Basketball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

James Davis

FanDuel NBA Picks and DraftKings NBA Playoff Picks - Sunday 4/21/19

Another day, another four game NBA playoff slate. We thought the end of the regular season was crazy, but the playoffs have delivered their fair share as well. Will Boston complete the sweep? Will the Warriors continue to step on the Clippers' collective necks? Let's jump into it and find out.  

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Celtics Celtics (3) vs. Pacers Pacers (-3)

Vegas Implied Score: Indiana 103.25 - Boston 100.25

Over/ Under: 204
Series: Boston 3-0

After back to back soul-crushing losses, this one is certainly starting to feel like a tailor-made 4-0. Following up a big 2nd quarter with a 12 point disaster must have been truly heartbreaking, and it's very hard to imagine the Pacers bounce back here.

Still, Vegas is relatively unphased, and the Pacers are actually favored by three points here. We'll treat this game as any other in the meantime, and break down what we've seen from each team recently.

Boston Value

Al HorfordAl Horford FD - $6700 DK - $6600
Opponent - IND
Proj Pts FD - 38.54 DK - 38.16

Jaylen BrownJaylen Brown FD - $4900 DK - $4900
Opponent - IND
Proj Pts FD - 29.11 DK - 29.25

The Celtics have consolidated their minutes for the playoffs, and Horford and Brown seem to be two of the biggest beneficiaries. I was close in deciding between Brown and Danny Green last game, but it seems clear that Brown is going to be more actively involved for the Celtics than I had assumed. Both are excellent value options on any site.

I'm not big on Kyrie or Tatum, but don't sleep on Gordon Hayward. He's looked oddly spry these playoffs, and is coming off of a game where he played 32 minutes. He didn't do a whole lot with it, but he's still pretty cheap at a somewhat thin position.

Indiana Value

Our system is considerably unimpressed with the Pacers messing with their minutes, and of course you can't really blame them given that not much has been working. They've leaned more heavily into Thaddeus Young and Bojan Bogdanovic, but those two guys have been priced out of consideration on FanDuel. On DraftKings, though, both are looking like good options on the basis of being the only two reliable minutes guys. I can see a case for running Bojan on FanDuel just based on the floor.

After those two, my Spidey-sense is going off about the rest of these pieces. We've seen the love-hate relationship with guys like Turner, Collison, and Sabonis, and I'd really rather not run any of those guys in cash.

Warriors Warriors (-8.5) vs. Clippers Clippers (+8.5)

Over/Under: 235
Vegas Projected Score: Golden State 123 - Los Angeles 114.5

Series: Golden State 2-1

So I guess we shouldn't pour dirt on the Dubs just yet? There's not much we learned from this one, unfortunately, since the Clippers couldn't manage to overcome a 33 point 4th quarter deficit this time around. The Warriors were still willing to rest their players, and eventually the Clips gave up. I think we should probably still use game 2 as our proxy for what to expect if things stay close, but whatever Vegas thinks about the total here we know that this one just might not.

Golden State

Our system thinks you can go back to the well on the Golden State starters for this one, minus Draymond Green. We see Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, and Klay Thompson as three reasonable value plays, but again, only if you think they play their minutes.

One guy I'm keeping an eye on, though, is Andrew Bogut. He played 25 minutes in a blowout, and if the Clippers try and press the issue with Zubac he's got upside for more.

Los Angeles

It's awfully tough to trust the Clippers at their increased prices on FanDuel at this point. They're one of the teams that's consolidated minutes the least during the playoffs, and if they don't know the plan, I'm not sure how we are supposed to. You can look at game two for what to expect if things stay close - big games from Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell - but we also know that Doc has a happy trigger finger at this point. I'm really averse to paying those game 2 prices here, even for big tournaments. On DraftKings, though, I think you can potentially run the risk.


Raptors Raptors (-5.5) vs. Magic Magic (+5.5)

Vegas Implied Score: Toronto 107 - Orlando 103

Over/ Under: 207
Series: Toronto 2-1

One of round 1's most competitive series saw a new hero emerge in game three in the form of Pascal Siakam. We already knew that the Raptors were going to rely on him for 40+ minutes per game against Orlando's more than competent bigs, but it was pretty cool to see him pop off for 30 and 11 on 13-20 shooting and continue the dominance he started the series with in the first two games.

