Monday night is a night for the big men.
Yes, it’s centers who take center stage for our three props. We’re playing a trio of guys with a combined wingspan of 22 feet and eight inches. If you need a visual, just picture these three linking hands to line up across the Suez Canal and set the Ever Given free to go on its merry way.
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
Moses Brown Under 0.5 Assists (-144)
|Thunder vs. Mavericks||Thunder +11.5|
|Time||8 p.m. ET|
Folks, it’s Moses Brown season. Or, as the kids would say, it’s Moses SZN.
Brown was an unknown to most NBA fans as recently as a few weeks ago, but he was excellent in the G-League bubble and got the call-up shortly thereafter to a Thunder team eager to push its youth movement forward, especially now that they’ve benched Al Horford for the season.
Well, it’s safe to say folks are noticing Moses now. He dropped 21 points and 23 boards on the unsuspecting Celtics on Saturday. He had 19 and 12 the previous game, and 18 rebounds the game before that. He also had 20 points and 16 boards against the Bulls on March 16. The seas have parted, and Moses is racking up points and rebounds and now playing significant minutes as a starter for Oklahoma City.
That’s pretty impressive production, but do you know what else those four games have in common? Not a single assist. Not one.
In fact, Brown has played 249 minutes in nine games since joining OKC after the G-League bubble, and he has exactly one assist in all those minutes. The reason is simple: Brown is out there to crash the boards, dunk the ball and otherwise stay out of the way. He’s filling the role of rim runner and rarely touching the ball unless it’s at the rim for a dunk.
This isn’t new for Brown. He recorded 13 assists in 952 G-League minutes the last two seasons, just one every 73 minutes. He’s at one every 70 minutes this year in the NBA so … at least he’s consistent?
Brown has zero assists in 13-of-16 games this season, hitting this under 81% of the time. And before you rightfully point out that Brown has seven appearances with under six minutes this season, let’s also note that three of his four dimes this year came in those late garbage time minutes. When he’s played actual meaningful minutes in real game time, he has only one assist in 248 minutes.
Let’s hope he doesn’t get a second on Monday night. Don’t be afraid to drink the juice here. I’ll play Moses as high as -200. Let my money go.
Rudy Gobert Over 2.5 Steals + Blocks (-135)
|Jazz vs. Cavaliers||Jazz -16|
|Time||9 p.m. ET|
Rudy Gobert is probably going to win Defensive Player of the Year again, and it’s getting hard to argue against the Stifle Tower.
Gobert nearly recorded a triple-double a week ago against the Bulls — with blocks. Gobert had nine blocks against Chicago, and while that’s a clear outlier, the Frenchman sure has been stuffing a ton of shots lately. Over the last 13 games, Gobert has gone over 2.5 stocks (steals and blocks) in 10 of those games. He’s averaging a whopping 3.4 blocks per game over that stretch, plus 0.7 steals to boot. That’s 4.1 stocks per game, and he’s doing that in only 32.3 minutes, too.
Nevermind the 16 points and 13 rebounds per game over that span — we’re focusing on defensive playmaking here, and Gobert should have plenty of opportunity against a Cavs team that ranks second to last in turnover percentage. That’s typical for a young team, and Cleveland’s young guards still turn the ball over a lot. Collin Sexton tends to get blocked quite a bit, already 58 times this season.
Gobert has gone over 2.5 stocks in 29-of-45 games, hitting this over 44% of the time, and that stocks number has trended up lately. I’m a little concerned this could turn into such a blowout that Gobert’s minutes are reduced, but I trust the French Rejection to get the job done.
We project Gobert at 3.8 stocks tonight. I’ll play the over to -165.
Nikola Vucevic Under 3.5 Assists (+140)
|Bulls at Warriors||Bulls -1|
|Time||10 p.m. ET|
Life comes at you fast.
How many times have I written about Nikola Vucevic in this space already this season? Five? Ten? I might have played more Vooch props this season than any other NBA player, and he’s been crushing overs for us all year.
Now our magic man is no longer a Magic man, as Vucevic has been traded to Chicago. Everyone in the Windy City is buzzing about these Bulls as a playoff team, but the reason Chicago has real playoff hopes is because Vucevic has actual teammates now. He was hopelessly alone for most of the season in Orlando, and that’s why we kept playing — and hitting — overs all season.
In Orlando, someone had to soak up all those extra shots, rebounds and passes. That’s no longer the case in Chicago, where Zach LaVine, Coby White, Thad Young, Lauri Markkanen and others surround Vucevic with more offensive talent than he’s played with in his entire career. And that, along with a new offensive scheme, are bound to hurt Vooch’s numbers.
Vucevic is a fine passer, and we’ve played him to go over 3.5 assists here in this space a number of times this season, but that was largely because Orlando was missing its point guards and secondary handlers. I expect Vucevic’s assist numbers to drop in Chicago, and that gives us some margin in our favor until the books adjust.
Vucevic is already under 3.5 assists in 21-of-45 games this season, going under 47% of the time even with the increased touches and workload. If you look back over the past three seasons too, since his passing took a leap, Vooch has gone under 3.5 assists in exactly half his games. He’s at 3.6 APG over that stretch.
All of that makes this look like a coin-flip prop, but remember, all of that was in Orlando, where Vucevic had less help and was far more a focal point of the offense. He should settle in around 2.5 to 3.0 APG in Chicago as part of a more whirring attack.
At +140 to the under, we only need to win this prop 42% of the time to find positive value. Vucevic should hit the under more than 50% of the time going forward, especially against a stingy Warriors defense, so I’ll play this under at any positive number.
Sorry, big fella.