Best NBA Player Prop Bets: Will Deandre Ayton Dominate the Boards?
Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (22).
- Tuesday was the appetizer for NBA prop betting season, but Wednesday's 11-game slate is the main course.
- This piece will focus on prop bets providing value for Grizzlies PG Ja Morant, Nets C DeAndre Jordan, Knicks PG Dennis Smith Jr. and Suns C Deandre Ayton.
NBA prop betting season is officially open for business.
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 the Player Prop tool comes in handy. We compare our NBA projections to the props posted at a variety of sportsbooks to identify the best plays each day. Each play is then graded on a scale from 1-10, with 10 being the best possible grade.
Odds as of Wednesday 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 did these bets do last season? Pretty damn well, actually. 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.
Let’s shift the focus to this season. Tonight’s props focus on four of the slate’s 11 games:
- Memphis Grizzlies at Miami Heat: 7:30 p.m. ET
- Minnesota Timberwolves at Brooklyn Nets: 7:30 p.m. ET
- New York Knicks at San Antonio Spurs: 8:30 p.m. ET
- Sacramento Kings at Phoenix Suns: 10:00 p.m. ET
The prop tool currently has a whopping 39 props with a Bet Quality of at least nine, but these four stand out as my personal favorites.
Grizzlies PG Ja Morant
THE PICK: Over 13.5 points (-110)
If the preseason is any indication, Morant is going to have a pretty smooth transition from college to the NBA. He didn’t shoot the ball particularly well, especially from 3-point range, but he still averaged 11.2 points over 21.9 minutes per game. More importantly, his usage rate of 25.9% ranked first on the team.
It is somewhat rare for a rookie to score at least 14 points in his debut — only 20 players have done it over the past five seasons — but Morant has the potential to be special. That said, I still wouldn’t play this at higher than -120 odds.
Nets C DeAndre Jordan
THE PICK: Under 9.5 points (-115)
Jordan was an important signing for the Nets during the offseason. Not necessarily because of his on-court ability — he’s coming off a pretty mediocre season — but because of his relationships with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. If the Nets didn’t carve out a space for DJ, it’s possible that neither star player would’ve ultimately signed there.
Jordan should find himself in much more of a timeshare than he’s used to this season. The Nets already have a promising young center in Jarrett Allen, who can do some Jordan-esque things like protect the rim and rebounding. He’s also just 21 years old, so his development should be more important than finding a big chunk of minutes for Jordan.
We currently have Jordan projected for just 22 minutes, and it’s going to be hard for him to hit the over on his scoring prop in such limited playing time. I’d play the under up to -130.
Knicks PG Dennis Smith Jr.
THE PICKS: Under 13.5 points (-135) & Under 3.5 assists (+125)
The Knicks roster is one of the weakest in the league, but they still have plenty of options in the backcourt. Smith Jr. is expected to draw the start at PG, but that doesn’t mean he’s going to play a ton of minutes. Elfrid Payton and Frank Ntilikina will definitely factor into the rotation, and R.J. Barrett will need the ball in his hands as well. Overall, we’re projecting Smith Jr. for just 23 minutes of playing time in his first contest.
He also has a brutal matchup vs. Dejounte Murray. Murray missed all of last season with an ACL injury, but he was one of the best defensive PGs in the league in 2017-18. He ranked first out of 71 qualifiers at the position in Defensive Real Plus-Minus (DRPM), so Smith Jr. has his work cut out for him tonight.
This combination of matchup and reduced opportunity is a match made in under heaven. I would play the under on this scoring prop up to -150 and the under on his assist prop at anything better than even money.
Suns C Deandre Ayton
THE PICK: Over 9.5 rebounds (-134)
This number seems disrespectful to Ayton, who averaged 10.3 rebounds in just 30.7 minutes per game as a rookie. He logged at least 10 rebounds in 40 of 70 games (57.1%), and he grabbed at least 10 boards in 64.2% of games he played at least 29 minutes. He should see an increase in playing time in his second year, and he’s currently projected for 33.1 minutes in the FantasyLabs NBA Models.
This game vs. the Kings should also be excellent from a rebounding perspective. Both of these teams played very fast last season, and a fast pace leads to increased shot volume. The Kings also weren’t particularly effective on the glass, ranking just 24th in team rebound rate.
I prefer betting unders on props, but this line is simply too low considering the matchup. I’d play the over up to -160.