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Friday’s matchup between the Blazers and Rockets checks in with the highest total, which is not all that surprising. Neither of these teams play a lick of defense, the Rockets rank dead last in defensive efficiency and the Blazers rank 28th, and the Rockets have played at the fastest pace in the league. That’s a great combination for plenty of points on both sides.
The Spurs have quietly turned into a phenomenal matchup from a fantasy perspective. They’ve played at the fifth-fastest pace this season, and they have dipped to 19th in defensive efficiency. The Bulls can put the ball in the basket – they rank seventh in offensive efficiency – so this is a spot where they can do some damage. That said, the Spurs are actually slim one-point favorites in this matchup, so this is expected to be a back-and-forth affair.
The Timberwolves and Suns are also at the 230-point threshold, but most of the value is expected to come from Phoenix. They’re 8.5-point home favorites against a Timberwolves’ squad on the second leg of a back-to-back. The Suns own the top implied team total on the slate, so they’re one of the strongest teams to target on Friday.
3rd game in 4th night
First leg of back-to-back
Second leg of back-to-back
Key Injuries to Monitor
Lakers SF/PF LeBron James ($11,200) and PF/C Anthony Davis ($9,800) at Hornets
The Lakers could be without their two biggest stars Friday vs. the Hornets. Both players are questionable on the second leg of a back-to-back. Davis suffered a wrist injury during Thursday’s loss to the 76ers, and he was already playing limited minutes with a knee injury. James missed Thursday’s game due to knee soreness. Even Russell Westbrook ($8,600) is questionable, so the team could be extremely thin vs. the Hornets.
This will be an important situation to monitor as the day progresses. Carmelo Anthony ($4,400), Talen Horton-Tucker ($3,600) and Stanley Johnson ($3,400) would be the biggest beneficiaries if the Lakers are shorthanded.
Heat SF/PF Jimmy Butler ($8,700) vs. Clippers
Kyle Lowry remains out of the lineup due to personal reasons, and Butler is currently listed as questionable. If he’s forced to miss this contest, the Heat would provide some excellent value.
Tyler Herro ($6,400) would be asked to pick up most of the slack. He’s increased his usage rate by a team-high +4.8% with both players off the court, resulting in an average of 1.13 DKFP per minute. Bam Adebayo ($7,500) has averaged a team-high 1.40 DKFP per minute in that situation, while guys like Gabe Vincent ($5,100) and Max Strus ($4,600) could also provide value.
Favorite Pick Against the Spread
Bulls +1.0 at Spurs
The Bulls went through a rough patch recently, and they’re still missing some key pieces in Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso. Still, Zach LaVine is back in the lineup, and the combination of LaVine and DeMar DeRozan should be enough to push this team past the Spurs.
The Bulls were arguably the best team in the Eastern Conference at their peak this season, but they were embarrassed by teams like the Warriors, Nets and Grizzlies when playing short-handed. There’s no shame in losing to those teams.
Now that they’re healthier, the Bulls should start rolling once again. They’ve won two straight games, and the Spurs should not present much of a challenge. They’re just 18-31 on the season, and they rank merely 18th in the league in Net Rating. I’m buying low on the Bulls while I can.
Favorite Player Prop
Bobby Portis Over 23.5 Points + Rebounds + Assists
This number seems comically low for Portis, who has been a huge part of the Bucks’ rotation this season. He’s averaged 15.1 points, 9.4 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game this season with an average of 28.8 minutes per game. He’s played at least 32.2 minutes in five of his past six contests. As long as he plays around 32 minutes again on Friday, he should have no problem cruising past this number vs. the Knicks.
Hornets PG/SG LaMelo Ball ($8,400) vs. Lakers
Ball has been in a bit of a slump over the past month, but he broke out in a big way in his last contest. He racked up a triple-double with 29 points, 10 rebounds and 13 assists, resulting in 69.0 DraftKings points.
Ball remains priced down at $8,400, and he’s in another favorable spot on Friday. He’s taking on the Lakers, who have played at the third-fastest pace this season. The Lakers are also below average in terms of defensive efficiency, and they’re playing on the second leg of a back-to-back. Continue to take the discount on Ball.
Favorite Value Play
Suns SF/PF Cameron Johnson ($4,700) vs. Timberwolves
The Suns stand out as arguably the top team to target on Friday. They lead the slate in implied team total, and they’re going to be without several key contributors in the frontcourt. Deandre Ayton, JaVale McGee and Jae Crowder have all been ruled out.
Johnson figures to be one of the biggest beneficiaries. He’s played at least 36.4 minutes in back-to-back games, and he’s averaged 0.85 DraftKings points per minute this season. He’s gotten a bit more expensive over that time frame, but he’s still way too cheap at $4,700.
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