Dec 7, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) reacts after the game against the Boston Celtics at Staples Center.The Lakers defeated the Celtics 117-102. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
The NBA season rolls on Thursday (Dec. 9th) with a mini three-game slate
LeBron James’ assist rate has taken a huge hit since Russell Westbrook arrived in LA
See below to find out where we think the betting value lies
Anyone who’s ever really sweated an under bet will tell you that it’s not an enjoyable experience. You’re actively routing for exciting things not to happen. As a result, most casual bettors gravitate towards betting overs because frankly, it’s just more fun.
Online sportsbooks know this, and they use it to their advantage by inflating the over numbers. This is especially true in the player props market. It’s our job to sniff out the value when that happens, and we’ll look to do so on Thursday’s NBA slate.
NBA Player Props – Thursday, December 9
Lakers vs Grizzlies
Three Pointers Made
Anthony Davis (LAL)
22.5 (Ov -115 / Un -115)
9.5 (Ov -130 / Un +100)
2.5 (Ov -125 / Un -110)
0.5 (Ov +100 / Un -125)
LeBron James (LAL)
24.5 (Ov -105 / Un -120)
6.5 (Ov -110 / Un -120)
6.5 (Ov -105 / Un -125)
2.5 (Ov -105 / Un -125)
Russell Westbrook (LAL)
18.5 (Ov -105 / Un -120)
7.5 (Ov -130 / Un +100)
9.5 (Ov -105 / Un -130)
1.5 (Ov +175 / Un -230)
Nuggets vs Spurs
Three Pointers Made
Dejounte Murray (SAS)
19.5 (Ov +100 / Un -125)
7.5 (Ov -140 / Un +105)
7.5 (Ov -110 / Un -120)
1.5 (Ov +140 / Un -180)
Derrick White (SAS)
15.5 (Ov +100 / Un -120)
3.5 (Ov -145 / Un +110)
4.5 (Ov +115 / Un -150)
1.5 (Ov -200 / Un +150)
Doug McDermott (SAS)
12.5 (Ov +100 / Un -125)
2.5 (Ov -140 / Un +105)
1.5 (Ov +120 / Un -160)
1.5 (Ov -200 / Un +150)
Jakob Poeltl (SAS)
11.5 (Ov -120 / Un -105)
8.5 (Ov -145 / Un +110)
2.5 (Ov +150 / Un -200)
Odds as of Dec. 9th at DraftKings.
Complicating matters slightly is the fact that so few props are currently posted. Four of the six teams in action on Thursday also played on Wednesday, and as of Thursday morning only a select number of props for the Lakers and Spurs are on the board.
But we’re not here to make excuses. In the words of the great Vince Vaughan, rule number 76: No excuses, play like a champion. We’ve got our eye on a couple wagers to target, so check out why below.
Prop #1: LeBron James Under 6.5 Assists
Russell Westbrook’s arrival in LA has taken a huge chunk of the Lakers’ playmaking duties off of LeBron James’ shoulders. James is averaging 6.6 assists per game this season, his lowest output since 2013-14 when he was playing alongside Dwyane Wade in Miami.
LeBron James tonight:
— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) December 8, 2021
When the two are on the court together, James’ assists per 100 possessions rate is just 5.8, compared to 11.2 for Westbrook. If you remove Westbrook from the court, James’s number balloons from 5.8 to 9.7. But with Russ playing an average of 36.2 minutes (compared to 36.8 minutes for James) there’s not a lot of opportunity for LeBron to be the primary distributor and rack up dimes.
Russell Westbrook last 8 games:
He is +39 in that span, the highest +/- by a Lakers starter. pic.twitter.com/vz38lnGb30
— StatMuse (@statmuse) December 8, 2021
James has cleared 6.5 assists in just two of his past seven games, one of which he played 50 minutes agains Sacramento. Thursday’s matchup isn’t ideal for accumulating dimes, as only three teams in the NBA allow fewer assists to their opponents than Memphis. Fade LeBron as a playmaker against the Grizzlies.
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Prop #2: Dejounte Murray Under 19.5 Points
San Antonio’s Dejounte Murray has shown steady improvement in each of his first five year’s in the NBA, and is turning into a star. He’s averaging career-highs in points, rebounds, and assists, but oddsmakers’ are asking a lot of him on Thursday.
Dejounte Murray this season:
19 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 8.5 apg, 2.0 spg
One of the best PGs in NBA now! pic.twitter.com/JOqqPfUDFu
— Spurs Nation (@SpursNationCP) December 8, 2021
Murray has an over/under of 19.5 points versus Denver, a number he’s cleared just once in his past four outings. His projection appears to be skewed by a handful of high volume shooting nights over the last two weeks, something we can’t bank on versus the Nuggets.
The past seven times Murray has reached 20 points, he’s done so on an average of 21 shots per outing. That’s four more shots than he’s averaged per game this season, and his attempts have been down recently due to the emergence of Derrick White.
Murray’s teammate has been firing relentlessly this month, in large part due to increased opportunity. He’s playing over 30 minutes per game in December, which is cutting into Murray’s production.
“It has really clicked for him these last 5 or 6 games.”@Dwhite921 finishes with a season-high 26 points in the @Spurs loss to the Knicks. #PorVida pic.twitter.com/A7FISycRYx
— Bally Sports San Antonio (@BallySportsSA) December 8, 2021
With White on the court Murray’s usage drops from 25.3% to 22%. His points per 100 possessions also plummets, going from 33 to 20.5.
With guard Devin Vassell doubtful for Thursday’s game versus Denver, we should once again expect heavy minutes for White.
Also working against Murray is the matchup itself. Denver plays at a bottom-12 pace, which will cut down on the amount of possessions San Antonio receives. It all lines up for Murray to fall short of his points total. Play the under.