NBA Prop Picks: Bet On Ben Simmons To Dish Out A Lot Of Assists Monday Night
Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Ben Simmons.
- Ben Simmons is listed at only 6.5 assists for Monday's 76ers-Spurs matchup, but the betting market could be underestimating how many he'll dish out.
- Brandon Anderson explains why the over on Simmons' assists total is one of the most valuable NBA prop picks of Monday night's slate.
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.
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 three games:
- Denver Nuggets at Oklahoma City Thunder: 4 p.m. ET on NBA TV
- San Antonio Spurs at Philadelphia 76ers: 8 p.m. ET on NBA League Pass
Let’s dive in.
Nuggets PF Paul Millsap
THE PICK: Over 1.5 assists (+136) and Over 10.5 points (-130) [In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]
The Nuggets continue to be extremely short-staffed so far in the bubble. Gary Harris and Will Barton are still out, and Jamal Murray is doubtful. Denver’s offense runs through Nikola Jokic, of course, but that’s three Nuggets starters missing and their next three most likely handlers and creators.
Millsap is the only other starter playing, and Denver’s dearth of options should leave him in a bigger role, both in minutes and in usage. Millsap played 28.5 minutes in Denver’s re-opener, and that’s where we project him again today, up 16% from his regular-season load. Millsap’s production appears to have faded in Denver, but his per-minute production remains steady.
Using this season’s rates, Millsap would average 13.9 points and 1.8 assists in 28.5 minutes, and that’s before accounting for a likely uptick in usage with Denver so shorthanded. Millsap has always been a nice passer, and we’re getting great value here for just two assists. Our Props tool rates both of these Millsap overs a 10 out of 10.
I’d be happy to play both and will hammer the assists down to +120 and the points to -150 as needed.
Nuggets C Nikola Jokic
THE PICK: Over 7.5 assists (+112)
All in on the Nuggets’ two remaining starters? It makes plenty of sense.
Jokic has basically been playing point guard for the Nuggets in the bubble with all their usual guards missing. He was even the announced PG starter in a scrimmage game, and his minutes were up a tick in the seeding opener too.
No one needs to tell you Jokic is one of the game’s elite passers. He averaged 6.8 dimes in the regular season, down from 7.3 per game last year, and had only six in the opener. But he went over 7.5 in 26 of 66 games this year, and that was with a mostly full Nuggets roster. Put the ball in his hands all game and I’ll take my chances.
Our tool rates this Prop a 10 and we project Jokic at 9.0 assists — all the better that the odds are in our favor. I’ll play this down to even odds and am happy to play it alongside the Millsap props. Our tool also likes Jokic’s over 20.5 points (-116) and rates it a 9, but I like that least of the four Nuggets props.
76ers G/F Ben Simmons
THE PICK: Over 6.5 assists (-148)
So Ben Simmons is a power forward now, apparently. His regular season debut at the position was disappointing, with 19 points and only four assists in 38 minutes at the four, though his rebounds were predictably up to 13. That certainly looks like the line of a typical power forward, and that may make you a bit gun shy on Simmons’s assists.
Don’t let it worry you, though. Simmons recorded nine assists in each of his two “full” scrimmage games, and Shake Milton may be the starting point guard, but that’s in name only. Simmons is still running the offense just like he always has. He averaged 8.1 dimes in the regular season and we project him even higher, at 8.5 today.
I’ll happily float Simmons here as high as -170, and I suspect this line may rise to 7.0 by tip, but I’m pretty content to play that one too.