Everyone is doing it – NBA player props, that is. With so many people crossing over from daily fantasy sports to bet on basketball, it’s only natural to see most of them using their skills to hammer the NBA odds board with props instead of (or alongside) the traditional straight bets: spread, moneyline and total.
We can do it, too. I personally have been involved with fantasy sports for over 20 years now, even longer than I’ve been writing about sports betting. The path to riches is the same for both: Look at the projections, see where the market is inefficient, then pounce. It’s all Moneyball, all the way down.
On top of that, we’ll be making the same old-school adjustments as necessary to reflect the expected behavior patterns of the betting public. This means placing extra weight on the Under for most of the common counting-stat props, especially points scored. Casual fans want to see more buckets, not fewer, and they tend to bet on the things they want to see happen.
So, with a little help from my friends here at the ranch, we’ve dug deep, peeled back the layers, and found three props from Saturday’s slate that you might want to put in your NBA picks.
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Dallas Mavericks
Saturday, October 29, 2022 – 09:00 PM EDT at American Airlines Center
In theory, the Under should have maximum betting value for the most popular NBA player props featuring the biggest-name players. That appears to be the case for this matchup, specifically with Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic and his total of 31.5 points.
Projection-wise, Doncic is pegged to score 29.71 points at Fantasy Data, which is well below his real-life average of 36.3 points through four games – but that average is almost certainly unsustainable, and includes last Thursday’s overtime win over the Brooklyn Nets, where Doncic piled in his season-high (thus far) of 41 points.
The Thunder might be headed for the draft lottery again, but they do rank No. 10 overall in defensive efficiency at 106.5 points allowed per 100 possessions as we go to press.
And they are one of the slower teams in the league at 94 possessions per game (No. 24). Grind it out, my Okie friends.
Miami Heat vs. Sacramento Kings
Saturday, October 29, 2022 – 06:00 PM EDT at Golden 1 Center
Our next matchup is in Sacto, where the veteran Heat are no doubt licking their chops in anticipation of the always-rebuilding Kings. Our target here is Miami center Bam Adebayo, who’s looking at a total of 8.5 rebounds for this matchup at the best sportsbooks.
We’re taking the Over here, even though there isn’t a lot of obvious wiggle room with Adebayo projected for 8.57 rebounds at Fantasy Data. This is Sacramento we’re talking about; through four games, they rank No. 25 in offensive rebound percentage at Basketball Reference, which means Adebayo (8.3 boards per game) should get plenty of opportunities to clean the glass.
To be fair, Sacramento also rank fourth overall in defensive rebound percentage, but opportunities are generally scarcer at that end of the court. Also, backup Heat center Dewayne Dedmon is iffy for Saturday with plantar fasciitis, so Adebayo’s services will be even more in demand.
NBA Pick: Bam Adebayo Over 8.5 Rebounds (-126) at Bovada
We’re sticking with that Heat-Kings matchup for one of the more obscure player props on the market: Total Steals. In this case, our main man is Miami backup SF Caleb Martin, and we’re going Over 1.5 for what should be a payday of around +150.
Steals are high-variance stats in basketball, and we’re dealing with a very small number here, so don’t be too alarmed about Martin’s projection of 0.65 steals at Fantasy Data – other sites have Martin closer to his actual total.
Focus instead on Martin’s opponents. The Kings rank No. 16 in turnover percentage, with PG De’Aaron Fox the most frequent offender at 4.3 per game. Fox also has Sacramento’s highest usage rate, so Martin (1.8 steals in 27.6 minutes per game) should get his hands on the ball at least once this Saturday, if not twice or more. Bet accordingly, and may the sphere be with you.
NBA Pick: Caleb Martin Over 1.5 Steals (+170) at the Best Sportsbooks
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.