NBA Player Prop Bets, Picks: Value on Karl-Anthony Towns’ Passing Skills (Monday, Apr 5)

Hannah Foslien/Getty Images. Pictured: Karl-Anthony Towns #32 of the Minnesota Timberwolves.

It may be NCAA championship night in the college basketball world, but we’ve still got a full slate of NBA action tonight too, with seven games on the docket.

Might as well grab our usual NBA player props and make some money while we’re watching the amateurs duke it out for the title, right?

For those who are new to this article, we’ll be using the Action Labs Player Prop tool to compare our NBA projections to the props posted at a variety of sportsbooks. Each bet is then graded on a scale from 1-10, with 10 being the best possible grade.

Below, I have laid out three prop bets that I’m playing, the case for each bet and the best books to find odds on those player props.

NBA Player Props & Picks

Jakob Poeltl, Over 2.5 STL + BLK (-125)

Cavaliers vs. Spurs Spurs -9.5
Time | TV 7 p.m. ET | NBA League Pass
Best Book BetMGM

Don’t look now, but the Spurs may finally have given the keys of the car to Jakob Poeltl. He has always been something of an analytics darling, first for the Raptors and then for San Antonio, but usually in a very part-time role. He’s a very good defender but never seems to tie down the starting role long enough, despite usually looking pretty good in it.

That may finally be in Poeltl’s past. He’s started 26 games in a row for the Spurs, averaging almost an even 30 minutes per game and close to a double-double at 10.3 points and 9.6 rebounds as a starter. And with LaMarcus Aldridge finally gone, it looks like this is Poeltl’s job for good.

Poeltl’s defensive numbers have remained strong as a starter. During this recent stretch of starts, he’s averaging 2.1 blocks and 0.7 steals per game, a healthy 2.8 stocks. He’s gone over 2.5 stocks in 14 of these 26 starts, hitting this over 54% of the time, and the stock numbers are up lately.

Poeltl has gone over 2.5 stocks in five of his last six, and his minutes are way up in April too, almost 42 per game. Tonight’s matchup against the Cavs should present a nice opportunity for more stocks too. Cleveland turns it over 15.6 times per game, most in the entire NBA.

We project Poeltl at 3.5 stocks tonight, so let’s hope he keeps the good times rolling and play him to -140.

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Karl-Anthony Towns, Over 4.5 AST (-140)

Kings vs. Timberwolves Kings -4.5
Time | TV 7 p.m. ET | NBA League Pass
Best Book BetMGM

It looks like the Minnesota Timberwolves will be incredibly shorthanded again. Ricky Rubio and Malik Beasley are doubtful to play, and though it looks like D’Angelo Russell may be back soon, he’s listed as doubtful too. That’s a whole lot of ball handling missing for this team, and that means we should get a ton of Karl-Anthony Towns tonight.

Remember, this is sort of Chris Finch’s thing. Finch is still relatively new as Minnesota’s head coach, and he’s had a lot of success in the past playing through a talented big man in the middle. Tonight looks like a great night to see what he can do.

Over the past two weeks, Towns has been putting up pretty big numbers. He’s scored 28.0 points and added 13.6 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game over his last seven outings, and he’s gone over 4.5 assists in five of those seven games. He’s also had at least 22 points in all but one of them and at least 12 rebounds in all but one, so this could be a night to play a combo prop for an overall big game from KAT, if you prefer.

I like just the assists best. We project Towns at 6.6 assists, which gives this prop better than a 20% edge in our favor with that upside in tow. A matchup with the Kings should be high scoring and fast paced, and this is the sort of matchup Towns should dominate. I’ll play the over as high as -170.

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Svi Mykhailiuk, Under 2.5 AST (+128)

Pistons vs. Thunder Pistons -3
Time | TV 7 p.m. ET | NBA League Pass
Best Book FanDuel

Well, we tried to play the Ukrainian bomber on Saturday night and it didn’t go so well. Mykhailiuk had been putting up pretty consistent scoring numbers and moved into a nice starting role for the Thunder before he fell off against the Blazers, scoring just three points.

Tonight we’re going with his passing instead of his scoring. Mykhailiuk has started four games in a row for Oklahoma City, so it looks like the Thunder are trying to see what they have in their 3-point marksman.

A funny thing has happened with Mykhailiuk’s numbers, though. In four games as a starter, Svi is averaging 11.8 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 0.3 assists in 27.3 minutes. In the four games prior, coming off the bench, Mykhailiuk was at 9.4 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 2.5 assists in 19.4 minutes. His minutes have gone up and taken the scoring and rebounding with them, as expected. But the assists have disappeared.

Mykhailiuk had 10 assists in those four games off the bench, but just one in his four games as a starter. And actually, that makes sense if you think about it. More minutes typically means more opportunity, but not more opportunity for everything. More shots makes sense for a shooter, but Mykhailiuk is playing minutes with more talented handlers and creators, and against better defenses, so he’s not getting as many assist opportunities.

Our props tool is fading Mykhailiuk every direction tonight, but I like grabbing just the assists under since he’s put up a donut in the dimes column three games in a row and we’re getting plus juice. I’ll play this at any positive number.

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