NBA Player Props: Expect Little From Little
We close the 2021 calendar year with a sizable slate of 10 NBA games. We welcome back several players back as a result of the new COVID-19 procedures, headlined by Toronto returning several key players. It is still critical to monitor updates to identify last-minute value plays depending on huge increases in minutes. Our NBA Player Prop Tool and NBA Prop Stat Explorer Tool are critical resources to help identify those key spots for betting advantages. Of course, monitor our Discord activity for all the key last-minute updates.
DraftKings Player Prop Bets (December 31st, 2021)
Kevin Porter Jr. Over 25.5 Points+Rebounds+Assists (-110)
Kevin Porter Jr. had a very successful return to the floor on Tuesday night against the Lakers, finishing with 22 points, five rebounds and nine assists in a robust 35 minutes. He looked fully recovered from a thigh contusion that sidelined him since December 3rd. Porter also shot 5-of-9 from the three-point line, consistent with his scalding hot shooting (55.6%) from deep over the past 10 games. For the season, Porter is averaging 13.3 points, 4.5 rebounds and 6.0 assists per game, but those numbers are negatively skewed by a horrific start to the season, which saw Porter leading the NBA in turnovers. In Houston's six games in October, Porter was averaging a full 5.3 turnovers per game.
Porter should now build off that strong performance against a Miami team battling through COVID-19 protocols. Heat star Jimmy Butler also sprained his ankle and is questionable for tonight. The Heat will be limited to three primary players in Tyler Herro, Caleb Martin and Omer Yurtseven. Miami has been among the league's best against opposing point guards, ranking near the top in limiting points, rebounds and assists to opposing floor generals. However, that's based on their normal roster, a huge difference from what they will put on the floor in Houston. The Heat also allow the fifth-most points and third-most three-pointers to opposing shooting guards, providing opportunities for Porter to continue his hot shooting from beyond the arc.
This game carries a close point spread, projecting as a solid battle deep into the fourth quarter. My only concern is a possible cancellation, but if this game is played, Porter's prop line should rise as we approach tipoff.
Risk: 1.1 units on DraftKings to win 1 unit. (Playable to -120)
Kemba Walker Under 19.5 Points (-105)
This line is reflective of the absence of starting forward Julius Randle, who is now in COVID-19 protocols. While that should mean more scoring opportunities for Walker, he simply hasn't been playing well enough to crest this number. Walker has 10 or fewer points in three straight games, and the Knicks are playing their fifth game in 10 days. He has been battling a knee injury thoughout the season and is starting to show signs of slowing down.
Walker only played 20 minutes last game with Immanuel Quickley (35 minutes) and Alec Burks (27 minutes) seeing a dramatic increase in usage. Oklahoma City could possibly have guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander back from an ankle injury, and the Thunder have allowed the fourth-fewest points to opposing point guards. On our 4for4 Player Prop Tool, we project Walker for just 15.5 points, making this prop a 22.9% value play. This game carries the lowest over/under (205.5) on the Friday slate, convincing me to back the under on Walker's point total.
Risk: 1.05 units on DraftKings to win 1 unit. (Playable to -110)
Nassir Little Under 20.5 Points + Rebounds (-120)
Nassir Little enjoyed a season-best performance of 20 points and 10 rebounds against Dallas on Monday night. However, that line is more the exception when it comes to Little's seasonal totals. He is averaging just 8.7 points and 5.6 rebounds for the year, well below this DraftKings prop line. Even during the month of December, where he has enjoyed a spike in usage, Little's averages are just 9.6 points and 6.3 rebounds. He has failed to reach this total in five of the past seven games and is coming off a disappointing two-point, six-rebound performance against Utah.
Tonight, he faces a desperate Los Angeles Lakers team that has lost six of their past seven games. The Trail Blazers turned to bench players such as Anfernee Simons (29 minutes) and Cameron McGriff (20 minutes) in their last game to offset Little's struggles on offense. I wouldn't be surprised to see LeBron James guard Little for most of the game, further limiting his scoring chances. This is a bet on seasonal production and against a rare Little offensive eruption.
Risk: 1.20 units on DraftKings to win 1 unit. (Playable to -125)
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