Freedman’s Favorite Elite 8 Player Props for Kentucky-Auburn & Duke-MSU
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Kentucky Wildcats forward PJ Washington (25).
- Matthew Freedman continues his series featuring his favorite prop bets for each day of 2019.
- He runs through Sunday's NCAA Tournament slate to highlight props he likes in Kentucky-Auburn & Duke-Michigan State.
Each day, I publish 1-2 pieces highlighting props I like. See my master list of 2019 prop bets for more information.
In this piece, I’m looking at NCAA Tournament player props for Sunday’s Elite 8 games. NOTE: I might update this piece as more lines are released.
For March Madness, I am 81-46-5 (+23.5) on player props. Over the last two days, I am 27-4-2 (+17.83). This type of performance is unsustainable, but I’m going to keep firing at these props as long as they’re exploitable. Shooter’s shoot.
If you want more information, check out the piece on my March Madness prop-betting strategy.
You also should look at our live betting odds page for up-to-the-minute lines.
2019 Year-to-Date Record
431-333-18, +67.07 Units
- NFL: 21-13-0, +11.72 Units
- NBA: 224-169-4, +33.10 Units
- NHL: 66-80-7, -7.57 Units
- MLB: 7-6-1, -0.26 Units
- Golf: 4-7-1, -2.35 Units
- NASCAR: 5-8-0, -1.70 Units
- NCAAB: 81-47-5, +22.50 Units
- NCAAF: 0-1-0, -1.00 Units
- Exotic: 23-2-0, +12.64 Units
#2 Kentucky vs. #5 Auburn
- Spread: Kentucky -4.5
- Over/Under: 141.0
- Location: Kansas City, Mo.
- Time: 2:20 p.m. ET
- TV: CBS
NOTE (UPDATED): Player props for Auburn were not posted until closer to game time due to forward Chuma Okeke’s knee injury. I have added an Auburn prop below.
Kentucky F P.J. Washington: Over 6.0 Rebounds (-114)
UPDATE (10:45 a.m. ET): Over 15.0 points (+114) – I’m adding this prop to my card. I have Washington projected for 15.2 points. He’s first on the team with 14.8 points per game and likely to see more playing time.
After missing the first two games of the NCAA Tournament with a foot injury, Washington returned to action in the Sweet 16 and saw 26 minutes of playing time off the bench. It’s hard to know if he’s 100% healthy, but he looked like his usual self.
The sophomore leads the Wildcats with 7.4 rebounds on 29.0 minutes per game, and I think it’s likely that he’ll see more minutes against the Tigers: Over his past 10 games, Washington has averaged 31.1 minutes.
In addition to the probability of more playing time, Washington has two factors in his favor. First, the Tigers will be without Okeke, who leads Auburn with 6.8 rebounds. The Tigers could struggle on the glass without him.
Also, using Vegas lines and past team data (which include Okeke’s numbers), we’ve projected Kentucky to have 38.6 rebounds, which is almost identical to their seasonal average of 38.7 per game. The Wildcats should have the usual number of rebounds to go around, and they could have even more with Okeke injured.
I’m projecting Washington for 8.0 rebounds, so I see massive value in this line.
Kentucky F Reid Travis: Over 10.5 Points (-114)
UPDATE (10:45 a.m. ET): Over 8.0 rebounds (+114) – I’m adding this prop to my card. I have Travis projected for 8.4 rebounds. He’s second on the team with 7.2 per game and likely to see more playing time: In the NCAA Tournament, he has 10.3 rebounds on 32.7 minutes per game.
The fifth-year senior is just fourth on the team with 11.3 points per game and fifth with 28.1 minutes, but he’s capable of having a strong performance against Auburn.
Without Okeke to man the middle of their defense, the Tigers are at a significant disadvantage in the interior: Travis might have more success scoring than he otherwise would.
Plus, Travis has enjoyed a recent increase in playing time. In the NCAA Tournament, he has averaged 32.7 minutes per game, compared to the 27.7 minutes he saw in the regular season.
Travis has played at least 26 minutes in each of his three NCAA Tournament games, and this year in his 21 games with 26-plus minutes he’s averaged 12.4 points per game.
