NBA Player Props: 5 Ways to Find Value
The player prop market has blossomed in recent years as sportsbooks seem to come up with more and more options by the week. In the early days, you might only get a points over-under on a superstar. Nowadays, the books post lines on everything from points to turnovers to all sorts of weird stat combos for each and every player on the court.
There are a lot of options in the market but it’s important to remember that not all of them are good. Let’s dive into the NBA player props market and explain how to find good value with these individual options.
- Know The Ripple Effect Of Load Management, Injuries
- Track Performance Over Last 10
- Note The Pace Of Play
- Study Opponent’s Defensive Strengths, Weaknesses
- Check-In With Outlier’s Prop Finder
Know The Ripple Effect Of Load Management, Injuries
The first place bettors run when a major injury or personnel change is announced is the point spread and moneyline, but there might be a better way to play this news. When LeBron James is out, that opens up opportunity for a whole host of other players to step up. Betting their player props is one way to capitalize.
The key is to understand the dynamics of the team and think about who’ll fill the minutes and contributions. If James is out, it becomes pretty clear that others have to score more but what about other categories. Does betting over assists on other players make sense? Someone will have to work as more of a facilitator. When this type of news breaks, there can be some great value on the board.
A couple good NBA looks ⬇️
Barnes at 12.5 on books; Herro heavily juiced over 3.5 w/ Lowry ruled out, he’s the favorite. Butler o 4.5 asts also good but I suggest not playing w/ Herro for correlation purposes#PrizePicks #NBA #DFS #PlayerProps #GamblingTwitter pic.twitter.com/UwPhlChAMF
— Brandon's Player Props (@dfs_brandon) March 18, 2023
One other thing to keep in mind is correlation. What does the loss of James do to the stats of other players? For example, when James plays, maybe certain players score more in those games. If he’s out, they might struggle (they might get more defensive attention, have less help, floor spacing is not as good).
The immediate thought might be to bet over on points for some of the other players but take a look at historic data and see if it tells you anything. Anthony Davis only averages about a half-point more per game when LeBron James is out, so while the first thought most bettors might be to hammer AD’s over when James is out, the numbers don’t support that. However, taking a look at Jayson Tatum’s numbers with and without Jaylen Brown in the lineup and we see that he scores 4.4 more points per outing. That becomes something you want to bet as a value play.
Track Last 10
When you’re looking at any NBA players props, it’s always good to take a quick gander at their last 10 games. You can find this information on their player profile page at ESPN.com. You can also find it in Outlier’s PropFinder screen. We’ll go into that at the end
What this is going to tell you is how is the player doing recently. Many times, bettors will take a look at a player prop at a sportsbook and cross-reference it with their season-long averages but that is not always the most accurate gauge. You’ll want to see how a player is doing this week, their last 10 games and this month as it’s a better heat check.
A great example is Klay Thompson at the start of the 2022 season. Oddsmakers had his point totals and three-pointers per game at typical Klay Thompson levels but it was pretty clear early on that something wasn’t quite right. Under was the way to go with his totals as he averaged just 12.3 points per game in October and then 19.3 points in November. His numbers improved to 22.5 in December and by January, he clearly found his groove, averaging 27.0 that month. Those who monitored these smaller segments were able to better informed bets.
Note The Pace Of Play
Pace of Play has become an advanced stat that more and more recreational bettors are becoming aware of. This stat is important as it tells you how many possessions each team is having per game. Teams that run up and down the court, play fast on offense and loose on defense create have more possessions. That’s important because if you’re betting on something like over player rebounds, assists or points, the more possessions, the more chances you have to hit that over. On the flip side, you’ll want to look at unders for teams that have a slower pace of play.
Pro Tip: Check-In On Team Over-Under Stats
One other piece of data to add to your research is to cross-reference the pace of play with the over-under stats for teams. The Pace Of Play advanced stat will present one data point for you and highlight the teams have the most possessions per game.
What you’ll next want to do is check-in on the over-under and see if the teams that rank at the top of Pace Of Play are also at the top of the chart for overs. That will tell you that the oddsmakers are properly pricing the teams or underpricing.
If you’re thinking about Pace Of Play and betting overs on NBA player props, then seeing that the oddsmakers are under-pricing the same teams, then you might glean that there’s value on overs for specific player props.
On the other hand, if a team ranks at the top of Pace Of Play but has played 20 overs and 20 unders, you know the oddsmakers are setting adequate numbers for the totals and likely the player props. If the Golden State Warriors lead the league in Pace Of Play but all of their players have huge numbers for points, rebounds and assists, you might not be getting good value there.
Study Opponent’s Defensive Strengths, Weaknesses
Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of the teams on the court is integral in having success with player props. It might seem obvious but it’s a step that a lot of bettors forget to check off their list.
Start off by examining how many points per game the team allows, what their field goal and three-point field goal percentage allowed is, how they do with rebounding and other categories like that. That will start to pain a picture as to where there might be some value.
For example, if a team is particularly weak with rebounding or has propensity to give up more offensive rebounds than league average, you might want to look at betting overs for rebounds for players on the other side. Or if a team is sloppy with turnovers, betting over on steals might make sense.
The more you dive into the numbers, the more you’ll see where there might be a discrepancy where the averages are and where the lines on the board are sitting.
Pro Tip: Be Careful With Combo Player Props
Sportsbooks love these player combo props like PTS + REB or AST + STL but these can be tricky to handicap. You really have to know what you’re doing and consider both the combinations and correlations to see if they’re worth it.
Typically, adding these stats together in a combo just makes it harder to handicap. You’ll likely find more success with the individual stat categories.
Check-In With Outlier’s Prop Finder
One of the best shortcuts for finding the best props is simply to rely on Outlier. Our Prop Finder does a lot of this work for you and simply bubbles up a list of the best player props on the board. Each day – and several times per day – you can log in and see what are the best options for player props as discovered per our algorithm. You’ll see the player, the prop, which sportsbook to bet it and the recent history of the player actually going over or under the number. You can also filter by any number of supporting stats to easily understand how a player has performed against their prop line based on minutes played, scoring composition, fouls, offensive vs defensive stats and many more stats.
Of course, the best practice is to use this as part of your other research. In other words, do your homework and figure out the bets that you think make sense, and then check-in with Outlier to see if the data agrees. However, if you’re short on time, that’s what Prop Finder is here for—to provide great research to you and save you time.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Are Player Props?
Player props are a type of bet that focuses on the performance of a specific player in a game. For example, you can bet on how many points LeBron James will finish with or bet over or under a set number of rebounds that he’ll have for a contest. Almost every player will be faced with an over-under and you have to decide whether they’ll go over – collect more than the set number – or go under – collect fewer than the number – the line that the oddsmakers have posted.
Where Can You Bet NBA Player Props?
Sportsbooks like BetMGM, DraftKings and FanDuel carry NBA player props for every single game of the year.
Where Can You Find Analysis For Player Props?
Fantasy sites tends to be one of the best options for finding an edge on player props. A place like Rotowire has beat writers that track every team and do updates on who’s hot, who’s not, who’s hurt and who is on the cusp of breaking out.
What Happens To Player Props If The Player Doesn’t Play?
Different sportsbooks have different rules but usually, if the player doesn’t play, your bet is just voided and you get your wager amount back. If the player gets on the court for even a minute, though, then the bet is action. That includes if the player is in the game for a couple of minutes and is pulled for an injury, coach’s decision or is ejected by the referees.