Thursday NBA Player Prop Bets & Picks: 5 Plays, Including Bam Adebayo & Kyle Kuzma (February 17)
Stephen Gosling/Getty Images. Pictured: Bam Adebayo
- Brandon Anderson uses the Action Labs Player Prop Tool to break down his favorite NBA prop bets for Thursday.
- Anderson has three props plus two bonus plays for tonight's action. Check out his picks and analysis below.
It’s finally NBA All-Star Weekend, and it’s time for all the usual festivities. Bring on the All-Star Game, the dunk contest, the 3-point shootout, even the goofy skills contest. It should be a fun weekend in Cleveland.
We’ve got just five games on the slate tonight, and most of these teams are just scraping lineups together and ready for the week-long break, but that means misfit lineups and prop opportunities as we wrap up the first half of the season.
We’ll be using the Action Labs Player Prop Tool to compare our NBA projections to the props posted at a variety of sportsbooks. Below, I have laid out five 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
Bam Adebayo, Under 34.5 Points + Rebounds (-115)
|Heat vs. Hornets||Heat -5|
|Time | TV||7 p.m. ET | NBA League Pass|
He hasn’t really gotten much buzz, but Bam Adebayo is having another outstanding season. Adebayo missed all of December and half of January and thus ranks only eighth on the Heat in minutes, but he’s otherwise had an All-Star season and was one of my Second-Team NBA All-Star starters for his terrific work.
When he’s been out there on the court, Adebayo has been good, just doing what he does. He’s averaging 18.7 points, 10.2 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per game and has been a key part of a Heat squad that sits near the top of the Eastern Conference heading into the break, ranking top-seven in both Offensive and Defensive Rating per Basketball Reference.
Jimmy Butler is questionable but expected to play in tonight’s game heading into the break, and the books have inflated lines for Miami teammates Adebayo, Kyle Lowry, and Duncan Robinson.
But I’m not sure Adebayo will be the one picking up much of the slack if Butler is out. He’s averaging 19.8 points and 9.0 rebounds — basically right at his usual production — without Butler and just isn’t the sort of guy to pick up the extra usage and counting numbers.
Our Props Tool thinks Adebayo’s points and rebounds lines are both a little too high, and I agree so I’ll fade both with this combo prop. Bam has gone under 34.5 PR in 26 of 33 games this season, hitting this under a whopping 79% of the time, and that includes two of the four games without Butler.
Adebayo has been good against Charlotte and had his biggest game of the season against them with 26 points and 19 boards, but even his very good 20/12 in his other Hornets game this season stayed below this line. Miami plays at the slowest pace in the league and should slow Charlotte down, and there’s a decent chance this game ends up in a blowout which could limit Adebayo’s minutes heading into the break and ensuring our under.
We project Adebayo at 19.5 points and 10.1 rebounds, right around his season averages and typical numbers without Butler. I’ll play to -135.
Kyle Kuzma, Over 4.5 Assists (+130)
|Wizards vs. Nets||Nets -4.5|
|Time | TV||7:30 p.m. ET | NBA League Pass|
February means sweater-wearing season, and sweater-wearing season means Kyle Kuzma SZN.
Kuzma has quietly been awesome for the Wizards this year. He leads the team in minutes and has filled up the box score all season, averaging 16.5 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 3.1 assists per game. But Kuzma has really stepped it up in the shorthanded Washington games when the Wizards are missing key guys – and that means this is his moment.
Spencer Dinwiddie, Aaron Holiday, and Montrezl Harrell were dealt away at the trade deadline, leaving a gaping hole in minutes and usage on this team, even more so with Bradley Beal out injured and the newly-acquired Kristaps Porzingis still sidelined with an injury. And Kuzma has been more than happy to oblige.
In his first game without that trio, Kuzma posted his first career triple-double. And in the four games without them, he’s averaging 16.0 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 6.3 assists. The scoring and rebounding are not far off from his season averages, but it’s the increased playmaking that has really caught my eye.
