Basketball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice
FanDuel NBA Picks and DraftKings NBA Picks - Monday 8/31/20
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Heat (6) vs. Bucks (-6)
Round two starts for the Bucks and the Heat after they made it through round one with relative ease over the Magic and Pacers respectively. This will be an interesting, defensively sound matchup between the number one and number 11 defenses in the NBA this season.
In terms of cash game builds, things probably need to start with Giannis Antetokounmpo (FD $11500 DK $11400) who comes in as big money consideration along with James Harden. I prefer Giannis here. Though he’ll get different looks, including a lot of Bam Adebayo, his floor is probably too tough to fade on a short slate. He averaged a mind-bogglingly efficient 31 points, 16 rebounds, and six assists in just 32 minutes in the five, round one games against the Magic. Foul trouble bit him in game five and he still put up a 28/17 line. Again, things will get tougher against the Heat, but he’s Giannis should be the priority in cash games especially if the minutes tick up with the games getting tighter and more important.
On the shorter slate, Khris Middleton (FD $6800 DK $7900) did see a price drop on FanDuel where he’s definitely in play in cash. He had an up-and-down round one with back-to-back 21-point, 10-rebound games to close it out. But he also dropped just two in game two. He’s going to have to have a big series for the Bucks here and I think the minutes are set to tick way up. He’s a little expensive on DraftKings, but the FanDuel price makes him a play for sure.
Even on a short slate, it’s tough to find a ton to love value-wise on the Heat. They play the number one defense in basketball for starters which makes it an uphill climb at many of their current price points. But there are a couple of targets here. Goran Dragic (FD $6500 DK $6600) had a fantastic first-round running with the starters averaging 23 points, five assists, and four rebounds on 34 minutes per game. He’s still coming at a mid-tier value play on a slate short on punts.
And one has to assume we’ll see a lot of minutes for the aforementioned Bam Adebayo (FD $8000 DK $7700) who should draw a lot of Giannis duty. That puts him at major risk of foul trouble which is the only thing that has me worried at these prices. He averaged a double-double in the first round even with a game two dud.
After these guys, the Erik Spoelstra rotations are sometimes a little too tough to guess ahead of time though Tyler Herro does continue to play a lot off the bench and is often part of the closing unit.
Rockets (-5.5) vs. Thunder (+5.5)
The Rockets go Russell Westbrook back in game five and promptly blew the doors off the Thunder to take a 3-2 lead in the series. Westbrook was on a minutes limit of around 28 in the game but only played 24 in the blowout. He was ineffective from the field and I don’t think the minutes will increase enough (even in a close one) to justify the price on either site even on this two-game slate.
Like I said with Giannis, I think I prefer spending there rather than James Harden (FD $11200 DK $11300), but it’s close. Harden tore up OKC in game five torching them for 31 points on 11-15 shooting in only 28 minutes. The shots were still there even with Westbrook returning which is a welcome sign, but again we can’t fit both the big guys and I prefer ABC.
P.J. Tucker (FD $4200 DK $4300) was having a fine game before getting ejected along with Dennis Schroder on Saturday. He can disappear for long stretches, but that’s also what keeps the price tag lower.
Robert Covington (FD $5600 DK $5800) had a bounce-back game on Saturday, taking the second-most shots on the team and running 31 minutes. That’s a welcome sign after getting really buzzed in games two and three. But he knocked down 6-11 from three and finished with 22 points and seven rebounds. He’s for sure a FanDuel play at a tough power forward position.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (FD $7300 DK $7100) was an unmitigated disaster in game five. He played 34 minutes but put up a paltry four points, four assists, three rebounds, and four turnovers. He was also ritualistically taken to task on the defensive end in what was definitely a low point for his young career. I’m looking for a bounce-back in this one and he’s been on lock for low 40’s minutes when the games stay close. The expected minutes alone are almost enough to strongly consider rostering him even with the understanding that he’s coming off a terrible game.
Meanwhile, when it comes to cheap plays, Luguentz Dort (FD $3700 DK $4100) could be a chalk option because few other guys getting real minutes are priced this low. His defense on James Harden has been commendable, but he also led the Thunder in shots in game five and that simply can’t happen if OKC wants to win. He shot 3-16 from the field and 0-9 from three. It was rough. But he’s close enough to the minimum and OKC needs his defense.
I’m still fine playing Steven Adams (FD $5500 DK $5800) who is at such a rebounding advantage when he’s on the court. In 25 minutes last game he grabbed 15 boards and is averaging 12 a game for the series. At a thin center position you can probably survive even if he plays fewer than 30 minutes again.
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