Saturday’s Best NBA Player Props & Betting Picks (Dec. 14): Will James Harden Score 40 Points vs. Pistons?

Saturday’s Best NBA Player Props & Betting Picks (Dec. 14): Will James Harden Score 40 Points vs. Pistons? article feature image

Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13).

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 Friday 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 three of the slate’s seven games:

  • Washington Wizards at Memphis Grizzlies: 7:30 p.m. ET
  • Cleveland Cavaliers at Milwaukee Bucks: 8:30 p.m. ET
  • Detroit Pistons at Houston Rockets: 9 p.m. ET

Let’s dive in.

Wizards F Davis Bertans

THE PICK: Over 5.5 rebounds (-100)

The Wizards are extremely thin in the frontcourt at the moment. Thomas Bryant remains out with an injury, and Moe Wagner has been ruled out for today’s contest, as well. Ian Mahinmi is back in the rotation, but he’s still playing limited minutes. That leaves Bertans and Rui Hachimura to soak up the majority of the playing time.

Bertans is an excellent spot for rebounding vs. the Memphis Grizzlies. This game figures to be one of the fastest-paced of the day, with both teams currently ranking in the top five. Memphis is also a subpar rebounding team, so Bertans should have plenty of opportunities in this contest. We currently have him projected for 33.7 minutes, and Bertans has averaged 5.8 rebounds per 36 minutes this season.

Bertans should be able to outperform his season average on the glass given the matchup and likely bump in playing time. I like the over up to -120.

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Bucks SG Khris Middleton

THE PICK: Over 5 rebounds (-115)

There is a lot to like with Middleton on today’s slate. For starters, this line just seems too low to begin with. He’s averaged 5.6 rebounds per game this season, and he’s logged at least five rebounds in five of his past six games.

The Cavaliers also represent a solid matchup. They’re not bad on the glass — the currently rank 12th in team rebound rate — but they have been a dumpster fire offensively. The Bucks have played at the fastest pace in the league this season, so that should result in plenty of opportunities on the defensive boards.

Middleton should also benefit from the Bucks’ current injury situation. Eric Bledsoe has already been ruled out, while Giannis Antetokounmpo is listed as questionable. The Bucks are playing on the second leg of a back-to-back, so it would make a lot of sense if they decided to give Giannis the night off vs. the lowly Cavs. Middelton has increased his rebound rate by a team-high +4.6% with both Bledsoe and Giannis off the court this season, so this would be an absolute smash spot if both players are ultimately ruled out.

I’m looking to bet this line now because it will likely skyrocket if Giannis is officially ruled out. I would play it up to -150.

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Rockets SG James Harden

THE PICK: Over 39.5 points (+104)

This scoring prop is almost comically high, and yet I still think there is plenty of value on the over. Harden has his detractors, but he is putting together one of the most ridiculous scoring seasons in NBA history. He’s scored at least 54 points in back-to-back games, bringing his season average up to 39.3 points per game. That’s more than anyone has averaged since Wilt Chamberlain all the way back in 1962-63.

There are plenty of reasons for optimism with him today vs. the Bulls. Russell Westbrook will get the night off, and Harden has unsurprisingly dominated with Westbrook off the court this season. He’s increased his usage rate to 48.1% in those situations, and he’s posted a usage rate of 48.5% in two full games without Westbrook. Harden has averaged a ridiculous 46.5 points in those contests.

I think we should all celebrate the brilliance of Harden today by betting the over on his scoring prop. I love it at better than even money, but I’d be willing to play it up to -115.

[In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]

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