NBA Player Prop Bets & Picks for Saturday: Steph Curry is Dishing Out Dimes, His Teammate is Not (Jan. 23)
Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Steph Curry drives to the hoop.
Steph Curry is back.
That’s been one of the stories of the NBA season thus far, and Curry has been lighting up ESPN SportsCenter and carrying the Golden State Warriors to an 8-7 record, even despite getting precious little help from his teammates.
We’re playing Curry in a tough matchup Saturday against the Utah Jazz, and we’ll grab one of his teammates, too. It’s a tough props day, with so many stars questionable and props coming out later than usual, so we’ll have to dig a bit deeper.
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
Steph Curry, Over 5.5 Assists (+118)
|Warriors at Jazz||Jazz -7.5|
|Time||9 p.m. ET|
Curry is averaging 28.2 points a game and putting up one highlight reel after another this season, and that’s even with him shooting at sub-standard percentages by his own lofty measure.
Already this season, we’ve seen Steph drop 62 in a huge win over the Blazers and score 30 or more points seven times. He had 38 points and 11 assists in a surprising win over the Clippers and had that huge step-back three over Anthony Davis late in a win over the Lakers earlier this week.
Curry has been the bellwether of the Warriors’ success this season. When he scores 30 or more, Golden State is 5-2. When he goes under 30, the Warriors drop to 3-5, with two of those wins coming by a single bucket.
Those sub-30 nights have something else in common: A lot of them are against the league’s best teams. Curry’s lowest scoring nights this season have come against the Raptors, Clippers, Bucks, Pacers, Nets and Lakers. Against the best teams in the league, Curry’s shooting and scoring have faltered. On Saturday, the Warriors play the Jazz, who might be the hottest team in the league. Utah has won seven straight and ranks in the top seven on both offense and defense.
There’s another pattern worth noticing in those games. When Curry’s shots aren’t falling, he turns into more of a passer. In seven of the eight games where he scored fewer than 30 points, Curry has recorded at least five assists, and he’s averaging 6.2 APG in those games and has gone over 5.5 in five of them. When Curry’s shots are falling, he’s much more selfish with the ball, with three of his four lowest assist games of the season.
The Jazz have been playing nasty defense again this season, and I like them to dare Curry to let someone else on his team beat them, since there’s a pretty good chance they can’t. That’s the smart game plan for good defensive teams with Kelly Oubre Jr., Andrew Wiggins and other Warriors proving unreliable.
Curry has at least five assists in 11 of 15 games, so he’s very likely going to be within shouting distance of this prop. This is a play on the Jazz defense bothering Steph’s shooting and turning him into more of a passer. Curry has hit the over on this prop 60% of the time this season, and we’re projecting him at 6.4 dimes and getting plus juice. I’ll play to even odds.
Kelly Oubre Jr., Under 1.5 Assists (-112)
|Warriors at Jazz||Jazz -7.5|
|Time||9 p.m. ET|
Kelly Oubre Jr. is a lot of things. He’s fun. He’s entertaining. He’s wild and unpredictable. He has a super goofy nickname in Wave Papi, or maybe that’s Tsunami Papi now. Oubre is athletically gifted, and he’s a streaky shooter that can get hot.
He is not a good passer.
Oubre’s career assist rate is 5.8%, which is checks notes not great. He averages 1.9 assists per 100 possessions and one assist every 25.7 minutes for his career, and his assist rate has been even lower this season as he has struggled to fit in with the Warriors.
Oubre is playing better of late, and he’s still getting plenty of minutes because the Warriors don’t exactly have a lot of other options. Even so, Oubre has had zero assists in more than half his games with the Warriors. That’s eight of 15 games. He’s gone under 1.5 dimes in 60% of his outings, and for whatever reason, when he does get an assist, he tends to get a few. Last season, Oubre went under 1.5 assists in 30 of 56 games, but he’s been even more sporadic with the Warriors.
All the better for this prop that we’re expecting more assists than usual from Curry and that the Jazz are a very good defensive team that shouldn’t give Oubre many chances at an easy assist.
We’re projecting Oubre at 1.1 dimes, and this 17% edge in our favor ranks top five among our plays for the day at the Props Beta tool. I’ll take a shot here up to -125.
Naz Reid, Under 6.5 Rebounds (-155)
|Pelicans at Timberwolves||Pelicans -8|
|Time||8 p.m. ET|
Naz Reid continues to start at center for the Minnesota Timberwolves while Karl-Anthony Towns is sidelined, and it’s not going particularly well for the Wolves. Minnesota now ranks in the bottom three in both Offensive and Defensive Efficiency. The Wolves are barely even an NBA team without Towns on the court. They haven’t played defense since about the Kevin Garnett era, and in Minnesota’s effort to put some decent defenders out there like Josh Okogie and Jarred Vanderbilt, the team is sacrificing what little offense it had left and ending up with nothing much on either end.
Reid was a nice undrafted find for the Wolves a year ago and looks like a decent bench guy. He’s a gifted post player, though not particularly explosive athletically, and that lack of explosion has kept Reid from being much of a rebounder in the NBA, where he’s just not as athletic as the guys against whom he’s matching up.
Reid is averaging just one rebound every 5.0 minutes on the court this season, and that’s not going to cut it as a starting center, especially for a team playing relatively small. Reid is also playing more of his minutes lately next to Vanderbilt, who is an elite rebounder.
The matchup Saturday is also not in Reid’s favor. The Pelicans are an elite rebounding team that packs the paint on both ends, and Reid will have to contend with Steven Adams and Zion Williamson in the paint, along with Vanderbilt.
I just don’t see many boards for Reid. He is averaging 5.5 boards in six starts for the Wolves this year, playing 25.7 minutes per game. Reid has gone under 6.5 rebounds in 10 of 14 games this season, including four of his six starts. He also tends to get into easy foul trouble and I think that could be another limiting factor.
This isn’t the sexiest play on the board, but winning is sexy enough for me. I’ll play the Naz under to -170.