the Grizzlies. Allen has started all but one of his appearances since Feb. 12 after his minutes bounced around early.
In those 21 games, he’s averaging 11.9 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 2.2 assists. He’s knocking down his shots, at 41% behind the arc and 93% from the line, but other than that, those are pretty inconspicuous numbers.
That stretch includes 10 or fewer points in 12 of the 21 games and five games with more than 15. He’s had more than three assists twice in that stretch and more than five rebounds just twice. Those are pretty low ceilings that help give us a range for Allen where even 15 points, three assists, and five rebounds would be a pretty high-end game.
With that typical ceiling, a line of 19.5 points + rebounds + assists has to get us feeling pretty good. If Allen’s shots aren’t falling, he has no shot at getting to the over. And even if some shots do go in, we still have a great chance at the under unless he has one of those huge scoring nights.
The points are the widest variance part of the prop, and since Allen’s points line is 13.5, typically if we’re going to miss the under on that, we’ll miss it big anyway. So we may as well tack on the rebounds and assists too and just fade Allen as a whole.
Allen is averaging 17.6 PRA during this 21-game stretch, and he’s gone under this combo prop line in 14 of the games, hitting the under 67% of the time. Let’s bet against Allen having back-to-back big games with the stingy Knicks on tap and grab the under here.
I’ll play to -135 or shift to another Allen under if the juice rises too high.
Julius Randle, Under 2.5 3-pointers (-127)
|Grizzlies vs. Knicks||Grizzlies -1.5|
|Time | TV||7:30 p.m. ET | NBATV|
Are we really betting against Julius Randle? The first-time All-Star is having a monster season, and he’s one of the clear favorites for Most Improved Player as the season hits the home stretch. Randle is averaging 22.9 points, 10.7 rebounds, and 6.0 assists per game and leading the entire NBA in minutes.
Along the way to that huge season, Randle has suddenly started hitting 3-pointers at an impressive rate. Through six seasons in the NBA, Randle made a total of 168 3s shooting below 30% behind the arc. This season, he’s hit 103 already in 51 games, making 2.0 per game and suddenly knocking down 40.7% of his attempts.
It’s clear Randle has improved as a shooter, but it’s probably not responsible to call him a knockdown shooter at this point. We just don’t have enough sample size for that to be true yet. Randle is taking 5.0 attempts per game behind the arc, and five attempts is also his median (middle) and mode (most common) outcome this year. At five attempts, Randle has to go 3-for-5 and hit 60% of his attempts to hit this over, an unlikely scenario.
Even with Randle’s greatly improved shooting, he’s still gone under 2.5 threes in 36 of his 51 games. That’s an under in 71% of his games, and remember, that’s with him already leading the league in minutes and shooting at a career outlier rate, so he’s basically already playing at his ceiling.
Randle had more than three 3-pointers in just seven games this season, so there’s a pretty strong chance this line is at least near his ceiling. Since the start of March, Randle is shooting even more, up to 5.8 attempts and 2.3 threes per game, but even with that uptick, he’s still gone under 2.5 3s in 10-of-16 games.
We project Randle at 1.6 3s tonight against a tough Grizzlies defense. I’ll play the under to -150.
Nikola Jokic, Under 9.5 Assists (-110)
|Spurs vs. Nuggets||Nuggets -8.5|
|Time | TV||9 p.m. ET | NBA League Pass|
It’s never fun to bet against the likely MVP, but that’s what we’re doing tonight against the Spurs. The Nuggets look like upper echelon contenders with the addition of Aaron Gordon.
The Nuggets are a perfect 6-0 with Gordon in the lineup, outscoring those opponents by 75 points combined, and that includes games against two fellow contenders (76ers and Clippers) and two likely playoff teams (Hawks and Spurs).
The Spurs are the opponent again tonight as the Nuggets complete a duplex. Jokic was one rebound short of a triple-double against the Spurs on Wednesday night, recording 25 points, nine rebounds, and 10 assists. Just another ho hum outing for Jokic, who is averaging 26.3 points, 10.9 rebounds, and 8.7 assists per game in an incredible offensive campaign.
For awhile, it looked like Jokic might average a triple-double for the season. He was putting up 10.4 assists per game over his first 12 outings after all. But he’s dropped to 8.1 APG since then, and five of Jokic’s nine biggest assist nights this season came in that brief opening stretch.
Since Gordon arrived, Jokic is averaging 9.5 assists per game, but that’s skewed by one 16-assist night against the Magic, his second highest total of the season and a game in which Jokic dropped eight dimes in under eight minutes in a whirlwind third quarter comeback. He’s at 8.2 APG in the other five games, basically right in line with the rest of his season once things settled in.
And that’s right where we project him tonight, at 8.1 assists. Jokic is under 9.5 assists in 26-of-39 games since that hot opening stretch, hitting the under 67% of the time. It could be close, and Jokic shows up every night, but the numbers say he should come up just short. I’ll play the under to -145.