This article is part of our DraftKings Sportsbook series.
Welcome back to another NBA season, and more importantly, another year of prop bets! In lieu of trying to navigate the always-messy start to the new campaign, RotoWire opted to revamp the DraftKings Sportsbook column entering Week 2 in order to operate with some sort of sample size.
By the end of last season, I felt like I had a created a successful formula for this column. We won't rehash this in future articles, but given it's the first of the 2021-22 season we might as well explain the outline. Just as a general overview, any written bets can be considered ones I'd target, although the "Best Bets" section would obviously be my favorite. This article will often be put together the morning of, meaning any adjusted prop bet figures throughout the day should elicit at least some sort of eyebrow raise from you, the bettor. The timing of the article might also affect how many games I have at my disposal (for example as of this writing, only seven of the 10 games Wednesday have props to bet on). I'll also try to sort some of the plus-money props at the bottom of each section to emphasis their relation to the rest of the betting slate. A couple of quick hitters:
- I've been tracking my bets by category over the last 2+ years, and I've found that, at least on DraftKings, the points-specific props tend to hit the most. I'm not sure if it's because the data is easier to predict or if DraftKings uses these points props as a gateway to other wagers and thus makes them "easier", but whatever the case we've been the most successful with these general targets. Through the first two months of last season, the over on my targeted points props hit 56 percent of the time with the figure slowly dropping down to right around 50 percent by the end of the year. This year, the points prop category will expand a bit wider to include all different shooting props, whether that be three-pointers made/attempted, PRAs (points+rebounds+assists) or the newly re-emphasized "Top Scorer" bets on DraftKings.
- The Rebounds/Assists section will now incorporate turnover props, another new bet line available on DraftKings this season. Admittedly this was my worst category last year by a wide margin, particularly early on, but we managed to get a working system in place by the beginning of the playoffs. With more options to choose from, this area should be a bit easier to target from a parlay perspective.
- Speaking of parlays, there are certain props that are obviously worth targeting, but simply don't have the value one would hope for so I decided to make them their own section. These would obviously fall into the "Best Bets" category as well, but given the higher chance of hitting, I didn't think it was fair to mix those in with the rest of my numbers.
- By the end of the article, I'll have discussed every single one of my Best Bets in some sort of detail, so I just try to leave a quick hitter for readers. As much as I like to pretend you click on this article because you want to be entertained by my writing, the reality is you're looking for the best bets of the night, hence the section. There you'll find your one-stop-shop for my random prop bet musings.
Phew, ok that was a lot. Promise we won't need to do that for future pieces. Let's get on to Wednesday's slate.
Last year was the Jerami Grant prop bet leg. This year, it could very well be Harrison Barnes. The Sacramento small forward has obviously been playing out of his mind to start the season and has earned plenty of praise in regards to his overall fantasy value. Over 16.5 points (-110) should be in play mainly because the Suns allow a decent amount of shots from deep, but I think overall DraftKings is just not recognizing what Barnes' role is in the offense. Sure the 29-year-old isn't suddenly going to be a 28-point scorer after years toiling in the teens, but he's getting to the line at double the rate of his career averages and is attempting almost two shots more per game than the 2016-17 Dallas Mavs version of Barnes, who went on to average 19 points a contest. This is a different Barnes and a different Kings offense than we've seen in the past. Bettors should hope DraftKings continues to drag their feet on it.
I hashed this over on the Handicapping the NBA: Wednesday edition so I won't spend much time here. Under 10.5 points for Mason Plumlee (+100) is a perfect mix between stouter-than-you'd-expect matchup, other optimal scorers on the Hornets primed for a good night and plus odds.
I moved this to the points section because I feel more confident in that angle. Jusuf Nurkic double-double (+100) is a nice line when you consider the Grizzlies rank in the top four in terms of points allowed to centers. Steven Adams, a long-time betting favorite of my colleague Alex Barutha, always does a good job limiting opposing team's rebounds so there's absolutely some risk here, but Nurkic is averaging 12 boards a game and represents essentially the only big man capable of muscling in the paint for the Blazers.
The Bucks will be without three starters Wednesday which opens them up as easy targets against a feisty Timberwolves squad. Anthony Edwards over 2.5 made threes (-125) feels like a safe bet given the Bucks' defensive scheme which yields plenty of open threes. D'Angelo Russell had a similar number (-106), but I feel less confident he'll knock down open looks (30.2 percent from deep to begin the season) at the moment.
And while the Bucks might get Bobby Portis (hamstring) back after missing the first four games of the season, this is still a team without Brook Lopez (back) and who might have to start Thanasis Antetokounmpo as a pseudo starter alongside his brother. Hard to turn away from over 24.5 points for Karl-Anthony Towns (-120) in that case.
If I'm high on Barnes naturally someone has to miss their projections from the Kings. Enter De'Aaron Fox who is getting a healthy total (23.5 points, under +100) despite back-to-back games under 18 points. Fox's massive games tend to rely on his ability to get to the line which the Suns happen to concede a decent amount, but the over is still a tough sell for me considering Phoenix allows the seventh-fewest points to opposing point guards.
I know Deandre Ayton has been slumping, but over 10.5 rebounds (-110) has got to be the move with the Kings allowing the third-most rebounds to centers through the early stages of the season. After all, it's not like Javale McGee is soaking up the minutes.
While I'm low on Plumlee, I do think the Magic/Hornets matchup overall could provide some sneaky high-scoring potential. Cole Anthony is a big reason why and over 4.5 assists (-110) should be a perfect target point with the Hornets currently allowing the third-most assists to point guards. The second-year point guard has just one game – the season opener – below the 4.5 total to date.
I guess it's just Pick on De'Aaron Fox Day. Over 2.5 turnovers (-140) sure feels like a realistic possibility given Chris Paul's status as a defender, and because Fox is averaging five giveaways a game through three contests. He'll naturally regress towards the mean at some point, but it's not as if the 2017 first-round pick has been safe with the ball throughout his career (career 2.8 turnover average). I'll be honest, I just wanted to debut the new column with a new DraftKings prop bet section, but you can certainly do a lot worse with a betting target.
- Daniel Gafford under 6.5 rebounds (-145)
- Karl-Anthony Towns double-double (-180)
- Lakers win over Thunder (-180)