Friday NBA Player Prop Bets & Picks: Why You Should Back Richaun Holmes, Fade John Collins (Jan. 22)
Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Richaun Holmes.
- Brandon Anderson has been sweating out this week's NBA props, but has a fun trio of picks for Friday's packed NBA slate.
- He's playing points for three starters, and that means a bit more margin for error.
- Check out Anderson's full breakdown for each player prop below.
Friday brings a fun, full slate of NBA action, even with a couple games postponed, and we’re playing some fun props for once too. This week we’ve been sweating many of our props out by playing lines around 1.5, 2.5, 3.5, etc. Those lines can be profitable at times but are prone to variance, and they often lead to a close hit or miss by half an assist or rebound.
Today we’re playing points for three starters, and that means a bit more margin for error. After all, if you’re a few assists short with a minute or two left, you know you’re probably sunk. But you might be down five points and hit a couple 3-pointers in the final minute to flip everything. Points just feel better to play, and they’re easier for our brains to track too.
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
Evan Fournier over 14.5 points (-115)
|Magic at Pacers||Pacers -4|
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
Evan Fournier was a sight for sore eyes for Orlando Magic fans when he finally returned to the court Wednesday night after three weeks away.
The Magic’s offense has been struggling in a massive way. Orlando has been short three starters over the past few weeks with Markelle Fultz and Jonathan Isaac out for the season and Fournier out, as well. The Magic don’t exactly have a ton of offense to begin with, but the team has really struggled to find points with so few options.
Nikola Vucevic has been a monster as a do-everything center. Rookie Cole Anthony has struggled in his transition into a starting role in place of Fultz, though his running game-winning three against the Wolves should add a boost of confidence. Aaron Gordon has turned into somewhat of a point forward with the team lacking playmaking. He’s averaging 6.3 assists per game over his last six and also looks like a solid play at over 4.5 assists here.
But even with those shifting roles, the Magic have simply lacked a scoring punch, and that’s where Fournier comes in. He was a point short of leading the team in scoring a year ago at 18.5 per game, and he should see more shots than ever for a team desperately in need of exactly what he brings to the table.
Even as Fournier shook off the rust, he hoisted a season-high 21 shots in his return, scoring 24 points in 28 minutes, which is a positive number. We’re projecting him at 30 minutes and 17 points, and I think both those numbers could be low. Unless the Pacers blow Orlando out, the Magic will need Fournier to get up shots and I think he could score in the 20s again.
This line is too low and will ramp up quickly as Fournier takes on a much bigger role. I would expect this line to be at least 18.5 points a week or two from now. I’ll happily play Fournier here to -140 at DraftKings.
John Collins under 20.5 points (-110)
|Hawks at Timberwolves||Hawks -6|
|Time||8 p.m. ET|
John Collins has been a reliable 20-10 guy over the past couple years in Atlanta, where those numbers were efficient but not particularly meaningful.
This is a different sort of Hawks team. It’s much more talented, and Collins is seeing his role adjust accordingly. Collins is averaging under 30 minutes a game for the first time since his rookie year. He’s still a starter but his shots and points are down too. He’s taking just 12 field goal attempts per game and averaging 16.7 points. His 2-point attempts are down by almost three per game, and that’s where Collins usually eats, which has in turn reduced his number of trips to the free throw line.
For the Hawks, all of that might end up being better. Collins has been at least passable on defense, and that’s a much more winning balance for this team. But Collins’ numbers are suffering a bit, and we’re going to fade his point total tonight, even in what looks like a high-scoring game against the Wolves.
Collins had a big game his last time out with 31 points, but that was only his third time all season hitting the over here. In fact, Collins has scored 15 or fewer points in nine of his 14 games thus far (64%). And even against Minnesota’s bad defense, Collins will be defended some by Jarred Vanderbilt, one of the few bright spots on the Wolves defense.
We’re projecting Collins at 17.5 points, and I think he may end up under 15 again. There’s a little risk here since both De’Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish are questionable, and with Bogdan Bogdanovic and Danilo Gallinari also out still, that could mean big Collins minutes if all four sit. He did play 43 minutes in Monday’s overtime loss, which helped him get to 31 points.
Even if Hunter and Reddish are both out, I’ll still play but wouldn’t go crazy here. As long as at least one plays, I’ll feel pretty good and play to -140 on DraftKings.
Richaun Holmes over 12.5 points (-110)
|Knicks at Kings||Kings -4|
|Time||10 p.m. ET|
The Kings got a breakout effort down the stretch last season from Richaun Holmes, but it looked like he was set for a more reduced role this season after Sacramento signed Hassan Whiteside.
But Whiteside hasn’t really fit in. He’s had four games of 10 minutes or fewer and has not played entirely in six games, in part due to injury and just not being in the rotation.
Holmes had a nine-game stretch just before the hiatus last spring where he averaged 17.2 points and 10.0 rebounds in 32.8 minutes a game for the Kings. It looks like he’s starting to return to that sort of form. Over his last seven outings, Holmes is back to playing 33.1 minutes a game and his scoring has bounced right back to 15.4 points over that stretch. He’s had at least eight points in all of those games and has scored at least 16 points in five of them.
The Kings have a horrid defense, and Holmes is part of that too, but that’s Sacramento’s M.O. right now. They play fast and look to outrun and gun the other team. That presents an interesting matchup against the Knicks tonight, who slow it down and play tough defense, and that could eliminate some of those easy looks Holmes often gets, but we have a bit of margin of error here.
Holmes has a pretty high floor now, around eight to 10 points, so he should be in range. But with his ceiling in the 20s and his average outcome in the mid- to high-teens when he’s playing this many minutes, this line presents nice value. I’ll play Holmes to -130 on DraftKings and look for another solid outing.