NBA Prop Bets: Lonzo Ball, Devin Booker Headline Full Wednesday Slate

Image Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The 2021-22 NBA season tips off this week, and with it comes a new regular feature at Props.com. Each week, we’ll pluck our five favorite player and/or team NBA prop bets from the busy Wednesday and Friday night cards, and do what we do best: Provide in-depth analysis that you can choose to use (or not use!) for wagering purposes.

Occasionally, if we have a strong opinion on a particular NBA prop bet, we may even share it — so long as you promise not to hold us to it (after all, we aren’t touts).

On Tuesday, the NBA lifted the lid not the 2021-22 campaign with a doubleheader featuring Nets-Bucks and Warriors-Lakers. Tonight, 24 other teams will make their season debuts. Here our are top five NBA prop bets among those dozen contests.

Odds courtesy of DraftKings and updated as of 12 noon ET on Oct. 20.

Chicago Bulls PG Lonzo Ball

Image Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

The Prop: Over/Under 5.5 assists (at Detroit)
The Odds: Yes -145 / No +120

— Let’s begin with a subjective thought: The best way for Ball to make a great first impression with his new Bulls teammates involves being unselfish in the early going — perhaps unselfish to a fault. Not that it would be a stretch for Ball, who averaged 6.4 assists per outing in his first four NBA seasons with the Lakers and Pelicans.

Last year with New Orleans, Ball registered six or more assists in 25 of 55 games. But in seven career games against the Pistons, he’s averaged exactly seven assists per game.

— In its three head-to-head victories over Detroit last season, Chicago playmakers averaged 27.1 assists per game. On the whole, the Bulls tallied assists on 67.7 percent of the club’s field goals against the Pistons.

Boston Celtics at New York Knicks

Image Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Prop: Knicks Over/Under 109.5 points (vs. Celtics)
The Odds: Yes -110 / No -120

— The Knicks ranked 26th in scoring offense last season (107.0 points per game) but notched 110 or more points in exactly half of their 36 home games.

— Dating to December 2018, the Knicks have failed to reach 110 points in eight consecutive games against Boston, averaging precisely 100.0 points over this stretch.

— New York went 4-0 in the preseason, with three different players (Julius Randle, R.J. Barrett, and Derrick Rose) leading the team in scoring. With the presumed starters logging substantial minutes during the exhibition campaign, the Knicks averaged 108.5 points per game. Perhaps that’s an indication that New York is headed for a scoring uptick this season — maybe even as soon as tonight?

Cleveland Cavaliers at Memphis Grizzlies

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The Prop: Grizzlies Over/Under 113.5 points (vs. Cavs)
The Odds: Yes -110 / No -120

— On the surface, the Grizzlies appear to have a solid shot of hitting the Over here, since the club averaged 113.3 points last season. Then again, history isn’t on the franchise’s side: Memphis hasn’t notched 114 or more points versus Cleveland in 26 consecutive meetings dating to February 2008. How long ago is that? Well, Marc Iavaroni was the team’s head coach that year, and Rudy Gay — in just his second pro season — led the Grizzlies in scoring (20.1 points per outing).

— Continuing on the history topic: The last two times the Grizzlies got over this total against Cleveland it took overtime and double-overtime. They haven’t hit 114 points in regulation vs. the Cavs since March 19, 2003.

— Including the postseason, the Grizzlies averaged 112.4 points in their final 10 home games of last season.

Phoenix Suns SG Devin Booker

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The Prop: Over/Under 27.5 points (vs. Nuggets)
The Odds: Yes +100/No -120

— Booker has been a model of consistency with the Suns in the last four seasons, averaging 24.9, 26.6, 26.6, and 25.6 points per game. And that consistency carries over to his last 11 head-to-head encounters with Denver, with the All-Star guard averaging 26.4 ppg. In two meetings with the Nuggets last year, he put up 31 points (home) and 22 points (road).

— Booker eclipsed 27 points in 22 of 67 games last season and landed right on 27 four times. He’s also been a bit of a slow starter of late, as he’s averaged 22.3 points per outing in his last 19 October games.

— Booker accounted for 19.8 percent of the Suns’ scoring output in the first 10 games in 2020-21, during which time Phoenix averaged 110.8 points per contest.

Portland Trail Blazers PG Damian Lillard

Image Credit: Steph Chambers/Getty Images

The Prop: Over/Under 4.5 made three-pointers (vs. Kings)
The Odds: Yes -110 / No -110

— Last season, Lillard buried five or more three-pointers in 31 of 67 regular-season games, an occurrence rate of 46.3 percent.

— The Kings were among the NBA’s worst perimeter defenses last season, allowing opponents to shoot 38 percent from beyond the arc (26th overall). The above stat aligns with Lillard’s success rate against Sacramento last year, as he connected on 15 of 37 triple attempts over three games (40.5 percent). In two of those contests, Lillard drained six (road) and eight (home) triples.

— Charting his last six season debuts since November 2015, the All-Star guard hasn’t once made as many as five triples in a game. In fact, Lillard shot only 34.8 percent from beyond the arc in those six season openers (15 of 43 overall).