Thursday’s Best NBA Player Props: Bet on Kawhi Leonard After Load Management?

Thursday’s Best NBA Player Props: Bet on Kawhi Leonard After Load Management? article feature image

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: LA Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard (2).

  • Thursday's NBA schedule features three player props offering value.
  • This piece will focus on Blazers F Kent Bazemore's points, Thunder PG Chris Paul's points, and Clippers F Kawhi Leonard assists.

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:

  • Oklahoma City Thunder at San Antonio Spurs: 8:30 p.m. ET
  • Portland Trail Blazers at Los Angeles Clippers: 10:30 p.m. ET on TNT

Let’s dive in.

Blazers F Kent Bazemore

THE PICK: Under 9.5 points (+110) [In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]

You might have been tempted into think Kent Bazemore was stepping into a bigger role with Portland, especially with their dearth of forwards. Bazemore has been coming off the bench instead, and he’s shooting less than had been in recent seasons — under eight field goal attempts per game.

Bazemore has always been a 3-and-D guy, and he’s being asked to defend more than ever in Portland. All the more reason to expect that against Kawhi Leonard tonight as the only Blazer with even a chance against him. He’ll need to save all his energy for the defensive end.

Bazemore has gone under 9.5 points in five of seven Portland games, so you really just have to hope he doesn’t hit a few of those open 3s he’s bound to get. And they may not be all that open with Leonard around. This is a great play at +110 and worth it to -125 if it gets there.

Thunder PG Chris Paul

THE PICK: Under 15.5 points (+100) [In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]

It has not been a dream start for Chris Paul’s tenure in Oklahoma City. The Point God is posting career lows across the board with 15.6 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 4.7 assists a game, in part because he’s averaging under 30 minutes for the first time in his career.

You know what’s not helpful for a rapidly aging player who has lost a step? Going up against Dejounte Murray, arguably one of the top defensive guards in the league. CP3 has three 20-point games, but has gone under 15.5 in his other four starts, and he just doesn’t look the same.

Our models project Paul at 13.3 points, giving you some margin to play this one up to -125 if needed.

Clippers F Kawhi Leonard

THE PICK: Over 4.5 assists (-106) [In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]

Unlike CP3, Leonard’s putting up career-highs across the board — 29.3 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 5.7 assists per game. Leonard was the big story Wednesday for all the wrong reasons, missing his second start of the season for load management.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Kawhi Leonard

But Kawhi is playing Thursday, and he’s doing so on three days rest, and he’ll get three more days off before going again. That should mean a full minutes load for Leonard, and we already know he’s is productive every second he’s on the floor.

Leonard has been much more of a playmaker with the Clippers, recording five or more assists before falling back his last two games. He has a more all-around game now and should hit that number with ease, making this a good play all the way to -150.

But there’s more. You can also bet Leonard over 7.5 rebounds at +100 and over 27.5 points at -143. Since this is a bet on playing time and Kawhi is rested and has played 34 minutes each of his last two games, that makes all three overs a good play. Our Player Prop tool rates all three props as a 9 or better, so why not play all three and hope they all hit for a monster game?

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