NBA Player Prop Bets: King James Returns to Denver
Opening night in the NBA is finally here! In the first of a two-game slate, we have the reigning NBA champion Denver Nuggets taking on the Los Angeles Lakers in a rematch of their Western Conference Finals series. The Nuggets defeated the Lakers in four games en route to their first-ever NBA Championship.
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October 24th NBA Player Prop Bets
Tonight marks the first games of the NBA season, and that means we will be firing off player props bets! The Lakers and Nuggets square off in the first game, while the Suns and Warriors match up in the second.
Michael Porter Jr. (DEN) Over 13.5 Points (-115 Bet365)
This is playable up to 14.5 points -125. Gone from the Nuggets are Bruce Brown and Jeff Green. Looking to fill their voids will be a combination of Reggie Jackson and Christian Braun. We will soon find out what kind of offensive power they can provide, but in the meantime, I expect the five starters will need to have extended overlaps with the bench, leading to more offensive opportunities for players like Porter.
Even if we simply project Porter to have last year’s usage and efficiency, which is reasonable considering the starting five is returning, and the changes are the integration of the role bench players. Last season, Porter averaged 29 mins and 17.4 points per game. In his two games against the Lakers in the regular season, he only averaged 14.5 points. In a two-game sample, I am skeptical of how heavily we should weigh them with respect to how Porter typically performs. In one of the games, Porter scored 17 points, hitting three of ten three-point shots in 28 minutes. This is closer to his averages. In the second game, against the Lakers, neither Anthony Davis nor Lebron James played. The Nuggets dominated the game, and Jamal Murray had 34 points. Porter played fewer minutes with lower volume, leading to a nine-point, ten-rebound performance. I view this second game as an outlier and not indicative of the season opener.
Risk: 1.15 units to win 1 unit
Lebron James (LAL) Over 23.5 Points (-110 DK & BetMGM, -120 Bet365)
This is playable up to 24.5 points -120. The Lakers reloaded their role players while retaining some from last season. Leaving in the offseason, Dennis Schroder, Lonnie Walker, and Malik Beasley. The new additions of Gabe Vincent, Taurean Prince, Cam Reddish, and Christian Wood, while securing Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura, provide plenty of depth for a postseason run. The starting rotation for the season won’t change for the most part, except for Jarred Vanderbilt being ruled out for the opener. The scoring distribution among the four starters should remain the same, and the role bench players contributing at various levels. I do not view any impact from the offseason moves to impact Lebron James. However, Father Time and head coach Devin Ham may have something to say. I believe this is lowering his lines. Let’s investigate what a playing time minutes reduction might look like.
Entering his 21st NBA season, James likely will see his minutes managed and reduced from last season, just as they were last year. As Ham reduced his minutes from 37.2 in 2021 to 35.5 in 2022. Let me repeat that, thirty-five, point five. Anything over 30 minutes for James, and I believe James hits this over. I have him projected at 35 minutes and 27.8 points. Last season, James averaged 36.3 minutes prior to the All-Star break, and 32.2 post All-Star break. It is a long NBA season; the minutes will be managed, but not on opening night. Season-long, we will need to keep an eye on his minutes and expect them to be in the 34-35 range until the All-Star break, and possibly go down to 30-32 minutes after the All-Star break.
Risk: 1.10 units to win 1 unit
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