One of the most alluring types of bets are prop bets, particularly with players. This page will break down our new player props tool, what player prop bets are, and light strategy on prop betting. Use this page to maximize your potential earnings with NBA prop betting this season.
NBA props tool: Find the best odds
The player props search tool was built to make everyone’s life easier, and we didn’t try to hide its purpose in the name. Courtesy of our friends at MetaBet, TheLines now provides a one-stop shop that gathers odds from a dozen sportsbooks and puts them in one place. Besides cutting minutes off your search by putting DraftKings Sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook, BetMGM, and others right in front of you; the search tool also shows you dozens of prop bets for the individual player.
Advice oft-repeated at TheLines is to shop around when placing bets; just because Fox Bet offers certain odds doesn’t mean another sportsbook won’t offer better odds. For example, BetMGM offers the over/under on LeBron James’ projected scoring total for a regular season game against the Rockets at 25.5. However, DraftKings Sportsbook may offer the same prop at over/under 23.5. That two-point discrepancy might not seem like much, but it’s solid insurance against a bad beat and maximizes your win probability.
Similarly, two sportsbooks may offer the same prop, but at different odds. For example, Luka Doncic’s season-long odds to win the MVP lands at +400 at DraftKings Sportsbook. However, FanDuel Sportsbook lists his MVP odds at +500. A $100 bet at DK would pay out $400 (plus the initial $100 bet), but the same $100 wager placed at FanDuel would pay out $500– a $100 difference (plus the initial $100 bet).
The player props search tool is made to maximize winnings and minimize time flipping through windows and tabs.
NBA game odds today
Best sportsbooks to bet NBA props
As long as you live in a state where sports betting is legal, you have plenty of options to bet on the NBA the season. It’s important to stick to domestic sportsbooks, as offshore books can be unstable and are illegal in the United States. The major domestic books that you should consider are DraftKings Sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook, and William Hill.
DraftKings Sportsbook is an official partner of ESPN, Turner Media, the Indiana Pacers, Boston Celtics, and Philadelphia 76ers, having signed a three-year deal with the latter NBA teams in February 2020. For new users, DraftKings offers a 20% bonus on first deposit up to $1,000.
FanDuel Sportsbook has sponsorship deals with the Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets, Chicago Bulls, Dallas Mavericks, and Orlando Magic. New users at FanDuel get a $1,000 risk-free bet after placing their first real-money bet. This means that, up to $1,000, if your first bet on the site loses, they will refund your bet amount to your account to try again (offer valid through December 31, 2021).
William Hill struck a deal with the NBA itself in October 2019 to become the official betting partner of the league and signed a deal with the Indianapolis Colts in October 2020 (in conjunction with Caesars Entertainment). William Hill is also the largest sports betting company in the United States. They offer a William Hill $500 risk-free bet for new users– if your first bet with the company loses, William Hill will refund the bet amount in free bet credit.
What are NBA prop bets?
The NBA has more stats that make great and easy prop bets than maybe any other league. Common game props include points scored, rebounds, blocks, and assists. Less common props include who will win the opening tip, which player scores the first basket, or which team gets the last shot of the first half. The options are limitless in an easily-quantifiable sport.
Some prop bets classify as “team/game props” while others are classified as “player props.” Team or game props and player props can have many of the same metrics (points scored, total assists, etc.), but team props refer to the entire team while player props refer to the player.
Some metrics that refer to only teams include first team to score (regardless of player), quarter and half point totals, and whether the total points scored between both teams will be an odd number or an even one.
Are NBA futures different than NBA props?
Futures bets are prop bets that take place over a duration longer than a game. Common futures bets include odds to win individual awards (MVP, Rookie of the Year, etc.), season averages (points, assists, rebounds, etc.), or winners of certain playoff series (Finals champion, Eastern Conference champion, etc.). All of the aforementioned bets are considered futures bets.
Futures bets take place over varying durations — a season, a month, or a series. They can also take place over the duration of the regular season or postseason, or before or after the All Star break.
Prop bets, on the other hand, refer to individual game performances. They may include point totals, assist totals, odds to score first, etc., but they take place over the course of a single game. Both futures bets and prop bets include team/game props and player props.
NBA prop betting strategy
Now that you’re up to speed on prop bets, it’s time to focus on strategy. There are several factors to take into consideration before placing a prop bet, including injury status, usage, matchups, line shopping, and public notion.
It’s worth noting ailments and injuries to not only players, but their teammates and opposition when considering whether or not to bet on them. For example, if Devin Booker has been dealing with a wrist injury to his shooting hand, it could have a great effect on his shooting percentage, tendencies, or even willingness to shoot. Instead of laying completely off Booker for the night, under props might be of strong consideration, especially if his point total is high or his assist total is low.
Usage and minutes trends are important to keep an eye on, and glancing at their average season minutes might not be enough to cut it. The emergence of some of the best players started with a slight increase in minutes played and percentage of possessions where they touch the ball. The inverse may also be true, especially with aging veterans who might see more rest later in the season.
For the more technical fans, player matchups and team matchups can really help with deciding how a player will do. For example, if Damien Lillard is facing a larger, more physical guard (Marcus Smart), it may be more difficult for Lillard to get his spot or even open at all. Other matchups to be wary of are system matchups; some players struggle against zone while others may excel against man-to-man. Tape can tell a story while statistics (even advanced ones) cannot.
A common strategy to use for props (or betting in general) is fading the public. This refers to watching line movement based on how the public bets the prop and betting the opposite once the number swings too far one way. For example, in the days of Jeremy Lin and Linsanity, it was only a matter of time before the public was so bullish on Lin that his game props would turn outrageous. Other streaky players that catch national attention can have inflated point totals (or conversely, low if a player is in a slump) that can offer easy prop bets for bettors.
The last piece of advice is the most important — shop around for different lines. Sticking to one sportsbook might be easy and comfortable, but other books may offer better odds. As mentioned earlier, just because FanDuel Sportsbook offers Andre Drummond’s rebound total at 9.5 for one game doesn’t mean BetMGM won’t offer the same at 10.5, giving under betters a cushion. This can also help out when deciding to bet over or under: if DraftKings sportsbook offers Drummond at, say, 6.5 rebounds, and all the other books offer 9.5 or 10.5, hitting the over at DK might be beneficial.
Shopping around for different lines can be time consuming, but not if you use our player props search tool! It eliminates all time wasted clicking through tabs and lays everything out for you instantly.