Basketball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice
FanDuel NBA Picks and DraftKings NBA Picks - 3/7/19
Happy Thursday, friends! After a weird, wild Wednesday we get a much tamer two game slate to chew on tonight. It happens to feature some really good basketball teams, but some pretty brutal NBA DFS match-ups. But you don't pay us the big bucks to complain. You want to value. So let's dig it out.
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Indiana Pacers at the Milwaukee Bucks
Milwaukee is favored by 10.5 in a game with a 222 total.
If you've read any of my game by game breakdowns before, you'll know that in general I try to stick with a "beggars can't be choosers" mentality with so few options. That being said, your top priority tonight is likely going to be trying to get as many guys from the OKC-POR game in as possible. This game features just about as many terrible things as you can imagine. It's squarely in the blowout range with the Bucks favored by 10.5 points. Early returns have no real extra value opening up on either side, and you have two teams that play their guys somewhat reliable minutes.
And perhaps worst of all, Milwaukee and Indiana rank #1 and #2 in the league in terms of defensive efficiency, respectively. On any slate of normal size this would be a full on skip. On a two game slate? Welp, here we go.
Brook Lopez FD - $6200 DK - $5300
Opponent - IND
Proj Pts FD - 27.12 DK - 26.38
The only serviceable play on Milwaukee, and I'm not even convinced I want to go that far. Giannis is far from an attractive payoff option (especially since it will be tough to fit him with Westbrook and Lillard, whom our system thinks are the best plays on their respective teams). That leaves us with Lopez. The only way Lopez winds up in your cash games tonight is if you simply have to play the cheapest available option. There is a chance that winds up being the case, with Myles Turner and Nurkic both looking pretty overpriced right now. Adams is a fine play, but he doesn't look too different from Lopez from where I'm sitting, and we have other places where we kind of need to spend up. Still, Lopez is a play from necessity rather than something you'd be excited about.
Thaddeus Young FD - $6600 DK - $5700
Opponent - MIL
Proj Pts FD - 35.6 DK - 34.57
Now here's a play I can get behind! Thad has been a sneaky high flor option in the last week or so, paying 5x+ points per dollar in 6 of his last 7 games. With Sabonis remaining on the sideline, his role should be relatively secure if the Pacers can manage to hang here. He's also one of the reluctant few who could conceivably hang with Giannis on this team, and the Pacers ought to wear him out in this one. Power forward is as bad as ever, so it's hard to imagine cash lineups without Young tonight.
After him, things fall apart rather quickly. Myles Turner is a playable if unexciting option. Wesley Matthews is high floor filler. Man, this game really is brutal.
Oklahoma City Thunder at the Portland Trail Blazers
Portland is favored 3.5 by in a game with a 233.5 total.
This is a leverage game with Oklahoma City and Portland currently in a three-team fight for the 3-5 seeds in the Western Conference and we can expect heavy minutes out of the key players.
Paul George returned from a three-game absence, but the Thunder couldn’t even make that easy, waiting until after lineup lock to announce PG would actually be playing through the shoulder soreness. It made for some interesting scrambling around lineups on Tuesday. We won’t have the same issue on Thursday. George returned and promptly played near-max (38) minutes in the loss the Timberwolves. He showed some rust in his shooting, going 8-25 from the field and 4-14 from three. PG’s return obviously cuts into the usage across the board and OKC becomes tough to play because the rest of the roster saw price increases over the last week with him out.
Russell Westbrook FD - $11400 DK - $11100
Opponent - POR
Proj Pts FD - 55.87 DK - 58.47
Russell Westbrook didn’t seem to mind though, posting a Russ-esque 38 points, 13 rebounds and six assists on 15-28 shooting from the field. On a short slate, it’s tough to pass on Westbrook here even at elevated price points. Portland (mostly Lillard) has allowed more than average scoring to opposing point guards this season and Westbrook should have as high a fantasy floor as anyone (including Giannis) on this slate.
Dennis Schroder remains moderately interesting even with George back, playing 29 minutes in his sixth-man role on Tuesday. On such a short slate, he might work to fit in that lower-middle pricing tier.
Damian Lillard FD - $9400 DK - $8100
Opponent - OKC
Proj Pts FD - 45.8 DK - 47.05
On the Portland side, they draw a tough matchup against the fifth-best defensive efficiency team in the league. But they are still three-point home favorites and projected to score the most points on the slate (118.5). Damian Lillard’s been a lock for 37 minutes a game over the short term and remains remarkably consistent in his shot attempts and assist numbers over the course of the season. Among other point guards in his tier of DraftKings’ points per game (others include Kyrie irving, Bradley Beal - kind of a PG at this point, Kemba Walker, Jrue Holiday) Lillard has the lowest coefficient of variation of the group. Essentially, we can *trust* the production on a night-to-night basis.
From a value standpoint, if you want to trust Mo Harkless’s 32 minutes from last game, then he’d ring in as close to a punt play as you’ll find on this slate (barring injury news after this post). I didn’t think that would be the case with Evan Turner returning to the lineup, but now Mo’s played 26 or more minutes in four of the last five games.
And finally, DraftKings is consistently daring us to play C.J. McCollum. Unlike Lillard, McCollum is so scoring dependent that his production often fluctuates more than we’d like to see for cash games. Among players with more than 1500 FanDuel points this season, CJ’s 66% Points/ FanDuel Points is the fifth-most in the league. If he’s not scoring, he’s not getting you much else. But like I said, on a short slate that DraftKing’s price is tough to ignore.
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- Damian Lillard, Raul Neto: (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)