NBA Player Prop Bets, Picks: Wednesday’s Three Top Selections, Including Kevin Love & Kevon Looney (April 21)
Nic Antaya/Getty Images. Pictured: Cleveland Cavaliers standout Kevin Love.
- Twelve games. Three featured picks.
- Brandon Anderson dives deep into Wednesday's jam-packed NBA card, targeting three player props.
- Check out his angles, including one on Cleveland Cavaliers standout Kevin Love, below and more.
The single most important factor for NBA player props is playing time.
That key component almost always dictates our first lean toward going over or under on a play. More opportunity means more chances for shots, passes and rebounds, but it’s not a guarantee. Our three picks Wednesday are seeing nice upticks in playing time, but only two are producing bigger numbers.
For those who are new to this article, we’ll be using the Action Labs Player Prop tool to compare our NBA projections to the props posted at a variety of sportsbooks. Each bet is then graded on a scale from 1-10, with 10 being the best possible grade.
Below, I have laid out three prop bets that I’m playing, the case for each bet and the best books to find odds on those player props.
NBA Player Props & Picks
Kevon Looney — Over 7.5 Rebounds (-118)
|Warriors vs. Wizards||Warriors -1.5|
|Time | TV||7 pm. ET | League Pall|
Did you know that Steph Curry is not the only member of the Golden State Warriors?
It’s true. Curry has teammates. Some of them are even decent. You’d never know it, and who really cares these days, as he pours in the points and 3-pointers galore. Have you looked at Curry;s props today? His points over/under is at 35.5. You read that correctly: 35.5 points.
His 3-pointers line is an absurd 6.5 on the total. To hit these overs, Curry has to score 36 points on seven 3s, and even crazier, there is no way I’m playing those unders no matter what the Props Tool thinks.
Why? Because I like fun.
However, I’m willing to bet on one of Steph’s teammates. Kevon Looney is playing real minutes again. He has good synergy with Curry and the Warriors need any competent bodies they can find, especially with James Wiseman out for the year and the team desperate for big-man help.
Over the last five games, Looney is playing 28.0 minutes per game, which is quite high for him. He’s averaging 10.0 RPG with at least nine rebounds in every game. Four of these last five outings are also his four highest-minute totals of the year, because his health typically limits him to around 17.0 minutes per game.
Bet on the rebounds that come with more playing time, and let’s just hope Curry misses enough shots for Looney to grab a few rebounds. I’ll play the over to -140 odds.
Kevin Love — Over 14.5 Points (-104)
|Bulls vs. Cavaliers||Bulls -2.5|
|Time | TV||7 p.m. ET | League Pass|
We played Kevin Love successfully Monday and the books haven’t adjusted enough yet, so let’s go back to the well.
Love missed the season opener, played 37.5 minutes in the second Cleveland game, then left injured less than nine minutes into the third contest. He sat for more than two months, came back for 10 minutes in one game and under two the next, then sat another few weeks.
He’s finally back again and he’s playing well. Love has played 10 April games, averaging 13.8 points, 7.7 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 25.3 minutes per game. It’s not particularly exciting and certainly isn’t worth $30 million a season, but that’s water under the bridge now.
Love has scored at least nine points in all but one of those games, which isn’t a particularly high bar until you remember he’s played more than 23 minutes only five times all season. He’s averaging 16.0 PPG in those five games, all of which have come in the last two weeks.
This is a minutes play for Love. He’s, playing a little more now, and the books are starting to adjust but haven’t gone far enough yet. Love’s scoring over is a perfect 5 for 5 in those games with more than 23 minutes. He’s still going to score when he’s out there, and his per-minute numbers are still about in line with the rest of his time in Cleveland.
Bet on the minutes providing enough time for Love to get to 15 points. We project him at 16.3, so we’re getting near even odds. I’ll play to -125 odds.
Theo Maledon — Under 21.5 PTS + RBS + ASTS (-115)
|Thunder vs. Pacers||Pacers -9|
|Time | TV||7 p.m. ET | League Pass|
Theo Maledon is quietly having a very solid rookie season for the Thunder. Oklahoma City moved Maledon into its starting lineup back in January when George Hill got shelved. And Maledon has been there ever since.
He’s started 36 games this season now and looks like a very nice second-round pick. And though Maledon is technically an NBA rookie, this is not his first time in professional ball. He played professionally in Europe before coming to America, and was long expected to be a first-round pick as a well-rounded guard prospect under Tony Parker’s tutelage.
It looks like the Thunder got a steal, but that doesn’t mean Maledon is filling up the box score. In those 36 starts, Maledon is averaging just 11.3 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.6 assists in almost 31 minutes a game. And that’s fine.
There’s nothing wrong with that, but the lack of a standout number is part of why Maledon slipped in the draft. He’s a guy who does a lot of things well without major holes, but he doesn’t have that elite scoring or passing knack to hang his hat on. He has the sort of game that earns quick, steady playing time, but isn’t a guy who will typically put up big numbers or take over the game.
Maledon has scored 14 or fewer points in all, but four games this season. He’s had six or fewer assists in all but two. He’s had between two and four boards in 30 of 52 games. This is a high-floor, low-ceiling player. And that lack of a ceiling is why this is a solid play.
Maledon has gone under 21.5 points + rebounds + assists in 44 of 52 games, hitting this under 85% of the time. If we filter out the games off the bench to be more fair, that drops to 28 out of 36 and is still under in 78% of his starts.
Maledon’s going to play plenty against the Pacers, and he’ll very likely get to at least 15 PRA, like he’s done 30 times already this season. However, the ceiling hasn’t been there and we project him to top out at 18.0 PRA, thus rating this prop a 10 out of 10. I’ll fade the rookie and play the under to -140 odds.