Basketball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice
FanDuel NBA Picks and DraftKings NBA Playoff Picks - Thursday 4/18/19
NBA Playoffs are heating up and we have a three-game slate to dive into. All three of our series today are tied 1-1, but are they all created equally? Let's get to it.
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76ers (-2.5) vs. Nets (+2.5)
Vegas Projected Score
It's the first game on the slate, and we'll start off confused. Brooklyn treated the Sixers on their home court in game one, and pundits everywhere were pouring dirt on "the process" (and The Process). Welp, in game 2 the Sixers poured in 51 third quarter points en route to a 22 point victory. So what should we expect for game three?
Well, that isn't so clear at this point. This big question mark has to surround Joel Embiid, who quite frankly just looks hurt out there. He's not running the floor, he's said he has trouble "cutting and jumping," and generally looks uncomfortable. That being said, he's still averaging 22.5 points and 12.5 rebounds in just 22 minutes of action, so he's still taking full advantage of the tremendous match-up. He's currently listed as questionable for this one, but his uncertain status creates question marks throughout the Philly lineup. More minutes out of Embiid means a lot fewer shots to go around, and obviously fewer minutes for back-up bigs Mike Scott and Boban Marjanovic.
Philadelphia ValueTobias Harris FD - $6800 DK - $6100
Opponent - BKN
Proj Pts FD - 36.98 DK - 38.21
The two premier Philly plays, for my money. The Simmons is piece is likely obvious. He simply has to be the main creator with Embiid hobbled, and he finally rose to the occasion in game two. He dropped a triple double in less than 30 minutes on the floor, and he was finally able to take advantage of his considerable size advantage. He goes from a solid play if Embiid is fully healthy and a must-play if he isn't, so you're going to play him regardless.
Harris might not present quite so obvious a case, but at the very least I loved seeing him lead the team in minutes when going got tough in game 1. Tobias defends his position well, can defend multiple positions if Brooklyn tries their small ball approach from game one again, and can contribute in multiple ways. He didn't score much in game one, but in game two's blowout he got 12 shots in the air in less than 30 minutes and scored 19 points. He just seems like a high floor option at an otherwise tough position.
Elsewhere on Philly, you're basically just waiting to see the news from Embiid, but I think Jimmy Butler could still be in takeover mode here.
Brooklyn ValueD'Angelo Russell FD - $8000 DK - $8200
Opponent - PHI
Proj Pts FD - 39.84 DK - 41.97
DeMarre Carroll FD - $4500 DK - $4600
Opponent - PHI
Proj Pts FD - 27.44 DK - 28.78
Spencer Dinwiddie FD - $4900 DK - $5300
Opponent - PHI
Proj Pts FD - 30.59 DK - 31.85
Whatever happens, it seems very obvious that these three guys are firmly a part of the plan. Carroll led the team in minutes in game one, and is really Brooklyn's only defensive answer for multiple players on the Sixers. If this game stays close, he'll be a staple. Dinwiddie and Russell were an imposing one-two punch in game one, with Russell launching 25 shots in less than 30 minutes and Dinwiddie providing an incredible spark off the bench. Both are cheaper than they have been at various points during the season, and are the only two Nets that can reliably get their own shot. The Nets are just three point dogs here, and if the game stays close it will almost have to be because Dinwiddie and Russell shoot a combined 40 times.
Ed Davis FD - $3700 DK - $4000
Opponent - PHI
Proj Pts FD - 24.03 DK - 23.9
The enigma. Davis looked positively unstoppable after taking over for Jarrett Allen in game one, dropping 12 points and 16 rebounds in just 25 minutes. Then he played 5 minutes in game two's blowout. What's the real plan here? It's not entirely clear to me, but there's very obviously upside on these bottom tier prices.
Nuggets (3.5) vs. Spurs (-3.5)
Vegas Projected Score: San Antonio 107 - Nuggets 103.5
The Spurs started game two in the same way they played game one, with efficient offensive positions and great perimeter defense. The Nuggets mustered a 39 point fouth quarter to even things up, but it's obvious that getting buckets with their unconventional offense is going to continue to be a challenge. Vegas has the 7th seed Spurs as 3.5 point favorites for this one, so at the very least we should be looking at a close contest. This game also has by far the lowest total, though, so let's see what's changed and where we can find some value.
Denver ValueDenver is sort of a tricky team to project here, because we saw both Millsap and Barton lose minutes in game two (albeit for different reasons). With Millsap is was foul related, and with Barton is was performance related, but given that both have seen their minutes fluctuate throughout the season I'm not sure either is entirely dependable. Still, if these prices are to be believed Paul Millsap still has to be something of a value, especially if you believe as I do that the minutes should return.
