Best NBA Player Props & Betting Picks (Thursday, Jan. 9): The Best Way to Bet Russell Westbrook in His OKC Return
Cato Cataldo/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Russell Westbrook
Betting on props can be one of the easiest ways to build your bankroll. Sportsbooks tend to offer lower limits and take less action on props than they do on games, so they don’t have as much incentive to post an accurate line.
That’s where our Player Prop tool comes in handy. We compare our industry-leading NBA projections to the props posted at a variety of sportsbooks to identify the best plays each day. Each bet is then graded on a scale from 1-10, with 10 being the best possible grade.
Odds as of Thursday afternoon. Check out PointsBet, where Action Network users can access an exclusive promotion to get a 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150).
How about a little reminder on just how impressively these bets did last season? Props with a Bet Quality of 10 posted a win rate of 60.31%, and props with a Bet Quality of nine won at a 58.82% clip.
As is the case with most sports, betting on unders proved to be more profitable than betting on overs last season:
- Unders with a Bet Quality of 10: 341-172 (66.47%)
- Unders with a Bet Quality of 9: 457-273 (62.6%)
- Unders with a Bet Quality of 8: 898-589 (60.39%)
- Unders with a Bet Quality of 7: 1447-1086 (57.13%)
- Unders with a Bet Quality of 6: 1992-1663 (54.95%)
Overall, if you just blind bet every under with a Bet Quality of eight or higher, you would’ve won at a 62.1% clip on more than 2,700 bets.
Tonight’s props come from two of the slate’s four games:
- Cleveland Cavaliers at Detroit Pistons: 7:00 p.m. ET
- Houston Rockets at Oklahoma City Thunder: 9:30 p.m. ET on TNT
Let’s dive in.
Rockets PG Russell Westbrook
THE PICK: Over 7.5 rebounds (-133) [In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]
Russell Westbrook is finally returning to Oklahoma City to play his first game there since leaving the franchise this summer. Maybe you heard.
All eyes will be on Westbrook as he makes his return. He sat out last night to be healthy and ready for this one, and the arena will be rocking. Westbrook’s usage is down a bit this year, and his counting numbers have taken a step back. James Harden is the numbers monster now, and the nightly triple-doubles for Westbrook have waned.
Doesn’t it feel like tonight might be a throwback to Russ’s old OKC days? The last time Russ played with extra motivation, it was when Kevin Durant left and Westbrook averaged a triple-double for an entire season. Rebounding is about effort as much as anything, and Russ is going to want to grab and go. He’s averaging 7.9 rebounds even in a “down” season. Add in a few extra minutes on the court and some extra bounce in his step, and it’s easy to see why our model has him at 9.5 boards.
Personally, I’m grabbing the Westbrook Over 24.5 points too and looking for a throwback game, but our model doesn’t love that one. It rates his rebounds a 10 out of 10, and I’m riding this one hard all the way to -175.
Rockets F P.J. Tucker
THE PICK: Under 7.5 rebounds (-127) [In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]
One man’s gain is another man’s loss. Rebounding is a zero sum game. Russell Westbrook and P.J. Tucker play a ton of minutes together, and they can’t both get the same rebound (and you know darn well which guy is getting the board if they get there at the same time). Every extra Russ board is one less rebounding opportunity for Tucker.
Tucker is coming off a monster 17-rebound game against Atlanta but averaging right at 7.5 on the season, a career-high. He’s only gone over this line in 15 of 36 games, with a median outcome of seven and a most common total of five. That’s about where our model is leaning at 5.6 boards projected, and I’ll play Tucker’s rebounding under with the Russ over going for the double whammy. Play Tucker up to -150.
Pistons SG Tony Snell
THE PICK: Under 8.5 points (+100)
Tony Snell is averaging 8.1 points a game for the Pistons, his highest total in three seasons. Not coincidentally, he’s also playing his highest minutes per game since that season with all the Pistons injuries. In fact, Snell just scored 18 points two days ago against this very Cavaliers team.
So why under? Like many other 3-and-D wings, Snell’s point total is all about whether or not he’s knocking down 3s. Snell has scored over 8.5 points 15 times this season, and he’s made at least two 3s in every one of them. But if you look at just games with two or fewer 3s made, Snell is over 8.5 points in only five of 24 such outings.
All we’re really doing here is fading Snell’s 3-point shooting, and that feels just fine, even for a guy averaging a career-best 1.9 threes a game this season. The plus-money odds are in our favor, too so I’m grabbing that juice or playing Snell to -125 as needed.