Kuzma has recorded 10, seven, two, and six assists in these four games. And outside of that outlier game with two dimes, he’s averaging 12.0 Potential Assists in the other three games per NBA Advanced Stats. That’s a huge number for Kuzma that paints him as Washington’s primary playmaker, and it means we have to smash this over 4.5 line.
And if you shop around a bit, you’ll find some very nice alternate over lines to dabble in on Kuzma as well. You can play Kuz to get at least six assists at +210 at PointsBet. That’s only one extra assist for almost double the payout, and he’s done that in three of these four games, so you know we’re grabbing that one.
You can also play for another triple-double at +3800 at FanDuel. The points should come easy, and Kuzma’s rebounding over/under is already 9.5, so you’re betting mostly on the high-end assist outcome there if you want just a little sprinkle.
With six or more assists in three of these last four games, I’m flabbergasted that we’re getting this much plus juice on Kuzma’s line, which should probably be at least 5.5 at this point, if not higher. I’ll play at any plus number and don’t expect the +130 to last long.
Dorian Finney-Smith, Over 1.5 Assists (+115)
|Mavericks vs. Pelicans||Mavericks -2.5|
|Time | TV||8:30 p.m. ET | TNT|
DraftKings is giving us some very low niche lines for the Mavericks tonight, so let’s take advantage and have a little fun.
Dorian Finney-Smith has probably had a little fun over the past week since signing his extension. After grinding for years as a 3-and-D role player just trying to catch on in the NBA, DFS finally hit it big with this four-year $55-million extension. That is life-changing money, and it’s well deserved for a guy who has become one of Dallas’s most important players.
Dallas is still transitioning to its new-look team after finally moving on from Kristaps Porzingis. New acquisitions Spencer Dinwiddie and Davis Bertans made their Mavericks debut in Dallas’s last game but played just 36 minutes off the bench and will probably see a similarly limited role as they acquit themselves to team.
And with Porzingis gone, Tim Hardaway Jr. out, and Reggie Bullock ailing and questionable, that should leave plenty of minutes for Dorian Finney-Smith — and maybe a little extra usage too.
DFS has 14 Potential Assists these last three games since the Porzingis trade, but he’s only converted four of those into actual assists. That’s pretty unlucky since a typical player coverts about twice that many looks if teammates hit shots a bit better. That means Finney-Smith is averaging 1.3 APG these last three games, which makes sense with this line, but should be more like double that, which is why this line has value.
Short lines like this are always tough, but we are getting significant value here, so I’ll play Finney-Smith at any plus number.
And if you really want to get wild and gamble a little heading into the All-Star Break, I’ve got one more for you. We can bet on Dwight Powell at +800 to make a single 3-pointer for Dallas tonight. Powell hasn’t made a trey since January 3. Heck, he’s only even attempted three since then and has more games without an attempt than with one.
But New Orleans’s defense is vulnerable to big men who can shoot, and Powell has at least one 3-pointer in 11 of 58 games, hitting this over 19% of the time. Under 0.5 3s is at -2000, implying a 95% chance of no make. We’re getting 11% odds that he does. I think it should be closer to double that. Don’t go crazy, but when the odds are in your favor, sometimes you just have to take a swing.
Bonus Prop Bets
- Andre Drummond, Under 3.5 Assists (-158 FanDuel): This is just too high of a line for a guy who has never been a good passer, no matter how shorthanded Brooklyn is. Drummond is averaging 3.0 APG with the Nets but on only 4.0 Potential Assists, so this line is overinflated. He’s gone under in 45 of 51 games, hitting this under 88% of the time. Let’s hope he sticks to rebounding.
- CJ McCollum, Over 2.5 Threes (+110 DraftKings): McCollum has settled into his usual role quickly for the Pelicans, already taking on a major scoring load and averaging 7.5 3-point attempts per game. He’s made at least three 3s in 20 of 24 games (83%) when he attempts at least eight and in 60% of his games on the season. Consider this a warm-up for Saturday’s 3-point contest.