Monday NBA Player Prop Bets, Picks: Zion Williamson, Bully Ball (Jan. 25)
Photo credit: Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images. Pictured: Zion Williamson
- Our NBA props continue to cash at a high rate thanks to industry-leading projections from our Action Labs team.
- Tonight, we're banking on Zion Williamson's heavy usage, and fading Doug McDermott.
- Get our three favorite props below, and subscribe to Action Labs to get all of our NBA props:
We’re just over a month into the NBA season, and right now our NBA prop plays are at 74-39-2 on the season. We’re hitting nearly two in every three props right now, and every single one of them is coming straight out of the Player Prop tool right here at Action Labs, now up 31.6 units on the season. That’s just about a full unit profit per day.
We’re red hot after a 10-0 stretch the past two days, so be sure you’re following me on the app and grabbing that Action Labs subscription so you can get more than just the three picks in this column.
Let’s see if we can keep our winning streak going riding an equally hot Zion Williamson today. We’ll also take a look at a couple players on the second half of an NBA doubleheader, using recent performances to help inform mismatches we can exploit.
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
Zion Williamson over 23.5 points (-114)
|Spurs at Pelicans||-2.5|
|Time||9 p.m. ET|
Editor’s note: The Spurs-Pelicans game has been postponed due to health and safety protocols.
Zion Williamson is having a mini-breakout before our eyes, and the Pelicans are quickly reshaping around him. For the first few weeks of the season, this looked like Brandon Ingram’s team. Ingram was on the ball a lot, and his playmaking was really taking off, but that meant fewer touches for Zion. In the last few weeks, that’s all changed.
Now the Pelicans are giving Zion the ball with the ultimate green light near the rim and asking him to go to work. Check out Zion’s averages over his past seven games: 26.4 points on 17.0 two-point attempts per game, shooting over 61% from the field. Compare that to Zion’s first seven games of the season, when he was at 20.3 points on 14.0 two-point attempts per game at under 54%.
Zion is getting the ball more and doing it closer to the basket. The number of 2’s he’s taking each game and the rate at which he’s scoring them are virtually unmatched in modern basketball. This is bully ball. Zion is just bullying guys in the paint and using his feathery touch and agility to finish with style.
Those splits were even starker before Zion had an off game against the Wolves his last time out, struggling against Minnesota’s Jarred Vanderbilt, maybe their one good defender. He was at 27.7 PPG on over 65% in the six games before that one.
The Spurs don’t have Vanderbilt, and San Antonio is playing small this season with DeMar DeRozan and Keldon Johnson often spending minutes at the four. Neither of those guys has the strength to handle Zion, so he should have another big night. And after his over/under had leapt to 26.5 his last time out and stolen value from us, the off game against the Wolves bought us value back and made Zion a strong play again.
We’re projecting Zion at 27.0 points even, right in range with this recent dominant stretch. This line is 25.5 at some books, so be sure to use the Props Beta tool to find the best line. We’ll play over 23.5 at FanDuel up to -140.
Bam Adebayo over 5.5 assists (-110)
|Heat at Nets||+7.5|
|Time||7:30 p.m. ET|
Bam Adebayo already broke out in last year’s playoffs. He was the best player on the court in the Eastern Conference Finals and either 1A or 1B to Jimmy Butler the entire postseason for the Heat.
Adebayo’s playoff breakout has continued. He’s being asked to do more than ever with Butler and other Heat players sidelined, and Bam is responding with career-high numbers. He’s up to 20.3 points and 5.5 assists per game, and he’s doing that on a whopping 69% True Shooting. That means Bam is touching the ball more than ever as the offense goes through him, and he’s even better than ever with those touches, creating offense both for himself and for his teammates.
It’s the assists that we’re playing tonight with Butler still missing. Adebayo’s assist rate of 29% is about the same as many NBA point guards, and he’s already had three games this season with at least nine dimes. One of those came his last time out against the Brooklyn Nets, the same team he’ll face again tonight in one of those pandemic doubleheaders.
The Nets have shown no defense to speak of, and DeAndre Jordan has no shot against Adebayo. That should mean plenty of Miami points and another big night from Bam.
Since returning to a shorthanded team after a week away, Adebayo is at 6.2 APG, up even further than his early season numbers. He’s had four, five, six, seven, and nine dimes in those five games, going over in 60% of them and in range on all five.
The James Harden version of the Nets have allowed at least seven assists to the opponent’s leading assist man in every game thus far. Brooklyn’s defense just isn’t going to be very good, and that should let playmakers like Adebayo feast. We’ll play Adebayo’s dimes over to -135. We’re projecting him at 6.3, right in line with his recent play, and it looks like another big night ahead. Grab 5.5 at FanDuel.
Doug McDermott under 4.5 rebounds (-110)
|Raptors at Pacers||-2|
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
Remember Dougie McBuckets? McDermott put up monster numbers at Creighton but has never lived up to the hype in the NBA. He’s never done much of anything at all, really, other than hit feathery 3-pointers at a 41% career clip.
McDermott is a fan favorite in Indiana, but he’s mostly a back-of-the-rotation bench guy. But the Pacers are quite shorthanded right now, so McDermott is playing bigger minutes. Indiana is missing Caris LeVert after trading Victor Oladipo for him, and T.J. Warren is still sidelined with an injury.
Suddenly, McDermott has started the last four games and put up 16.3 points in 33.8 minutes a game. Shooter’s gonna shoot. McDermott will get his fifth start tonight, matching a career-high for an entire season. But even in all those minutes, Indiana’s starting forward is averaging just 4.5 rebounds a game. McDermott has never been a good rebounder in the NBA. It’s just not his game, and playing so far from the basket so he can spot up certainly doesn’t help.
McDermott’s 6.1% career rebounding rate is very low for a forward. That’s ticked up a bit this year, and he does have three games this season with 8+ rebounds after only recording a handful of such games his entire career. Still, Indiana has a pair of stud rebounders in Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner, and the best bet is on McDermott shooting instead of rebounding.
Even projecting McDermott at 32.5 starter minutes again tonight, we’ve got him at just 1.8 rebounds against OG Anunoby, Pascal Siakam, and the red-hot Raptors tonight. McDermott had three boards yesterday against the Raptors and has gone under this line in 10 of 16 games.
With the line at 4.5 and our projection at 1.8, that 29.2% edge in our favor is the highest on our Props tool today. We’ll trust the tool and play to -140.