We took a break from NBA player props last week to enjoy Super Bowl LV, but we’re back and loaded with a 10-game slate on Valentine’s Day. The Wizards and Celtics tipped off at 1 p.m. ET, but the meat of Sunday’s lineup starts after 7 p.m.
Headlining Sunday will be a couple of Western Conference matchups that feature a few MVP candidates. The Blazers travel to Dallas to take on the Mavs, and the Lakers take their show on the road to face the Denver Nuggets.
I’m treating this Sunday as if it’s All-Star Weekend. I can’t be the only one disappointed that we’re usually watching the leagues’ best compete in one of the most entertaining weekends in sports every year. But watching Dame, Luka, LeBron, AD and Jokic go at it will be a nice consolation prize.
For today’s player props, we have three plays for the primetime matchups. The first centers around one of the best bigs in the NBA facing a suspect frontcourt, paired with two bucket-getters in favorable scoring matchups.
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
Karl-Anthony Towns Over 9.5 Rebounds (-145)
|Timberwolves vs. Raptors||Raptors -8|
|Time | TV||7 p.m. ET | NBA League Pass|
The Minnesota Timberwolves are battling the Wizards for the title of worst team in the NBA through Sunday. It comes as no surprise as their two best players, D’Angelo Russell and Karl-Anthony Towns, have only shared the floor in four games this season. DLo’s missed six games with a lingering leg injury, but it’s been KAT that’s been on the shelf for a bulk of the season due to a wrist injury and COVID-19.
Towns will once again be without Russell for Sunday’s tilt against the Raptors. Towns finds himself in a perfect scenario to clean the glass. Toronto ranks as the worst rebounding team in the NBA, averaging 49.9 rebounds per game this season. They also surrender 15.7 rebounds per contest to opposing centers, according to Hashtag Basketball.
The Raptors’ frontcourt tends to lean on Aron Baynes against traditional bigs while utilizing per-36 minute dynamo Chris Boucher against smaller frontcourts. KAT can do it all, so don’t expect the combination of Baynes and Boucher to stop Towns from cleaning the glass.
He’s amassed over 9.5 rebounds in five of six games this season, averaging a comfortable 11.3 RPG. The Wolves are tracking as 8-point dogs in Sunday’s bout, but regardless of the outcome, he’ll see at least 30 minutes of action — offering plenty of time to pile up rebounds. It’s perplexing seeing his rebound line under double-digits, so I can’t shy away from Towns reaching the over here.
Our model scores this bet as an 8 out of 10 and projects he’ll pull down his average of 11.3 rebounds tonight. I’d play this up as high as 10.5 rebounds given the Raptors’ vulnerability in the frontcourt.
Luka Doncic, Over 29.5 Points (-105)
|Trail Blazers vs. Mavericks||Mavericks -5|
|Time | TV||7:30 p.m. ET | ESPN|
A popular MVP selection before the season got underway, Luka Doncic’s odds to win the award have moved in the wrong direction, as he sits at +1100, trailing LeBron James (+200), Joel Embiid (+400) and Nikola Jokic (+450) according to DraftKings.
As much as Luka’s play has not translated to wins (Mavs are 13-14 overall), he’s still having a spectacular season, averaging 28.5 points, 9.4 assists and 8.7 rebounds per game through Sunday. He’s coming off a season-high 46-point performance against the Pelicans on Friday and should be a good bet to score north of 30 against the Blazers.
Portland allows the sixth-most points per game to opposing teams this season, and fittingly enough, this game carries this highest implied total of the 10-game slate, at 235.5. According to Team Rankings, Portland and Dallas rank as the third- and fourth-worst teams in defensive efficiency this season, respectively. Two bad defensive teams facing off, featuring two of the top-five scorers in the NBA in Doncic and Lillard? Sign me up.
While I don’t want to oversell Luka’s numbers, he scores more points at home (29.2) compared to 27.8 on the road while also seeing his scoring average rise in February — leveling up to 31.6 PPG thanks to going over 40 points in two of his last four games. Moreover, he’s getting more buckets against the Western Conference (31.3 PPG) than the Eastern Conference (24 PPG) this season.
This game projects to be a high-scoring affair with two of the league’s best guards going bucket-for-bucket. Our model projects Doncic to score 32.6 points, and with a bet quality of 7, I love Luka hitting the over on 29.5 points in what should be an entertaining contest.
Michael Porter, Jr. Over 15.5 points (-110)
|Lakers vs. Nuggets||Lakers -3|
|Time | TV||10 p.m. ET | ESPN|
Michael Porter Jr. emerged from the NBA Bubble as one of the top young players in the NBA. The third-year pro started on a high note, averaging 19.5 points per game in his first four contests to begin the season. He missed ten games due to COVID-19 and is finally starting to find his stride again.
Over his last 10 games, he’s averaging 13.9 points, 6.0 rebounds, 0.5 assists and 1.1 blocks with 49/43/78 shooting splits. He’s re-entered the starting lineup for Denver in the past four games, and Sunday offers a prime opportunity to step up. With Will Barton (personal) already ruled out and Jamal Murray (ankle) questionable, more scoring chances should open up for Porter Jr. In his last two contests, MPJ has scored 15 and 19 points — both games in which Barton was present. Porter Jr has played better as a starter this season, scoring 16.0 points compared to 13.7 as a reserve.
While his scoring is down in February (11.4), Porter Jr. will get more looks with the Lakers focused on containing Nikola Jokic. This is shaping up as a best-case scenario for MPJ to score over 15.5 points with Denver possibly being shorthanded on scoring options.
While this is not a slam dunk, I think Porter is trending up at the right time to hit his modest scoring prop of 15.5. Our projections have Porter Jr. scoring a shade over 16 points, and this prop has a bet quality of 7. MPJ is on the come up and poised for a strong outing against the defending champs.