Wednesday’s Best NBA Player Props & Betting Picks (Jan. 8): James Harden Is a Scoring Machine
Tim Warner/Getty Images. Pictured: Houston Rockets guard James Harden.
- Wednesday's nine-game NBA slate features three player prop bets providing value
- This piece will focus on Rockets G James Harden, Pelicans F Brandon Ingram, and Knicks F Kevin Knox
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 Wednesday afternoon and via PointsBet, where Action Network users can access an exclusive promotion to get a 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150). No strings attached. No rollover required.
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 nine games:
- Houston Rockets at Atlanta Hawks: 7:30 p.m. ET
- Chicago Bulls at New Orleans Pelicans: 8 p.m. ET
- New York Knicks at Utah Jazz: 9 p.m. ET
Let’s dive in.
Rockets SG James Harden
THE PICK: Over 38.5 points (-115)
Harden is putting together one of the most ridiculous scoring seasons in NBA history. He’s currently averaging 38.4 points per game, and he’s doing it pretty efficiently. His effective field goal percentage (57.0%) represents a new career high, and his average of .44 points per touch ranks third among players averaging at least 25 minutes per game.
Some people will knock Harden’s stats because they think he dominates the ball too much, but keeping it in Harden’s hands has proven to be an effective offensive strategy.
He should have plenty of opportunities to score the ball today with Russell Westbrook out of the lineup. Harden has increased his usage rate to a ridiculous 47.1% with Westbrook off the court this season, resulting in an average of 45.0 points per 36 minutes. He’s also averaged 44.0 points per game in three full contests without Westbrook this season.
Harden shouldn’t find much resistance defensively vs. the Hawks, who rank just 28th in defensive efficiency this season. The Rockets are currently implied for 122.5 points, which is the top mark on the slate by a wide margin.
To put it simply, Harden is one of the most gifted scorers in NBA history, who figures to command a larger workload than usual in an elite matchup. I’m playing the over up to -130.
Pelicans SF Brandon Ingram
THE PICK: Over 6.5 rebounds (+100)
The Pelicans will be without Jrue Holiday for today’s matchup vs. the Bulls, which could open up a few additional minutes for Ingram. He’s coming off 38.9 minutes in his last contest — where he secured eight rebounds — and he’s projected for 37.6 minutes today.
This line is too low if he’s going to play that much. Ingram has averaged a career-high 7.2 rebounds minutes per 36 minutes this season, and the Bulls represent an amazing matchup. They rank just 28th in team rebound rate, so Ingram should be able to find more success than usual on the boards.
I love this prop at even money or better, but I’d be willing to play it up to -120.
Knicks F Kevin Knox
THE PICK: Under 10.5 points (+103)
The Knicks are expected to be pretty shorthanded today. Julius Randle has been ruled out for personal reasons, while Marcus Morris is doubtful. That means Knox should see a few additional minutes and could potentially even move into the starting lineup.
Still, his scoring prop feels high. Knox has scored 10 points or fewer in 28-of-36 games this season, including each of his past seven. He also has a tough matchup vs. the Jazz, who rank eighth in defensive efficiency this season.
We still have Knox projected for just 22.4 minutes on today’s slate, and it seems unlikely that he can score at least 11 points vs. the Jazz over that time frame. I’d play the under up to -125.