It’s one of those NBA days where it feels like half the league is listed as questionable, so we’re digging deep today with three names many fans may not be particularly familiar with. Two of our three lines are at just 0.5 too, with one over and one under we’ll be sweating all game.
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
Frank Jackson, under 19.5 points (-121)
|Pistons vs. Hornets||Charlotte -7.5|
|Time | TV||7 p.m. ET | League Pass|
Frank Jackson has played 154 career NBA games. He’s scored 20 or more points in exactly 11 of them. That’s the line we’re playing with here, and it’s just far too delicious to pass up.
Oh sure, the Pistons have basically no one left on the team and someone has to score, but do they really? Jackson isn’t even starting for Detroit, even with all their absences, so he has to score 20 points off the bench in limited minutes.
Over the last 10 games, Jackson is averaging 23.6 minutes per game and his scoring is up to 13.7 PPG. It’s quite respectable, honestly. That includes three games with limited minutes when Detroit played more of its veterans and Jackson scored nine, three and zero points. Take those three games out and suddenly Jackson is up to 17.9 PPG in 26.6 MPG, and this line makes a little more sense.
But still not enough.
Jackson scored at least 14 points in each of those other seven games, but he also tapped out at 20, hitting that number twice and never crossing it. He’s hit this 20-point over three times in 34 games this season, and he’s scored 20 or more off the bench only five times in his career.
We project Jackson at 27.9 minutes and 14.0 minutes. And that’s good! Honestly! We should be celebrating a guy who’s finally finding some consistent production his third season in the league. But when you set a ridiculous line like this, I simply have to dump on Frankie Flash and take the under.
Our Props Tool loves this one, rating it a 10 out of 10 only because it can’t rank it an 11 or 12 and giving it a 27% edge in our favor. If Frank Jackson scores 20 off the bench, we’ll just have to pay that bet down. I’ll play to -150.
Moses Brown, under 0.5 assists (-150)
|Pacers vs. Thunder||Indiana -7.5|
|Time | TV||8 p.m. ET | League Pass|
I promise I don’t hate Moses Brown. Honestly, I quite love the dude. He’s made us a whole lot of money this year, after all.
If you’ve been reading this column consistently, you know Moses Brown by now. Brown starred for Oklahoma City’s G-League affiliate team and has been a really pleasant sophomore surprise since his midseason call-up. He’s started 23 games over the second half of the season and averaged nearly a double-double, with 9.7 points, 10.4 rebounds and 0.2 assists per game.
That includes 10 double-doubles with the Thunder, and it includes 11 games with at least 12 boards, including 18, 18 and 23 rebounds in one game. Brown has also scored at least 20 points three times for Oklahoma City.
But what he hasn’t done is pass the basketball.
We’ve been fading Brown’s assists as often as it was available. That’s because Brown recorded an assist in his first game as a Thunder starter on March 14 but then played 19 consecutive games without a single assist, the sort of streak that would make even Hassan Whiteside blush. Brown went well over 500 minutes of NBA basketball without one solitary assist. Like, not even an accidental one. Zero. Zip. Nada.
We were happily drinking the juice at -250 and -300 and even over -500 a few times — that’s how confident we were in Brown managing to be held without an assist. And then, finally, on April 21, Brown got another assist. Two games later, he had another one, and two games later a third. Suddenly, Brown has racked up four assists with the Thunder and raised his per-game average to a career high 0.21 APG!
So did Brown finally learn how to pass, with an assist in three of his last five games, or is this just random noise? Count me in the latter camp until proven otherwise. This man has seven assists in 700 minutes played this season. That comes out to one dime every 100 minutes — did that one on my head — and I’m almost positive Moses won’t play a hundred minutes tonight.
We project Brown at 0.1 assists tonight, and honestly, that’s only because our Props Tool rounded up. Plus, even when Brown starts, he sometimes gets a quick hook or gets into foul trouble and sees his minutes limited, and that’s really gonna hurt that campaign for 100 minutes.
At -150, that implies a 60% chance to the under, and it should be very clear by now that Brown’s odds of going assist-less are much higher than that. I’m not sure I’d play at -500 anymore right now, but apparently we don’t have to. Give me that juice, and let’s drink up. This is our Props Tool’s best play on the board, with over a 28% edge in our favor.
Willy Hernandgomez, over 0.5 assists (-190)
|Pelicans vs. Timberwolves||New Orleans -4|
|Time | TV||8 p.m. ET | League Pass|
The mountain man Steven Adams is out tonight for the Pelicans, and that means Willy Hernangomez should get the start in Adams’s place.
Tonight is a matchup of the Hernangomez brothers, with Juancho logging around 20 bench minutes a game for the Timberwolves, and it’s pretty clear right now that Willy is the better of the Hernangomezes… Hernangomeces? Hernangomii? Not sure what the correct plural is there.
Willy has started four games for the Pelicans this season, and he’s been pretty good. He’s averaged 10.0 points, 11.5 rebounds and 1.0 assists in 26.3 minutes per game as a starter, with an assist in three of the four games, hitting our over line 75% of the time as a starter.
The truth is that Willy is a nice interior passer, and when that’s a skill in the toolbox, it’s not that tough to get an assist starting games next to Zion Williamson, considering Zion is a threat to score any time he’s in the paint. Hernangomez has multiple assists eight times already this season and even had four in a game earlier this year, and remember, all but one of those eight multi-assist games came in limited minutes off the bench.
Hernangomez averages an even 1.0 APG for his career but does that in only 14.7 MPG. He records an assist every 14.5 minutes, and he might end up playing twice that many minutes tonight. In fact, we project Willy at 1.7 dimes tonight, and if you’re feeling courageous, you can actually play him to go over 1.5 assists at +186 at FanDuel, if you want to risk it for the biscuit.
Our Props Tool gives a slight edge to the safer play, though you might even play both if you like. Perhaps you play the safer over and then bet your prospective winnings from that on the 1.5-assist line. Assuming Willy gets at least one dime, you’ve got a free roll then at the bigger payout and an even better pay if he gets multiple assists.
I’ll stick with the 0.5-dime line and drink the juice, like we did with Brown. Willy has at least one assist in 16 of 22 games this season when he plays at least 18 minutes. That hits the over 73% of the time, and he should clear 18 minutes with ease tonight. I’d play to -250 if need be.