More and more in this strange pandemic-affected season, it’s important to pay close attention to minute loads. Some key players are missing, while others are playing bigger minutes than expected in their stead. Changing minute expectations creates value for us as prop bettors, because nothing creates opportunity like more playing time.
Sometimes that means a star playing bigger minutes than they’re getting credit for, and other times it’s a below-average player in an outsized role. We’ll hit both sides of that today. All that matters in props world is getting that W.
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.
Karl Anthony-Towns, Over 10.5 Rebounds (-115)
|Grizzlies at Timberwolves||Timberwolves -2.5|
|Time||8 p.m. ET|
Karl-Anthony Towns finally returned to the Timberwolves this week, and not a moment too soon for a team that has probably been the worst in the entire NBA without him. The Wolves are a different team with Towns because he does a bit of everything while he’s out there, at least on offense.
KAT’s scoring is down a bit thus far this season — albeit in only four games — but his rebounding is as strong as ever. Towns is at 12.5 RPG thus far, and that’s right in line with his average from 2017-18 and 2018-19. His rebounding rate dropped last year while he dealt with his first serious injury as a pro, but it has bounced right back to his usual numbers again this season.
And lest you worry about Towns playing limited minutes in his return from injury, he’s played more minutes in both his games this week than he did in the opening week. Towns has had 11 rebounds or more in all four games this season, and he’s technically had more rebounds each progressive game than the one before it so far, if you believe in silly linear patterns. Either way, that makes KAT a perfect 4-0 going over 10.5 rebounds this season.
This is also a great spot to hype up our new Props tool at Action Labs. In addition to all the usual projections and prop ratings, one new tool at Beta is the book comparison tool, which shows real time pricing and lines at nine books.
That tool points us to BetMGM here, since KAT’s rebounding line is 11.5 at every other book but a full rebound lower at BetMGM. Make sure you always shop around to find the best odds.
We’ll play Towns here at 10.5 to -130. And if you can’t find that 10.5 line at your book but are getting +110 juice or better at over 11.5 boards, our tool still likes that play too.
Paul George, Over 5.5 Rebounds (-138)
|Clippers at Kings||Clippers -7|
|Time||10 p.m. ET|
When you think about Paul George, you probably think about a whole lot of things before rebounds come to mind. But PG has always been a pretty good rebounder for his position. He’s averaged more than 5.5 RPG every season since his rookie year, other than that six-game bit returning from the horrific Team USA injury he suffered.
George averages 6.4 RPG for his career in 33.5 minutes per game. His minutes have been way up lately too, and should be again tonight with the Clippers shorthanded at guard with Patrick Beverley and Lou Williams looking unlikely to play.
You might think the Clippers would be managing PG’s workload closely after his tough season a year ago, but George is playing huge minutes right now. He’s played at least 38 minutes in six straight games and is averaging 27.5 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 5.3 assists during that stretch, carrying these Clippers as their best player right now.
George’s rebounding totals tend to bounce around a bit, but he’s gone over 5.5 rebounds in seven of 11 games this season, a 64% hit rate on this over. Don’t go crazy here with George’s variance and the possibility of a blowout against the terrible Kings defense limiting PG minutes, but we’re projecting George at 6.9 rebounds and I’ll play the over here to -155.
Cedi Osman, Over 4.5 Assists (+124)
|Knicks at Cavaliers||Knicks -2|
|Time||7:30 p.m. ET|
Over the first six games, Cedi Osman averaged 1.7 assists in 23.6 minutes per game, a non factor on a surprisingly good team. In the six games since, Osman is up to 5.5 assists in 35.2 minutes per game, playing de facto point guard for a terrible team that can’t score.
So what’s the difference? Well, let’s just say those probably are not unrelated correlations. The Cavs were seeing a breakout sophomore campaign from Darius Garland those first six games, but Garland has been out with an injury ever since. Collin Sexton has missed the last four games too, and both Sexland backcourt members will be out again for this one.
The Cavs vs. Knicks games looks really ugly. The over/under for this game opened a hair above 200 and is dropping quickly. The Cavs have gone under in 10 straight games, and these are two of the slowest teams in the league with two of the worst offenses playing two of the best (?!) defenses. Playing an over here is certifiably insane.
And yet, here we are, and I also like Julius Randle over 5.5 assists +100 at DraftKings on the other side of this one. After all, someone has to score some buckets, and someone else is going to assist on those. Our Props tool rates both of these highly, even projecting for an ugly, low-scoring game.
Osman’s assist totals over these past six games are 7, 7, 7, 2, 4, and 6. That’s an over in four of six games, and nearly five of six. Besides, we are getting plus odds here and anyway, I want to get a piece of a game projected to go under 200 points before these go extinct forever. We’re projecting Osman at 5.0 dimes and I’ll play this one to +110.