Nikola Jokic FD - $10700 DK - $9400
Opponent - SA
Proj Pts FD - 55.3 DK - 57.35
Denver seemed to remember that their entire playoff hopes are predicated on Jokic in game two, as very capably ran the offense when he was given the opportunity. He led the team with 8 assists, and chipped in 21 points and 13 rebounds for good measure. He's still somewhat inexpensive, and the Spurs are quite simply without a good answer for him. It's not a day with an overwhelming amount of center value (unless you believe in Embiid), and he might be the payoff you're looking for.
Gary Harris FD - $5800 DK - $5100
Opponent - SA
Proj Pts FD - 27.91 DK - 28.31
You know what? I just love the price I'm paying for Harris' current minutes and usage. His role in the offense has come and gone, but with San Antonio over-committing to Jokic and Murray, Gary was able to get 15 shots up in game two. He connected on 10 of those (including three 3 pointers), and I think he's just got plenty of floor if the Spurs are going to force him to beat them.
San Antonio ValueLaMarcus Aldridge FD - $8300 DK - $7500
Opponent - DEN
Proj Pts FD - 41.39 DK - 40.84
Alridge is the main standout on the Spurs side, as he was the only one the Spurs seemed totally committed to when the going got tough in game two. It was odd that he and DeRozan flipped their minutes in games one and two in spite of both games being very competitive, though, and you should be aware that you're not exactly getting a ton of safety from either. Still, on a three game slate it is sometimes the best we can do.
Elsewhere on the Spurs, our system thinks you can sprinkle in some Rudy Gay and Derrick White are playable cash game options. Both of their minutes were heading in the right direction in game two, and Derrick White looks like he can give Murray problems on defense. I'd be fine seeing either name show up in my cash game lineups. I'm not nearly as high on DeRozan, though, after we saw that game 1's 39 minutes isn't necessarily the every-game plan here.
Warriors (-8.5) vs. Clippers (+8.5)
Vegas Projected Score: Golden State 123 - Los Angeles 114.5
Game 2 might already be on ESPN classic, with Lou-Will and Gallinari pounding their chests and making the Kobe face en-route to an historic comeback on Golden State's home floor. I don't necessarily mind the Dubs, but there was something satisfying about seeing them pout and Durant get ejected. Just good times. The only sad thing was Boogie's quad tear, which will sideline him for at least six weeks. His absence should let the Clips get away with their own version of small ball even more effectively. But where does this leave us for game 3?
Well, Vegas is at least moderately convinced. After being 13+ point dogs on the road, the Clips are just 8.5 point underdogs at home
Golden State ValueStephen Curry FD - $10400 DK - $9100
Opponent - LAC
Proj Pts FD - 47.74 DK - 50.56
Klay Thompson FD - $6500 DK - $5900
Opponent - LAC
Proj Pts FD - 35.98 DK - 36.64
Draymond Green FD - $8800 DK - $6700
Opponent - LAC
Proj Pts FD - 38.7 DK - 37.91
I think I'm just kind of down to run any of these guys, blowout risk be damned. After letting a huge lead slip away in game two it's very hard to imagine the Dubs taking their foot off the pedal in game three. Boogie going down matters more than it might seem, since he quietly presented one of the biggest mismatches for the Clippers. He also ate a certain amount of shots, and every bit helps on a three game slate.
I could also see playing Kevin Durant, but I was far from impressed with his mental game after being properly baited by Patrick Beverley in game two. The 9 turnovers are troubling, as was his blow-up. He's totally playable of course, but I'm not going to prioritize him.
Los Angeles ValueLou Williams FD - $8700 DK - $7400
Opponent - GS
Proj Pts FD - 35.88 DK - 37.16
Montrezl Harrell FD - $8000 DK - $6300
Opponent - GS
Proj Pts FD - 36.71 DK - 35.75
Bench boys! Lou Will did literally everything for the Clippers in game two, leading the team in both scoring and assists in his 33 minutes off the bench. He's one of two guys on the team that can create his own shot, and if he's actually willing to create for others when Golden State cheats onto him these prices are a joke.
As for Harrell, Boogie going down opens up a big opportunity for him to keep playing 30+ minutes per game. He shot 9/9 from the field, and while you can't count on that going forward you can count on the rather easy double-double. Power forward is weak, and he's a very high floor option there if you think the Clips stay in this one.
After the bench buddies, I like Shai Gilgeous-Alexander plenty as well. It's not great that Williams basically assumed the point guard duties entirely in game two, but he's still very affordable and point guard is surprisingly thin on this slate.