The NBA is officially back, and I will be breaking down every regular season slate moving forward.
Key Injuries to Monitor
Los Angeles Clippers
- Kawhi Leonard (injury management) — OUT
New Orleans Pelicans
- Zion Williamson (posterior hip) — OUT
- Herb Jones (knee) — OUT
- Tim Hardaway Jr. (foot) — OUT
Oklahoma City Thunder
- Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (hip) — Available
Favorite Pick Against the Spread
*This pick was made before Zion Williamson and Herb Jones were ruled out*
Pelicans (+5) vs. Mavericks
If I had to pick an outright winner of this game it would be the Pelicans, so clearly I expect them to cover the spread tonight. Looking at how these teams match up on paper, an obvious question arises:
How are the Mavericks going to defend the paint?
Not only does New Orleans have one of the most unstoppable players in the league in Zion Williamson, they also have a 7’0 double-double machine in Jonas Valanciunas. To counter that dominant duo, the Mavericks have... 34-year-old JaVale McGee, 6’9 Christian Wood, and 6’10 Maxi Kleber. Both of the latter two aren’t exactly bruisers, either.
The Pelicans should dominate Dallas in the paint and effectively control this game.
Favorite Player Prop
Devin Booker Over 31.5 Points & Assists
Booker has hit this number with points alone in back-to-back games, as the 25-year-old is off to a ridiculously hot start to the season. Tonight, he’s facing a Warriors team that isn’t nearly as intimidating defensively as they have been in years past.
The Warriors have allowed their opponents to score 125-plus points in two straight games. It’s safe to say Phoenix should have no trouble putting the ball in the basket, and that starts with Booker.
Favorite Value Play
Pistons C Jalen Duren ($4,900) at Wizards
Duren has been everything the Pistons could have asked for so far. The rookie is averaging 9.3 points and 7.7 rebounds in just 21 minutes per game, certainly making a case for an expanded role.
Duren has racked up 22-plus fantasy points in two of his three contests this year. Tonight, he’ll get an interesting test from Kristaps Porzingis and the Wizards. That being said, I still expect Duran to find his spots and produce. At $4,900, there’s plenty of value here.
Mavericks PG Luka Doncic ($11,100) at Pelicans
Sometimes, you just have to pay up for the most expensive player on a slate because they are miles ahead of everyone else. That’s the case tonight.
Doncic has racked up 56-plus fantasy points in each of his games this season. The next most expensive player is Steph Curry, who has failed to hit 50 in back-to-back contests. Don’t overthink this one.
Larry Nance Jr. becomes very appealing with Zion and Herb Jones out tonight.— Jeff Pratt (@ByJeffPratt) October 25, 2022
Nance is coming off a 10-7-6 game and is only $5K on @DraftKings. Lot of value there.
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