We are back!! It’s been three long months without NBA basketball in our lives, but we’ve finally reached opening night.
If this season is about as profitable as the last, we’re ready for a fun ride. are we going to see again? In last year’s regular season, we went down to 257-208-13, hitting 55.3% of our props to increase to 94.6 units, a sparkling 20.3% ROI.
We did even better in the playoffs, hitting 66% of our picks for a 29% ROI, meaning we finished our 328-245 season, successfully converting 57.2% of our props to a return. on investment of 22.0%.
Let’s put it another way: if you never watched a minute of the ball last year but bet $ 100 on each prop in that column, you are now winning $ 12,602. You’re welcome.
Still, past success is no guarantee for the future, and we’re all at $ 0.00 for the new season, so let’s start the year off with a few winners. Be aware that we are flying blind at the start of the season because we have no new data, no start minutes or line-ups – of course that is also true for the books. We’re going to make educated guesses, play the story where we can, and trust the Props tool.
For those new to this article, we’ll 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.
Those cash accessories we just talked about last season? Each of them came straight out of the Props tool, right in this article.
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
Joe Harris, more than 10.5 points (-110)
|Nets vs. Bucks||Threads -1.5|
|Time | TV||7:30 p.m. ET | TNT|
Opening night is a tough game because we only have four teams playing, and only one of them has a predictable rotation. What will the Nets’ rotation look like? We know Kevin Durant and James Harden will be playing, but everything else is murky with Kyrie Irving missing and a glut of big men.
The only other guy we can be confident enough will play big minutes, however, is Joe Harris. Harris is the perfect companion piece in this Brooklyn offense. Defense can’t cover everyone, and if the Nets know they’re going to leave someone open, why not make them one of the greatest shooters on the planet?
Joe Harris led the NBA with a 3-point percentage of 47.5% last year, and he also led the league in 2018-19. And his numbers have been just as strong and often stronger since Harden’s arrival. Since Harden joined Brooklyn on Jan. 16, Harris has averaged 14.0 PPG and hit 3.1 3s per game at 47 percent.
While we only have three regular season data games with Harden and Durant but not Kyrie, one of those games came against these Bucks, and Harris scored 20 and hit five 3s.
Of course, we have more Harris data against the Bucks. The last time we saw him, he was having an absolute nightmare streak against Milwaukee in the playoffs. He only scored 9.6 PPG in those seven games and couldn’t hit a shot to save his life, finishing the series within 35 percent of the field.
So it goes – sometimes shooters get cold. What’s important about this series is that Harris kept playing and shooting. Even the freezing cold Harris took over 10 shots per game, including 7.0 3-point attempts.
Harris should get minutes and shots, and some of those shots will likely be open. We know the Bucks allow more than 3s than a typical team, and we know Joe likes to shoot.
That line seems a few points too low, especially with Irving and Harris as the top shooter without a ball. Harris passed 10.5 points in 46 of 69 games last season, covering that line 67 percent of the time. He had at least nine points in all but 10 games, putting us just one shot from a cover.
We project Harris at 13.3 points. This line looks very poorly rated. Let’s get a victory over the books. I will play down to -140 and play over 11.5 if necessary.
James Harden, more than 8.5 assists (-130)
|Nets vs. Bucks||Threads -1.5|
|Time | TV||7:30 p.m. ET | TNT|
James Harden averaged 10.8 assists per game last season. That included 10.4 in eight Houston games and 10.9 in 36 Brooklyn games. Not all of them came with KD and Kyrie of course – very few of them came with all three – but it turns out that Harden is good enough to pass and play the point guard.
Harden was already on point last season. Remember how Kyrie said it himself? And now that Irving is gone, that leaves a lot more touches and time on the ball for Harden.
And with great respect for Patty Mills, rookie Cam Thomas and our guy Joe Harris, these aren’t the guys who are going to take a lot of the ball away from Harden. He’ll be the guy who orchestrates things in this attack when Durant doesn’t score.
Harden averaged one assist every 3.36 minutes for the Nets last season. He was about one every 3.77 minutes, even sleepwalking during the preseason. Remember, it was the biggest offense in league history last year, and Harden was a big reason for it.
Don’t be afraid of Harden’s numbers from the past few seasons. There’s no Russell Westbrook or Chris Paul to share the backyard with Harden now – nor a Kyrie.
We’ll see how the Nets’ new season plays out, but for now, 8.5 assists is just too low. Harden topped 8.5 cents in 25 of the Nets’ 36 games last season, reaching more than 69 percent of the time. Good right? And one of those games Harden only played four minutes too.
One thing that you will quickly learn in the world of accessories is not to be afraid to drink the juice on the right bet. At -130 above, this represents an implied 56.5% probability of hitting. Given that Harden hit 71.4% of the time last year (without that four-minute stint), that would mean that line should actually be closer to -250.
I wouldn’t play it that high, but I like it down to -165. You can also play Harden to get past 10.5 assists for more juice at BetMGM, but at +110 there isn’t enough boost for me to give up the two-assists cushion. Take just the W.
Rajon Rondo, Less than 3.5 assists (-130)
|Warriors vs. Lakers||Lakers -3.5|
|Time | TV||10 p.m. ET | TNT|
No one ever said that all of these accessories would be sexy.
We’re decreasing Rajon Rondo here, and we’re mainly decreasing the number of minutes Rondo will spend even on the pitch. And why Rondo specifically? Well, because most of the other random Lakers veterans don’t even have lines.
Keep in mind that this is a team with significant turnover compared to last year. LeBron James and Anthony Davis are back, but with Talen Horton-Tucker injured, every other opening night name in a Lakers jersey has been new since last season. Hello, Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony. Welcome to Kendrick Nunn, Malik Monk, Kent Bazemore, Wayne Ellington and Austin Reaves.
There is a parcel new names on this list. Are we sure Rondo will be as much there? Westbrook is going to have a big start-up minute, we can be sure of that. Nunn should be the first keeper off the bench, and he handles the ball a lot. Bazemore is needed for his defense, and Monk and Ellington are needed shooters.
The one thing the Lakers don’t really need a ton? It’s a game since Russ and LeBron are already there to run the show.
We throw Rondo at 9.1 minutes, only 11th on the team. It doesn’t take long to make an impact.
There is no doubt that Rondo is a good passer. If he’s there, he’ll create. He averaged one assist every 3.9 minutes last year, about the same as his previous time with the Lakers. That’s a pretty good rate, but it still means Rondo needs about 14 minutes to complete it, and I’m not sure he gets them.
If you are losing Rondo minutes and want to double down, you can also bet the 3s under 0.5 at DraftKings at +145. Rondo has attempted a shot every 8.8 minutes for the past three years, and he’s a 36% career shooter. If you just feel like playing, you can give this one a try and hope it misses a shot or two, or maybe even doesn’t shoot one.
I will make the assists disappear. Maybe Rondo doesn’t have time to play. Maybe he passes to the missing Lakers shooters. Maybe he’s played defensively off the field by Steph Curry and the Warriors. I’ll take my chances and play the underside here at -150.
Let’s start our year with three winners!