We’re a little more than a week into the NBA’s regular season and already seeing some of the highest point, rebounding and assist totals in the game’s history.
With that being said, there’s money to be made exploiting some of these totals before oddsmakers bump up some of these players’ prop bets. It won’t necessarily be the top players for each statistic, but rather those who have exploded in a category and could have staying power.
Let’s get in to it.
God Bless contract years. Kemba Walker is in line to be paid next summer and is showing exactly what he’s worth early this season. He’s second in the NBA in points per game (33.0) and first in made 3-pointers (21). And he’s doing it for a Hornets team that doesn’t exactly have a lot of firepower around him; their next leading scorer is Malik Monk at 13.5 points per game.
Charlotte and first year head coach James Borrego are going to lean on Walker all year long, and while he’ll level off his scoring at some point there’s no reason to believe it’ll come soon given his soft upcoming schedule. In fact, you can bet Walker to go over 26.5 points Wednesday night against the Bulls on 888Sport.
This guy is for real. Over the weekend Young became the eighth rookie in NBA history to score 35 points and hand out 11 assists, doing so in just his third game. With John Collins still out, the Hawks will continue to rely on Young, who has upped his point total in three games from 14 to 20 to 35.
We believe he’ll sit somewhere in that low-20s range all year long, even if it’s done inefficiently. The points still count the same, and the Hawks want to unleash their rookie while the losses pile up. You can bet Young to go over 20.5 points tonight against the Mavericks on SugarHouse.
We saw the breakout version of Beal last season while John Wall was out with injury, and he hasn’t slowed down this season with his point guard back in the fold. Beal is currently averaging a career-best 25.2 points with an absurd 4.3 3-pointers per game through four contests. No, he won’t sustain the latter number, but with the rest of the Wizards offense off to a slow start it wouldn’t surprise us if he continued on as the team’s leading scorer.
We’re beginning to see the Minnesota version of K-Love, and what a sight to behold it is. Just a few games into the season Love is averaging 14.3 rebounds per game. With no LeBron, Love is being asked to do much more and is playing 35.7 minutes per night, the most since his final year with the Timberwolves. He’s going to rack up boards, especially if the Cavs continue to go small for the majority of the game.
It’s safe to say The Greek Freak likes playing for Mike Budenholzer. The Bucks’ new head coach seems to have unlocked something in Antetokounmpo, who is averaging 16.0 rebounds through three contests. There’s reason to believe it’ll continue, too, as the Bucks like him initiating fast breaks for their 3-point-centric offense. It sounds crazy but there’s a chance Giannis could lead the NBA in rebounding this year. He seems that committed to it.
Another contract year player, Portis looks comfortable in the starting lineup alongside rookie Wendell Carter Jr. That also has opened up more rebounding opportunities for him, as he has grabbed 14, 11 and 8 boards to begin the season. That 11.0 per game average sounds about right for a guy who will get plenty of minutes with Lauri Markkanen out, and solid rebounding point guard Kris Dunn will now miss the next six weeks with a knee sprain.
All signs point to Portis continuing to gobble up boards. You can bet Portis to go over 9.5 rebounds tonight against the Hornets on 888Sport.
That’s right. The guy we associate mid-range pull-ups and high-flying dunks has been one of the best passers early in the year. Gregg Popovich is putting his newest toy in a position to succeed, and he’s responded with 4, 9 and 14 assists in three games.
No, he won’t continue that 9.0 average, but with Dejounte Murray, Lonnie Walker IV and Derrick White all out someone needs to be the facilitator. For now, that man is DeRozan. You can bet DeRozan to go over 5.5 assists tonight against the Pacers on 888Sport.
With Rajon Rondo sidelined due to suspension James has taken on his old role in facilitating the Lakers offense. He showed it on Monday with a 14-assist performance against the Spurs and it doesn’t look like he’ll be changing his mentality any time soon, especially with his team sitting winless through one week of play. The Lakers are playing at a crazy-fast pace, which simply seems more assist opportunities for James, who is averaging 8.3 through three games.
The Suns don’t have a true point guard, so Booker has been called upon to be just that. And while his scoring has been his best trait early in the year (29.3 per game) his assists aren’t that far behind (6.7). Yes, he’s averaging 6.0 turnovers per game but his usage is through the roof, and he’s got a solid offensive supporting cast around him that should see his assist numbers improve, especially when teams begin keying in on stopping his shot making.
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