UPDATE (10:45 a.m. ET): Kentucky G Tyler Herro: Over 15.0 Points (+110)
I’m adding this prop to my card. I have Herro projected for 15.1 points. He’s second on the team with 14.2 points on 32.5 minutes per game, and I’m expecting him to get more playing time. In his five postseason games, Herro has averaged 36.2 minutes.
UPDATE (1:00 p.m. ET): Kentucky G Keldon Johnson: Under 1.5 Made 3-Pointers (+100)
I’m adding this prop to my card. I have Johnson projected for 1.2 made 3-pointers. For the season, he’s averaged 1.3 per game.
UPDATE (1:00 p.m. ET): Auburn G Jared Harper: Under 2.5 Made 3-Pointers (+100)
I’m adding this prop to my card. I have Harper projected for 2.1 made 3-pointers.
#1 Duke vs. #2 Michigan State
- Spread: Duke -2
- Over/Under: 150.5
- Location: Washington D.C.
- Time: 5:05 p.m. ET
- TV: CBS
NOTE (UPDATED): Player props for Duke were not posted until closer to game time due to forward Cam Reddish’s knee injury. I have added Duke props below.
Michigan State F Xavier Tillman: Over 7.5 Rebounds (-114)
UPDATE (1:15 p.m. ET): Under 3.5 free throws (+100) – I’m adding this prop to my card. The X-Man is averaging just 2.4 free throws per game, and I have him projected for 2.7.
I really like this prop for Tillman, who is second on the team with 7.2 rebounds per game.
Based on the matchup and Vegas lines, we’re projecting the Spartans for 40.9 rebounds, which is just a shade beneath their seasonal average of 41.4 per game. Michigan State should have its usual rebounding opportunities.
As for Tillman, since his late-February addition to the starting lineup, he’s been a significant contributor, and his splits are telling.
- Starter (12 games): 28.3 minutes, 8.0 rebounds
- Reserve (25 games): 21.2 minutes, 6.9 rebounds
In his Sweet 16 game, Tillman played 31 minutes, and with his enhanced playing time, I have him projected for 8.8 rebounds against Duke.
Michigan State F Nick Ward: Under 5.0 Rebounds (-114)
UPDATE (1:15 p.m. ET): Under 9.5 points (-130), Under 15.5 points, rebounds & assists (-130) – I’m adding these props to my card. Since moving to the bench, Ward’s playing time has plummeted, and he’s averaged just 6.6 points, 3.6 rebounds and 0.1 assists per game as a reserve.
As Tillman’s role has grown, Ward’s has shrunk. For the season he’s averaging 6.1 rebounds per game, so the over might look tempting, but Ward could struggle to grab five boards.
Although he started for most the year, Ward moved to the bench at the beginning of the postseason, and his splits are drastic.
- Starter (25 games): 23.3 minutes, 6.8 rebounds
- Reserve (7 games): 14.1 minutes, 3.6 rebounds
In not one postseason game has Ward played more than 20 minutes. With his decreased playing time, I have Ward projected for just 3.9 rebounds.
UPDATE (10:45 a.m. ET): Michigan G Cassius Winston: Over 2.0 Made 3-Pointers (+120)
I’m adding this prop to my card. I have Winston projected for 2.3 made 3-pointers. He’s first on the team with 2.2 on 33.2 minutes per game, and I’m expecting him to get more playing time. In the NCAA Tournament, Winston has averaged 36.7 minutes per game.
UPDATE (1:15 p.m. ET): Michigan G Cassius Winston: Over 8.0 Assists (+115)
I’m adding this prop to my card. I have Winston projected for exactly 8.0 assists. He leads the team with 7.6 assists per game on the season, and I expect him to get more playing time than he usually does.
UPDATE (1:30 p.m. ET): Duke F R.J. Barrett: Over 21.0 Points (-115)
I’m adding this prop to my card. I have Barrett projected for 23.4 points. For the season, he’s averaged 22.7 points on 35.2 minutes per game, and I expect him to play more today: He’s played 39 and 40 minutes over his past two games.
UPDATE (1:30 p.m. ET): Duke F Zion Williamson: Over 25.0 Points (-115), Over 8.0 Rebounds (-115), Over 3.5 Free Throws (-130)
I’m adding this prop to my card. I have “Milk & Honey” projected for 26.9 points, 10.3 rebounds and 4.8 free throws. I expect him to play almost the entire game, if not all 40 minutes. There’s basically no way I’m not going heavy on Zion in this situation.
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