After Wednesday’s 12-game slate, the NBA has decided to throttle back the product for Thursday and provide us with a two-game slate. In a way, it’s nice because we can have our undivided attention on each game, rather than having our eyes darts from screen-to-screen, window-to-window in order to follow all the action. For DFS purposes, it’s a buzzkill. We shall manage, though.
The Bucks visit the Sixers as 4.5-point underdogs. The game has a 223.5 total. In the nightcap, the Clippers “visit” the Lakers as 5.5-point favorites. The total is 225.5.
All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
James Harden, Philadelphia 76ers vs. Milwaukee Bucks ($9,000) – Harden has the highest floor/ceiling projection at the position. If his three-point shot is cooking, then he can access that ceiling. Even if the shot is off, though, the floor is incredibly high due to his ability to grab rebounds, dish out assists and pilfer a steal or two here and there.
Paul George, Los Angeles Clippers at Los Angeles Lakers ($8,900) – Harden is $100 more expensive and has a higher projection, but I prefer George. He will likely be lower owned and it’s within the range of outcomes that he can match Harden’s production. That’s especially true, since the Bucks are a better defensive team, while the Lakers are... Well, my momma always told me, “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Thanks, momma.
Other Option – Jrue Holiday ($7,900)
John Wall, Los Angeles Clippers at Los Angeles Lakers ($4,900) – Wall won’t start and the minutes will probably be in the low-to-mid 20s. When he’s on the court, though, he should be very productive, as he’ll be leading the second unit and garnering a ton of usage. If he was playing alongside George and Kawhi Leonard ($8,400), his role would be muted. Wall will grab his fair share of rebounds and push the pace when afforded the opportunity. This should produce plenty of points and assists. He has never averaged fewer than 1.0 steals per game and his career rate is 1.7%, so some thievery should be on the docket.
Other Option – Tyrese Maxey ($5,200), Patrick Beverley ($4,100), Kendrick Nunn ($3,700)
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks at Philadelphia 76ers ($10,700) – Last season, Giannis averaged 1.71 DKFP per minute. Only the great Nikola Jokic was better with a 1.77 mark. Against the 76ers, he put up 62.5 DKFP, 68.25 DKFP and 75 DKFP. Uh, yeah, he’s really good and you should probably play him. Fine, nothing is ever in a vacuum and it will come down to projected ownership and roster construction. That said, he’s really freaking good and you should probably play him.
Kawhi Leonard, Los Angeles Clippers at Los Angeles Lakers ($8,400) – I realize Kawhi hasn’t played in over a year, but this price seems kind of ridiculous, no? I thought about writing up Kawhi in the value section but I didn’t want to disrespect him like that. I live in Los Angeles and he doesn’t seem like a fun guy when he’s mad, so I wanted to protect myself if I ever ran into him. Wait, it’s a good thing I never leave my mom’s basement and he will likely never read this blurb. Whew. Kawhi contributes in every statistical category which provides a high floor. While he doesn’t access his ceiling as often as other stars, he has plenty of 50-burgers on the menu and can put up a 60-spot on any given night. Anthony Davis ($8,600) could guard him at times, but Kawhi is going to get his regardless.
Other Option – Anthony Davis ($8,600), LeBron James ($9,300)
Marcus Morris, Los Angeles Clippers at Los Angeles Lakers ($4,500) – Unlike Kawhi, Morris doesn’t contribute much outside of points and some rebounds. He’s going to start and should play over 25 minutes. Playing alongside Kawhi and George should provide plenty of open looks and pristine matchup opportunities.
Other Option – Matt Ryan ($3,000)
Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers vs. Milwaukee Bucks ($10,300) – Embiid is the alpha of this 76ers team. In two games last season against Milwaukee, Embiid went for 42 points, 14 rebounds, five assists and one steal in the first matchup, then put up 29 points, 14 rebounds, seven assists and one steal in the other. Brook Lopez ($4,800) didn’t play in either of those games and he’s often given Embiid some difficulty. That said, Lopez is 34-years-old now and Embiid had some great games against him early in this career. The Celtics swarmed Embiid. Milwaukee may play him more straight up, which should make him a little more comfortable.
Anthony Davis, Los Angeles Lakers vs. Los Angeles Clippers ($8,600) – Davis is one of the most talented players in the league, when healthy. He’s healthy right now and his ability to stuff the stat sheet provides a high floor. In two games against the Clippers last season, he went for 63.25 and 48.0 DKFP.
Other Option – Giannis Antetokounmpo ($10,700)
Robert Covington, Los Angeles Clippers at Los Angeles Lakers ($4,400) – Covington doesn’t start, but he should log at least 20 minutes. He’s a low usage player, but contributes defensive stats and can make it rain from downtown. Covington is often used as a small-ball center, and he gets plenty of open looks in that lineup.
Other Option – Brook Lopez ($4,800), Ivica Zubac ($5,300)
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is sontzu) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.