NBA Props To Bet Sunday: Aaron Gordon, Kyle Kuzma, More
Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Kyle Kuzma.
- Only four games on the NBA schedule for Sunday, but still plenty of player prop options.
- Among the plays for Sunday are the newly acquired Gary Trent Jr. and Aaron Gordon.
- Daniel Titus makes his picks for those players -- plus a Laker -- below.
The NBA schedule is pretty light today, with only a handful of games beginning at 1 p.m. with the Suns visiting the Hornets. Like most weeks, today’s props are plucked from the later matchups of the slate. And with such a small sample size, I’ll include one prop from each of the three later games between the Blazers-Raptors, Hawks-Nuggets and Magic-Lakers.
There is some revenge game narrative at stake in the Blazers-Raptors game, as Gary Trent Jr. and Rodney Hood were traded for Norman Powell at the deadline just a few days ago.
For those who are new to this article, we’ll be using the Action Labs 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
Gary Trent Jr. Under 15.5 points (-113)
|Blazers vs. Raptors||Raptors +1.5|
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
The third-year pro gets his first matchup against his former team, the Portland Trail Blazers. Trent filled in admirably for C.J. McCollum during his 25-game absence, averaging 17.6 points, 2.4 rebounds, and 1.6 assists as a starter for Portland this season. However, he’s been shipped to Toronto and now he’ll be playing in his second game as a Raptor.
In his first contest with his new squad, Trent attempted 11 shots, converting four and finishing with eight points in 31 minutes. Seeing 31 minutes in his debut is a great sign for his long-term outlook as the Raptors clearly view him as their starting small forward. Despite the jersey swap, he’s still in the midst of a poor shooting stretch, as he’s shot only 32% from the field over his past five games.
He also finds himself as the fourth option on the Raptors roster after becoming the second-leading scorer and option for the Blazers with McCollum out of the lineup. The change in scenery will take time to adapt, and his 15.5-point line appears optimistic given the circumstances. Make no mistake, Trent can light up the net in a hurry and is a proven threat from beyond the arc, but I’m going under here as I don’t believe he’s had enough time to integrate into the Raptors’ system. Our projections have Trent scoring 14.4 points, right around his seasonal averages across 42 games this season.
Aaron Gordon under 15.5 points (-133)
|Hawks vs. Nuggets||Nuggets -4.5|
|Time||9 p.m. ET|
The Nuggets pulled off quite the deal to acquire Aaron Gordon. They maintained their core players while only giving up the oft-injured Gary Harris, R.J. Hampton and a 2025 first-round pick. Denver is now loaded with a scary starting lineup that offers a lot of versatility, length and athleticism. Michael Porter Jr. has another weapon to disguise his shortcomings on the defensive side of the floor, and adding Gordon only improves the outlook for Denver. It’s not like Denver couldn’t use the help. According to NBA Advanced Stats, the Nuggets rank 20th in defensive efficiency rating this season (112.0).
Gordon will earn his first start for his new franchise against Atlanta, slotting in as the new small forward in Denver. While this is an ideal landing spot for Gordon to accumulate wins, I don’t think he can sustain his scoring volume as a member of such a deep roster.
He comes over after putting up 14.6 PPG this season with the Orlando Magic. Like Trent, I’m not trusting Gordon’s seamless integration into the Nuggets’ offense. He’ll, at best, be the fourth option in Denver. Gordon is only attempting 11.7 shots per contest, shooting a woeful 43.7% from the field. However, his 3-point shooting has improved drastically. He’s making 38% of his 3-point attempts, nearly 6% above his career average of 32.3%. Despite his improvement from three, Paul Millsap and JaMychal Green are both capable forwards who will still be active members of Denver’s rotation.
I don’t see much opportunity for Gordon to be a true scoring asset for the Nuggets this early, and I can’t prescribe to him magically scoring over 15.5 points. According to Fansure.com, he’s failed to exceed 15.5 points in eight of his last 10 games, with an average of 14 points per game over that span. That also includes his season-high 38-point performance against the Nets. Our projections have Gordon scoring 13.2 points with a bet quality rating of 7 out of 10 for the under.
Kyle Kuzma over 8.5 rebounds (-113)
|Magic vs. Lakers||Lakers -6.5|
|Time||10 p.m. ET|
News just broke of Andre Drummond signing with the Lakers, so the time to cash in on Kuzma’s rebounding prop is now. Kuzma is fortunate to face an Orlando Magic team that no longer has Nikola Vucevic and Aaron Gordon in the frontcourt. He’s stepped up his all-around game as of late, averaging 15.0 points with 9.0 rebounds and 4.7 assists in his past three games.
Kuzma and Montrezl Harrell have been the main rebounders for the Lakers, and tonight, he’ll be banging up against rookie Chuma Okeke, Khem Birch and James Ennis. Several Magic players are questionable for tonight’s bout, including Otto Porter Jr., Gary Harris, Wendell Carter Jr. and Terrence Ross. The timing couldn’t be better for Kuzma to clean the glass.
The Magic are unsurprisingly one of the worst offensive teams in the NBA. Over the past 10 games, Orlando ranks 29th in offensive efficiency (105.4), 28th in eFG% (50.6) and 25th in pace (96.6) according to NBA Advanced Stats. They achieved all of these stellar metrics with a two-time All-Star onboard (Vucevic), so imagine how bad this team will perform without him.
The Lakers are favored by 6.5 points, with a game total of 208.5 (lowest of Sunday’s slate). This game is tracking as an ugly affair that will likely result in plenty of rebounding opportunities for Kuzma — a guy who’s seen his minutes rise to more than 35 minutes per game over his last five contests.
Kuzma has proven to be a better rebounder at home, against sub .500 teams, as he’s raised his rebounding rate to more than 7.2 per contest in both scenarios. With the added playing time against one of the worst offensive teams in the league, we project Kuzma to pull down 9.7 rebounds, giving this prop a bet quality rating of 9 out of 10.
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