Best NBA Player Props Today: VanVleet Shares the Wealth

A short slate of NBA action means less volume but not necessarily less value on the prop market front. Fred VanVleet might be the best of the bunch, particularly when it comes to his assists market. See who else we like on tonight's schedule.

Apr 4, 2024 • 14:05 ET • 4 min read
Fred VanVleet Houston Rockets NBA
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We have five games on tonight's NBA slate, and all five carry massive playoff implications, so we have searched through the NBA odds to find you the best NBA player prop bets. 

Do we think the Atlanta Hawks won't blitz Luka Doncic, play drop coverage, and allow him to score 73 points again? If Kim Mulkey were their head coach, I'd say yes. 

While Doncic versus the Hawks always brings high drama, we have our eyes on some other NBA player props tonight. 

Find out who I'm backing and more in my free NBA picks for Thursday, April 4.

Best NBA player props today

Picks made on April 4 at 1:30 p.m. ET.
Read full analysis of each pick.

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NBA player props for April 4

Prop bet #1: VanVleet of foot

Thursday's matchup against the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets carries significant playoff implications, as the Rockets desperately need a win to keep their Play-In Tournament hopes alive. The winner will also secure the season series, which is the tiebreaker in the standings and could be extremely important.

You understand what this means for many key Rockets players and their playing time. Ime Udoka hasn't been shy about increasing Fred VanVleet's minutes of late, as he has played 40+ minutes in three of his last four games. Though our current projection for VanVleet is only 37 minutes, he'll likely surpass that number.

In their last meeting on November 20, the Rockets made a conscious effort to continuously challenge Stephen Curry on defense in the pick-and-roll. That won't change on Thursday, and Curry should be the primary defender on VanVleet. He's essentially the only player Curry can effectively match up against, as there's no chance he'll guard Jalen Green, and Dillon Brooks will likely exploit him in the post.

This should put VanVleet on the ball more against the Warriors and move Green off the ball, who has been on a heater and playing a slightly different role of late. Because of the matchups with the Warriors, this should be a VanVleet assists game instead of a Green assists game.

We project VanVleet to record 8.3 assists on Thursday against the Warriors, leading us to price the Over 7.5 assists at -138, but it's available at -105 on DraftKings.

Fred VanVleet prop: Over 7.5 assists (-105 at DraftKings)

Prop bet #2: Key in on Ellis

I played the Over 2.5 on Keon Ellis' assists prop on Tuesday, and he didn't get there as he only played 21 minutes and had one assist. It's not the outcome I was hoping for, but the way this game played out for Ellis against the Los Angeles Clippers has caused his prop to adjust down to 1.5, and I don't think that's a correct adjustment at all. 

Malik Monk is out for the Sacramento Kings, and Ellis played 38 minutes in the game he left with an injury. He only played 27 minutes in the following game (it was a blowout), and then Ellis only played 21 minutes (fouled out and blowout). 

Ellis is being priced as if he is someone who is only going to see around 25 minutes per game, but I strongly disagree that this is Ellis' role with Monk out for an extended amount of time. You're being gifted a scenario where the sportsbooks have adjusted his price based on the box score of the last two games when, in reality, his minutes were affected by game script and early foul trouble and doesn't properly represent his role. 

Can I scream from the rooftops about this price of Over 1.5 assists (-115) for Ellis? 

Not to mention the matchup with the New York Knicks should also help Ellis and his minutes. He is the best perimeter defender on the Kings, so they will need his defense against the backcourt trio of Jalen Brunson, Miles McBride, and Donte DiVincenzo, who essentially create all of New York's offense. 

Ellis is projected to have 2.5 assists on Thursday against the Knicks, which allows us to price the Over 1.5 assists at -222, but it is available at bet365 at -115. You can see we have a healthy probability gap here, and it's because Ellis should be trading with a total of 2.5 assists.

Keon Ellis prop: Over 1.5 assists (-115 at bet365)

Prop bet #3: McBride's pride

I keep backing Miles McBride on the Over for his assists prop, and he keeps leaving me on read with multiple hooks, but that won't stop me from going back to the well. You can't live in fear when it comes to sports betting. A good price is a good price, and McBride has an edge on his assists prop once again. 

If you had any doubt that McBride might eventually be faded here by Tom Thibodeau, you can put those thoughts to bed. It was announced earlier today that Julius Randle will be out for the season. Obviously, the Knicks need OG Anunoby back, but McBride isn't going anywhere. They need his offense, so I hope he's ready to continue playing 40+ minutes per night for Thibodeau. 

In previous bets with McBride, we have been very dependent on Brunson and DiVincenzo knocking down 3-pointers to convert his potential assists, but we should be able to capitalize on some more high-value potential assists around the rim against the Kings. 

Domantas Sabonis is an excellent offensive center, but the Achilles' heel of the Kings' defense has always been their rim protection. McBride should be able to drive to the basket and find Isaiah Hartenstein/Mitchell Robinson on the dump-off or Josh Hart on a cut, and these players should have an easy time finishing at the rim. 

McBride is projected to have 3.9 assists on Thursday against the Kings, which allows us to price the Over 3.5 assists at -117, but it is available at bet365 at +130. Based on this projection, this bet is showing a positive expected value of 24%.

Miles McBride prop: Over 3.5 assists (+130 at bet365)

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