NBA Player Prop Bets & Picks: Back Spurs’ Murray, DeRozan To Make Big Contributions (Tuesday, Jan. 5)

NBA Player Prop Bets & Picks: Back Spurs’ Murray, DeRozan To Make Big Contributions (Tuesday, Jan. 5) article feature image
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Logan Riely/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: San Antonio Spurs star DeMar DeRozan.

  • San Antonio is coming off a blowout loss last time out against the Utah Jazz.
  • However, Brandon Anders expects big efforts Tuesday from two of its stars when they play the Los Angeles Clippers.
  • Anderson tells why he likes Dejounte Murray and DeMar DeRozan to shine below.

Sometimes one big result can throw off the numbers. A blowout win or loss can skew the numbers, in part because it’s an outlier score and that usually means outlier minutes played by the usual players.

That said, that’s the angle we’re taking with two San Antonio standouts in the Spurs’ game against the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday’s NBA card.

San Antonio was blown out by the Utah Jazz last time out. Of course, the Clippers are a viable candidate to blow out any opponent as well, but this is also a spot where it wouldn’t be shocking to see the them rest or limit time for Kawhi Leonard or Paul George or limit minutes. The reason? Los Angeles is on the first night of a back-to-back set.

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 bets I’m playing, the case for each bet and the best books to find odds on those player props.

NBA Player Props & Picks

Dejounte Murray, Over 5.5 Rebounds (-110)

Spurs at Clippers Clippers -8.5
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Time 10 p.m. ET

Murray has always been more wing than guard, with a long frame and athleticism, who gives opponents nightmares defensively. His body and positional athleticism make him an elite rebounding guard.

Since his rookie season, Murray is averaging 8.8 rebounds per 36 minutes, a huge number for a supposed “guard.” His rebounding numbers have increased from 5.7 RPG his sophomore season to 5.8 RPG last year. Currently, he’s at 6.8 RPG this season, largely in part because his minutes have risen along the way.

Murray is averaging more than 30 minutes a game this season and should continue to see a heavy load with Derrick White remaining sidelined. He’s gone over this rebounding total in five of six games as well. Murray’s only under was in that loss to the Jazz, when a blowout and a nightmare shooting performance cost him some of his usual minutes.

Otherwise he’s averaging 7.6 RPG in the other five games, which is more than two boards over this number.

I’m grabbing this one quickly, because I fully expect either the juice or line to rise before tip or maybe both. At 5.5 rebounds, we have around a 25-percent margin in our favor according to our projections, so I’m playing confidently up to minus-140.

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DeMar DeRozan, Over 5.5 Assists (-127)

Spurs at Clippers Clippers -8.5
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Time 10 p.m. ET

Second time’s the charm?

We played DeRozan’s assist over in the Spurs’ previous game. The number sat at 5.5 assists — just like this line — and I noted that DeRozan had gone over the total in all five of his games on the season. Unfortunately, DeRozan then went out and recorded just four assists and cost us.

A novice bettor stays away angrily. A wise one plays DeRozan right back. The Spurs stunk in that Utah defeat, which is giving us some extra value on both Murray and DeRozan.

DeRozan is averaging 7.3 assists per game and was averaging 8.0 APG before the latest loss. Head coach Gregg Popovich is getting creative again, this time playing a smaller team with DeRozan or Keldon Johnson as small-ball playmaking fours.

It’s another way the team is adapting with White still out, and DeRozan has been putting up big assist numbers in this expanded role.

I won’t be scared off by the four assists in his prior game. Even in an off game, DeRozan was on pace to hit this over in his usual minutes load. I’ll give him another chance here and play this as high as -160 on the number.

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Jusuf Nurkić, Under 9.5 Rebounds (-109)

Bulls at Blazers Blazers -9.5
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Time 10:30 p.m. ET

The Blazers were excited to get Nurkić back after he missed all of last season before the bubble, but it’s become clear that Nurkic is still not quite himself and still recovering after his leg injury.

Nurkić is playing just 24 minutes per game right now — far below his usual run — and that’s even with one outlier game that generated almost 35 minutes. Portland is being careful with Nurkić, with his production not all that great in his limited minutes. He has scored single-digit points in three consecutive games, and had single digit rebounds in four of his six appearances.

That’s the sort of rebounding effort we’re hoping for here, and it’s not just a volume play. Nurkić’s rebounding rate this season is a career low, which matches the eye test. He just looks a half step slow right now, as he continues to find his footing.

The Bulls are a pretty strong rebounding team, which plays at a fast pace. Normally, a higher-paced game would push us toward more rebounds, but in this case, it could push Nurkić off the court if he can’t keep up.

Our Props tool is fading Nurkić’s points as well, recommending both this prop and his under 13.5 points as rated 10 props if you want to double dip.

I’ll stick with just the rebounds, though. Nurkić is averaging one rebound every 3.3 minutes this season, which would push him to 32 minutes to hit this over. I don’t see it happening, so I’ll play the rebounding under to -125.

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