Have you seen him?
A minute into the fourth quarter of the NBA season opener, James Harden casually dribbled down the lane and then hit a Joe Harris heading for the hoop. What could have been a layup was dismissed by Brook Lopez on the edge, robbing Harris of two points and Harden of an assist – and ultimately leaving our two Nets to play below instead of more, as we played them.
That’s how tight the margins can be in the NBA, and it’s a good reminder not to panic. The season is a marathon, not a sprint, and we have hundreds and hundreds of props ahead of us this year. We won’t win all bets, not even close. Sometimes like the 76ers, we just need to take a deep breath and trust the process.
These helix lines will be a bit wobbly at first. We don’t know exactly what minutes or roles to expect or even which guys are healthy or playing, and neither do the pounds. Expect the lines to fluctuate a lot as we settle into this first week, but trust your gut when you spot a game you love and jump in before the value wears off.
For those new to this article, we will use the Action Labs Player Prop Tool to compare our NBA projections to props posted on a variety of sportsbooks. Each bet is then rated on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the best possible rating.
Below I have presented three prop bets that I play, the case for each bet, and the best books to find odds on these player props.
NBA player choice and accessories
LaMelo Ball, over 5.5 rebounds (+105)
|Pacers to Hornets||Pacers -1|
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
LaMelo Ball is the reigning Rookie of the Year and what a first campaign it was. He averaged 15.7 points, 5.9 rebounds and 6.1 assists in his debut league season, dazzling crowds with scoring assists every night.
These numbers cloud Ball’s big rookie campaign a bit. During the month of February, LaMelo really stood out. With the Hornets somewhat shorthanded, Ball got extra minutes, playing close to 35 MPG, and he’s jumped to over 20 PPG during that span. Much of this was due to Graham de Devonte’s absence from Charlotte’s custody rotation, and now that Graham has moved on to New Orleans, Ball should be a permanent fixture in Charlotte’s roster with plenty of minutes. .
Ball is a great point guard at 6-foot-6, and he’s a great rebounder for a guard because of his size. He averages a bounce every 4.86 minutes as a rookie. At this rate, he would only need 26.8 minutes to cross that rebound line on average, and it’s obvious he should go a lot longer than that most nights in the future.
As a starter last season, Ball passed 5.5 boards in 17 of his 31 games, covering that line 55% of the time. It was even better in Ball’s last 10 games after coming back from a long injury, when he passed 5.5 rebounds in seven of those 10. And now that we see a stronger, more physical LaMelo in the pre. -season it should have been an even easier time to hang planks.
I think that line is a rebound low and probably hits 6.5 pretty quickly. It’s closer to what I expect from Melo, so that leaves some real value here, especially at more money. We project Ball just 6.5 boards, and I’ll play -120.
Robert Williams, more than 14.5 points + rebounds (-110)
|Celtics at the Knicks||Knicks -1.5|
|Time||7:30 p.m. ET|
Friends, this is Timelord SZN.
Robert Williams has always produced on the pitch. He’s an outrageous athlete, even by NBA standards. Williams swallows full shots on defense, and he jumps in front of his opponents for rebounds or alley oops like he’s playing against college kids there.
The problem was to stay on the ground. Partly because of constant fouling issues and partly because he doesn’t seem to know where to be at times, Williams struggled to get consistent minutes. This led to far too much Tristan Thompson last season in Boston, and that’s probably part of why the Celtics added Al Horford.
But Williams seems more reliable lately and more dynamic than ever, and with Thompson gone and Horford for the season opener, the Celtics have no choice but to give Timelord as many minutes as he can. to manage. And if he has enough time, he will produce and could smash that number.
Williams played at least 22 minutes in 20 games last season. In those 20 games, he’s averaged 19.8 points + rebounds, and he’s topped 14.5 in 18 of the games, covering that line 90% of the time and generally with ease. Williams is starting, and with Enes Kanter and perhaps Grant Williams the only other “big” options on the list, he should have playing time well north of 22 minutes if he can avoid the foul issues.
You never know how those minutes will be with Timelord, but if he plays enough he could easily pass that line by near halftime. You can isolate the points or the rebounds if you prefer, but they’ll come together if he gets the minutes, so I prefer to play them both. At 14.5, I would play down to -175, and I don’t mind playing above 15.5 if it gets there either.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, more than 4.5 assists (+115)
|Jazz to thunder||Jazz -13.5|
|Time | TV||9 p.m. ET|
As I looked back at last year’s data this offseason, one of the overlooked players that jumped out at me was Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. This dude was an absolute star last season – we just collectively forgot to notice him and exaggerate him enough because the Thunder was so terrible and because SGA was way too good to tank properly, so Oklahoma City shut him down. during the last two months.
I think Gilgeous-Alexander could have been one of the top 10 goalies last season. He’s already that good.
If he’s that good, OKC may be stuck with another tricky tanking decision later in the year, but right now Gilgeous-Alexander is on top, and all the numbers from last season assure us that he should play a full charge of minutes when it’s ready to go. So how has SGA performed in the 35 games we had last year? Pretty good. He averaged 23.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and 5.9 assists, and he did so at 22 with a great assist and a very young team around him.
This part has certainly not changed. The Thunder have some intriguing young talents like rookie Josh Giddey and sophomore Aleksej Pokusevski, but SGA is still driving this attack and will get all the touches and use he can handle.
Gilgeous-Alexander saw a big jump in points and assists last year with Chris Paul and Dennis Schroder out of the picture, and that makes sense. Giddey will have a few touches, but he’s a rookie from the international game, so it’s going to be a steep learning curve. SGA will get his and has done very well as a creator already in the preseason, averaging one assist every 4.4 minutes. It’s even better than last season’s breakthrough, when he was down to one cent every 5.7 minutes.
Even at this old pace, anything north of 25 minutes gives us a great chance to overtake, and if the assist rate increases this year, that line will be way too low. SGA topped 4.5 assists in 25 of its 35 games a year ago, covering that number 71% of the time. I think the books are overreacting to Giddey’s presence here. Gilgeous-Alexander will see more than his fair share of the ball, and he’ll show some numbers even against a tough Jazz defense.
This is another line that I think will at least be a higher full help soon enough. And we get it for more money? Looks like OKC isn’t the only one feeling a little dizzy. I will play with any number plus or up to -120.