Best NBA Player Props Today: Hartenstein Bears Down vs Grizzlies

Isaiah Hartenstein has done an outstanding job filling Mitchell Robinson's shoes for the Knicks, and our NBA betting picks expect that to continue vs. the Grizzlies tonight. He's the subject of just one of our three favorite NBA props for Saturday.

Rory Breasail - Betting Analyst at Covers.com
Rory Breasail • Betting Analyst
Jan 13, 2024 • 10:30 ET • 4 min read
New York Knicks NBA Isaiah Hartenstein
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

The name of the game on Saturday, January 13 is rest advantage. Many of the eight tilts on Saturday’s NBA odds slate feature matchups with at least one team playing on the second night of a back-to-back, which I’ve strongly considered when deciding on the best NBA picks for today’s schedule. 

My three favorite NBA player props feature the pull-up prowess of Fred VanVleet, the rebounding dominance of Isaiah Hartenstein, and the transformation of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander into the NBA’s premier defensive playmaker. 

Best NBA player props today

Picks made on January 13 at 10:30 a.m. ET.
Read full analysis of each pick.

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NBA player props for January 13

Prop bet #1: VanVleet in volume

There was a collective eyebrow raised across the NBA world when it was announced that Fred VanVleet was signing a three-year $128 million dollar deal with the Houston Rockets. Many Toronto Raptors fans were happy to see him go, oddly blaming him for the team’s offensive struggles in the clutch and accusing him of being a shot-happy ball hog.

The Raptors' offense promptly fell apart without him because they didn’t have a legit pull-up shooting threat capable of playing pick and roll with Jakob Poeltl (something they’ve finally rectified by adding Immanuel Quickley). What fans failed to appreciate is that while the Raptors weren’t generating amazing shots with VanVleet, he was the only one capable of taking them, and they were much better than the alternative.

So it’s unsurprising to see Fred fitting in so well in Houston, where he is the primary pick and roll partner for Alperen Sengun. And it’s VanVleet’s shooting off the bounce that makes their partnership work. 

Fred is shooting 4.6 pull-up 3s per game and hitting them at better than a 36% clip. That is just above the level where opposing defenses can’t simply concede the shot. Defenses have to go over on screens, which allows Fred to get the ball to Alpy with an advantage or just in his preferred parts of the court.

Per Cleaning the Glass, the Boston Celtics allow the most opponent above the break 3-point attempts. Part of their defense is to bet that opposing guards can’t hit that shot at a high enough level to dislodge their coverages from clogging up the paint. VanVleet isn’t an elite shooter, but he takes them such a high volume that he’s one of the few guards in the NBA who can genuinely make that painful tradeoff for the opposing team.

VanVleet is averaging 9.4 3-point attempts in January, and he’s hitting them at a 40.9% clip. While that level of efficiency isn’t likely to hold up, it’s the volume that I’m betting on this Saturday. In his last four games, VanVleet is taking 11.7 triples per game. It’s difficult not to hit at least three when you’re taking nearly 12 a game.

While this is a back-to-back, so these Fred VanVleet odds have been adjusted down accordingly. Given the sheer number of attempts Fred has been getting up on a game-to-game basis lately, this is my favorite bet on Saturday’s slate.

Fred VanVleet prop: Over 2.5 3s (-145 at bet365)

Prop bet #2: Hartenstein’s monster

New York Knicks fans received good news this week with reports that starting center Mitchell Robinson is recovering well from surgery and is possibly going to make a return to action late in the regular season. Robinson is one of the NBA’s best offensive rebounders, and his play formed a big part of New York’s identity.

What’s amazing is that his backup, Isaiah Hartenstein, has picked up right where Robinson left off. Hartenstein is not just defending at a high level and going blow for blow with opposing starters, he is downright dominating on the boards.

Ironically, the Knicks' opponent on Saturday, the Memphis Grizzlies, were also one of the NBA’s best rebounding teams with Steven Adams and Brandon Clarke. But both have missed the entire regular season and they’re now one of the NBA’s worst groups on the glass.

Jaren Jackson isn’t a traditional center, and Xavier Tillman is in the 25th percentile among defensive rebounders per Cleaning the Glass. The never-ending parade of players going in and out of the lineup for the Grizzlies hasn’t helped things either. Rebounding isn’t just effort and size – it’s positioning, boxing out, and playing within a team concept. Those habits have been hard to establish for a Grizzlies team that seems to lose another core player every night.

Hartenstein should win most of his battles on the glass against Memphis, as he’s done in nearly every game over the last few weeks. He’s up to 14.8 rebounds per game over his last five and has had at least fourteen in four of those contests. These Isaiah Hartenstein odds are simply too low.

Isaiah Hartenstein prop: Over 11.5 rebounds (-110 at SIA)

Prop bet #3: Grand theft SGA

When Shai Gilgeous-Alexander last played in the playoffs in the 2019-20 season as Chris Paul’s understudy, he struggled mightily on the defensive end. James Harden was picking him apart in the pick and roll, and much of the Houston Rockets offense revolved around mismatch-hunting against Shai.

My what a difference a couple of years makes.

Gilgeous-Alexander is now the NBA’s undisputed top defensive playmaker. He leads the NBA in total deflections, loose balls recovered, and steals. He’s also leading in steals per game at a robust 2.3 per contest.

He has an uncanny sense for how any given play will develop, and he has the athletic ability and innate desire to go blow it up at the exact right time. He’s also gotten much stronger since those early playoff struggles, and that strength allows him to go up against some of the NBA’s best guards and wings without wearing down.

All of that should serve him well with his steals prop tonight against the Orlando Magic. The Magic are on the second leg of a back-to-back and are traveling to Oklahoma City for Saturday’s game with the Thunder

This is a team that already employs numerous high-turnover players like Jalen Suggs, Paolo Banchero, and Anthony Black as ball handlers, who are also likely to be fatigued having lost a tightly-contested game to the Miami Heat last night. Fatigue leads to mistakes, and Shai should be well-positioned to capitalize on those mental lapses.

Shai has had fewer steals over the last several games than one would expect, but that has just served to make these Shai Gilgeous-Alexander odds more enticing. I’m betting on a return to form from the NBA’s steals leader.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander prop: Over 1.5 steals (-130 at bet365)

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