NBA Bettors Capitalizing on Ben Simmons’ Scoring Struggles

  • Ben Simmons is being targeted by NBA bettors for his scoring struggles
  • The Nets traded James Harden to the 76ers for Simmons in February
  • Simmons is averaging just over five points per game through four games
  • 95% of bettors wagered on Simmons scoring fewer than 8.5 points on Wednesday
Basketball player missing dunk
The Brooklyn Nets’ Ben Simmons is making bettors a lot of money as he continues to struggle to score the basketball. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Starting slow

If you’re one of the 95% of NBA bettors that bet the under the sportsbooks set for Ben Simmons’ scoring output, you had a good week.

the three-time All-Star is averaging just 5.3 points

The Ben Simmons era in Brooklyn has not gotten off to the start that everyone hoped for. The three-time All-Star is averaging just 5.3 points, 5.8 rebounds and 7.5 assists per game with 45/0/33% shooting splits. The Nets are only 1-3 and are at risk of falling far behind the rest of a talented Eastern Conference.

Brooklyn is doing its best to uphold its status as a title contender, but Simmons’ poor performances are already beginning to hamstring them. Not NBA bettors, though. They’re living.

NBA bettors target Simmons’ points

Simmons was traded to the Nets from the Philadelphia 76ers in February in a package with Andre Drummond and Seth Curry for James Harden. The Sixers got the ball-dominant playmaker and floor-spacer they needed, while the Nets got a rebounding big, a knockdown shooter, and a versatile defender that could score and pass the ball.

At least, that’s what Brooklyn’s front office thought when it pulled the trigger. Much to their surprise, Simmons did not appear in a single game in the regular or postseason, claiming that he was dealing with a lack of conditioning and back issues.

Many NBA fans did not buy the 26-year-old’s excuse. When last seen, he was dropping five points and turning down open dunks in Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Semifinals and being called out by his coach and teammates. The general consensus was that injuries were not to blame for his reluctance to get back on the court, but rather a broken mentality and spirit.

In the Nets’ four games thus far, he has scored four, six, seven, and four points.

Whatever the true answer, Simmons has not done enough to prove his doubters wrong. In the Nets’ four games thus far, he has scored four, six, seven, and four points. He has taken nine total free throws and one three-point attempt.

Simmons’ teammates promised to be hard but patient with him as he regained his comfort on the court. However, Kyrie Irving Wednesday was the first to show his frustration with his backcourt mate, berating him for refusing to shoot the basketball.

There are still 78 games left in the regular season, plenty of time to turn it around. But as it stands, Simmons is becoming an under machine on the points total.

Regression and looming questions

One of the most puzzling pieces of the Simmons discussion is that he is not incapable of scoring. He has averaged as many as 16.9 and as few as 14.3 points per game across entire seasons, compared to the 5.3 he is averaging for Brooklyn. 

Simmons’ most recent game was against the Milwaukee Bucks, the favorites to win the NBA Finals, on Wednesday night. Simmons has a competitive beef with Giannis Antetokounmpo, the two-time MVP and leader of the Bucks, stemming back a couple of years.

The Bucks emerged with a 110-99 victory and Giannis dominated the matchup. He finished with 43 points, 14 rebounds and five assists, while Simmons wound up with four points, five rebounds and nine assists.

Unfortunately for Vegas, a vast majority of NBA bettors got exactly what they expected. 

There are many questions regarding what to do with Simmons, what his value on the open market is, and how high the Nets can finish with him getting consistent playing time. The answers will only come with time, which is the one thing the Nets don’t have as they continue to pursue a championship.

Simmons and the Nets will be back in action Thursday night when Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks come to town.