NBA Player Props Odds, Picks: Adjustments for Kyle Kuzma and Hassan Whiteside (Thursday, Aug. 20)
Mike Ehrmann, Getty Images. Pictured: Kyle Kuzma
Betting on props can be one of the easiest ways to build your bankroll, especially in the NBA postseason. 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%)|
Today’s props come from two of the slate’s four games:
- Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Houston Rockets at 3:30 p.m. ET on ESPN
- Los Angeles Lakers vs. Portland Trail Blazers at 9:00 p.m. ET on ESPN
NBA Player Prop Bets
Oklahoma City Thunder, Steven Adams
The Prop: Under 13.5 points (-115)
Steven Adams is a mountain of a man. At 6’11” and 265 pounds (yeah, right), Adams towers over everyone in most games, but he’s an absolute monster when the opponent is the Houston Rockets. The pocket Rockets have embraced small ball to the extreme, with Robert Covington, Jeff Green, and P.J. Tucker playing de facto center.
That means Adams has half a foot on his opposition once you add in his reach, and it should make him a beast on the boards and give him plenty of opportunity for easy buckets. And it will — while he’s on the court.
The problem is James Harden. Harden hunts the pick-and-roll mercilessly, and Adams does not have the lateral quickness or foot speed to stay with him. I worried before the series that Adams could get played off the court at times, and it was clear in Game 1 that OKC could not keep up with Houston’s offense.
Adams had 17 points in Game 1 but averaged only 10.2 PPG in the seeding games, and his 10.9 PPG from the regular season were his lowest in four years. So were his minutes, and that’s exactly the problem.
No one is running plays for Adams to score. He scores when he’s on the court, and if he can’t stay out there against Houston, he can’t score enough to hit this number.
We project Adams at 11.2 points and I’m playing this one up to -145.
Portland Trail Blazers, Hassan Whiteside
The Prop: Under 10.5 points (-120)
It’s not a great day to be an old school center in today’s props. Hassan Whiteside had a wonderful regular season for the Blazers. I’d even argue he was their second best player, before the bubble.
But then Jusuf Nurkic returned and relegated Whiteside to second string, where he gets fewer minutes and less time with Damian Lillard too.
Whiteside plummeted to 17 minutes a game in the bubble, and his production fell off with it. He played 25.8 minutes in Game 1 with Zach Collins out, and Collins is out again, but I’m not sure Whiteside will see those minutes. Many of them came alongside Jusuf Nurkic, a luxury Portland could afford to do because the Lakers were stubbornly playing Dwight Howard or JaVale McGee alongside Anthony Davis.
Los Angeles must win this game, and I think the key Lakers adjustment will be playing Davis as the lone big man to get more offense on the court — and to get Nurkic or Whiteside off of it. Whiteside will be the one marginalized if Howard and McGee play less, and you can’t score from the bench.
We’re projecting Whiteside at 20.7 minutes, and I’m not even confident he’ll get that. That projects him at 9.1 points, giving you some margin for error here. I’d play Whiteside up to -150.
Los Angeles Lakers, Kyle Kuzma
The Prop: Over 13.5 points (-140)
This is Part II to the Whiteside Part I.
If you believe the big Lakers adjustment will be more Anthony Davis at center, then what’s the fallout? Less Dwight and JaVale, and less Whiteside. And almost certainly Kyle Kuzma, who is probably the third best Laker right now. And Los Angeles needs Kuzma’s scoring out there on the floor now while they’re struggling to find points.
Don’t be thrown off by Kuzma’s 12.8 PPG from the regular season, when he was struggling and marginalized. Kuzma was maybe Los Angeles’s one bright spot in the seeding games.
There he scored 15.4 PPG and was suddenly hitting 2.3 threes a game at 44.4%. That shooting and scoring ability is what L.A. needs more of, and that’s why I love this prop.
We’re projecting Kuzma at 30.1 minutes, and I think he will clear that and have a big game. Pair this with the Whiteside bet under the same logic, and don’t be afraid to bet Kuzma up to -170 or even at a higher number with better odds, if this rises. He could score 20 tonight.