The NBA season is heating up and we are starting to have a better idea of how teams should expect the rest of their seasons to go. With the entire league off on Thursday for the Thanksgiving holiday, there are a few scheduling quirks and matchups that we should take note of. Namely, the entire league plays on Wednesday besides the Pistons and the Knicks and there are numerous back-to-backs this week. About half the league has a back-to-back this week and there are wild rest disparities with a few teams playing just 2 games and others playing 4.
NBA Player Props Betting Forecast
Schedule: Nov. 20 vs. Knicks | Nov. 22 vs. 76ers | Nov. 24 vs. Kings
My passion for Rudy Gobert’s props is well-documented and he has been a monster this season. He is averaging 11.7 points, 12.2 rebounds, and 2.2 blocks per game. Additionally, he is a major factor in the Timberwolves‘ team success as he has anchored their defense, which is second-best in Adjusted Defensive Rating (109.5), per Dunks and Threes.
Gobert has some exciting matchups this week against a few of the league’s best big men. The Timberwolves play Mitchell Robinson and the Knicks, Joel Embiid and the 76ers, Domantas Sabonis and the Kings, and Jaren Jackson Jr and the Grizzlies this week. Let’s preview a few of these spots.
Mitchell Robinson has been one of the league’s best defensive Centers this season, and it’s been a tough matchup for Gobert the last two seasons. While Gobert has scored well, with 14+ in each of his six games against Mitchell, he’s failed to record a double double in half of those games (2 misses at 9 rebounds). His points prop has been 11.5 lately, and that’s a look for this game against the Knicks.
Joel Embiid has been a dominant force over the last few seasons but this matchup has been a tougher one for both parties. Embiid has only exceeded 30 points in three of nine games against Gobert, but two of them were last season with 32 and 39 points. However, in neither of those matchups did he record more than 9 rebounds. Gobert has averaged 13.4 points and 12.3 rebounds per game against Embiid but those are each a bit inflated due to a 27 point game and a 21 rebound game. I’d avoid this spot for Gobert props.
The matchup against Domantas Sabonis and the Kings is the one I’m targeting. Gobert absolutely dominates in this matchup. He has played 15 games against Sabonis in his career and has recorded a Double Double in 14 of those matchups. He has recorded 14, 14, 14, and 16 rebounds in all four matchups while Sabonis has been on the Kings as well. This is a smash spot, and I’ll anxiously be awaiting a line for this game, especially because Gobert will have had two tougher rebounding games heading into this spot.
Finally, on Sunday, Gobert takes on Jaren Jackson Jr and the Grizzlies who have been abysmal this season. The Grizzlies are 18th in Rebound% and Gobert should easily be able to handle JJJ who is a subpar rebounder. If he lines up against Xavier Tillman, that will be a more compelling matchup from a weight class perspective but Gobert still has a significant height advantage there. With Memphis’ struggles offensively as well, there could be plenty of shots for Gobert to clean up.
Schedule: Nov. 20 at Wizards | Nov. 22 at Celtics | Nov. 24 vs. Wizards
The Milwaukee Bucks have dramatically improved as of late and have an enticing week coming up with their opponents. In this four-game week, they play the Wizards (twice), the Celtics, and the Trailblazers. One of those opponents is not like the others.
The Wizards play at the second-fastest Pace in the league, the Celtics and the Blazers both play much slower and are bottom 10 in Pace. The games against the Wizards should be a track meet, especially their game on Friday, which is one of the games for the In-Season Tournament where there is more incentive to run up a score to achieve a higher point differential.
A major difference of late has been how Damian Lillard and Giannis have played with each other. Their two-man game is significantly improved and they have been able to play off of each other rather than taking turns being a primary scoring option on the offense. What has been fascinating is that even with Dame one pass away we have seen the defenses still send help at Giannis in the post. By bringing Dame or other shooting threats (Khris Middleton) within one pass from Giannis, there should be plenty of assist opportunities for Giannis moving forward. Giannis has only averaged 4.3 assists per game on the season; however, this is up to 5.6 over his last five games with assist totals of 7 and 9 in his most recent two games against the Hornets and the Mavericks. I like his over 5.5 Assists on Monday against Washington.
As for Dame, his assists have also spiked lately with games of 12 and 13 against Dallas and Toronto, respectively. Additionally, he’s logged games of 27, 27, 37, 12, and 34 points over his last five. The scoring is more consistent but the passing is opening up the offense overall. Both Dame and Giannis have started to realize that they each open up the offense for the other, and I expect their synergy to only improve moving forward.
One of the most important tools at our disposal when betting player props is how we analyze Pace and how to anticipate opportunities. I often talk about Pace Up or Pace Down spots for teams and how that generally should impact their chances to record counting stats.
Pace is readily available in a variety of different places: NBA Advanced Stats, Basketball Reference, and Dunks and Threes to name a few. It’s critically important because those extra couple of possessions can change your calculation on a player’s projections in any given game. If a moderately Paced Team such as the Magic is playing the Pacers, it’s not surprising to see the Magic have a significant uptick in their Pace.
Currently, of the the top 10 teams in Pace (Pacers, Wizards, Spurs, Thunder, Bucks, Hawks, Mavericks, Pelicans, Jazz, and Hornets), only the Thunder have a top 10 Adjusted Defensive Rating, per Dunks and Threes. Nearly all of these matchups present strong opportunities for a few extra (and fruitful) offensive possesions. As for the 10 slowest teams, the Knicks, Celtics, Raptors, and Heat, each play slowly and have top 10 Adjusted Defensive Ratings – those are all matchups I would generally want to avoid if I was looking to bet a player’s points prop to go over their total.
From a very simple view of this, if you were looking at average stats and projecting for a game, and a player is averaging 10 points per game on a moderately Paced team but was playing the Pacers, a fast-Paced team with a below average defense, it would be reasonable to deduce that this player’s points prop is going to have more opportunities to go over than if they played against the Knicks, the slowest-Paced team with the fifth-best Adjusted Defensive Rating in the league. I’m overly simplifying this but the point remains, Pace is one of the tools at your disposal when trying to project player’s opportunities in any given matchup.