It was also a welcome sight to see another close game, since it looked like maybe Toronto was going to flip the script and generally just flip out on the Magic.

Toronto Value

More of the same from Toronto in game three, though at this point we're once again paying a premium for their consolidated minutes. Kyle LowryKyle Lowry FD - $8000 DK - $7000
Opponent - ORL
Proj Pts FD - 38.56 DK - 39.7

Danny GreenDanny Green FD - $4500 DK - $4500
Opponent - ORL
Proj Pts FD - 23.38 DK - 24.04

Some of the less obvious value from the Toronto side, I guess. Lowry was a crime against humanity in game one, but it's clear that the Raps still want to run him for 38-42 minutes in close games, and you're getting him at a pretty deep discount on DraftKings in particular. It was nice seeing him hit double digit assists, and even if he's the third offensive option at this point he could be a decent value.

Danny Green is just a guy you play if you need a shooting guard. He's still cheap, and he's right there in the Jaylen Brown area. I'll take Brown on the basis of his minutes last game and his higher upside, but I think you can play both if you need to.

Orlando Value

Nikola VucevicNikola Vucevic FD - $9000 DK - $8000
Opponent - TOR
Proj Pts FD - 43.86 DK - 45.52

Evan FournierEvan Fournier FD - $5100 DK - $5300
Opponent - TOR
Proj Pts FD - 28.5 DK - 29.69

Vuc will be something like an automatic play on DraftKings at these prices. The Magic are happy to let him outlast Gasol, and he presents a pretty sizeable offensive mismatch on Siakam. He dropped 22/16/6 with 4 defensive stats last game, and I think that's actually a reasonable proxy for what we can expect going forward.

Fournier has tailed off considerably after a very active game one, and was a huge part of the loss this last time around. Still, he's one of a small handful of Magic that can stretch the Toronto defense, and I think they are sort of priced in to continuing to give him 7 or 8 three point attempts per game.

Trail Blazers Trail Blazers (6) vs. Thunder Thunder (-6)

Vegas Implied Score: Oklahoma City 114.75 - Portland 107.25

Over/ Under: 223.5
Series: Portland 2-1

The Thunder managed to get on the board on the back of inspired performances by Russ and Schroder, somehow dodging an auto-loss after George shot a horrid 3-16 from the field.

I'm honestly not sure how much we really learned from this game, though. It was nice to see the Thunder take a game, but I mean, they were 8 point favorites and all. Vegas has the Thunder by 6 here, so let's see what we've got if we're assuming that both teams will be able to follow through on their game plans.


The major change that we saw from Portland in this one was Moe Harkless playing for almost 34 minutes before fouling out. He didn't really do a whole lot besides foul Paul George, but he did shift some minutes away from the less significant bench pieces. Not sure it's a huge difference maker for DFS purposes.

We saw Kanter's minutes tick down, but that looked to also be because of foul trouble, so I think we can proceed with a 30+ minute projection here as well. All in all, our system prefers peripheral pieces like Al-Farouq Aminu and Enes Kanter, though it can tolerate Damian Lillard as well. I'd guess Aminu sees the most ownership for cash games thanks to positional scarcity.

Oklahoma City

Dennis SchroderDennis Schroder FD - $5500 DK - $5400
Opponent - POR
Proj Pts FD - 29 DK - 30.32

The biggest takeaway on the Oklahoma City side was the resurgence of Dennis Schroder. The German looked to be a series staple after 36 minutes in game one, but people were understandably spooked after he saw just 20 minutes in game two's blowout. Bench guys are always going to be something of a question mark, but with George having so much difficulty creating right now the Thunder seem pretty reliant upon Schroder for the spark he brings off the bench. I think he's a high floor, high upside play.

Our system actually likes a number of Thunder today - Westbrook, Grant, Adams, and even George (though I'm skeptical there). Russ is probably the premier payoff option today, as his through-the-roof time of possession and the likelihood of a close game gives him as high a floor as any star on today's slate.

image sources

  • Warriors Lakers Basketball: (AP Photo/John Locher)

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