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NBA Betting, Fantasy Advice: DraftKings Basketball DFS Picks, Predictions, Odds for March 4

Matt LaMarca breaks down today’s NBA slate with game analysis, odds, lines and prop bets.

The NBA Cheat Sheet provides an in-depth look at Friday’s slate, featuring DraftKings DFS and Sportsbook picks.

Follow along on Twitter (@dklive) for updates.

All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.

Set your DraftKings fantasy basketball lineups here: NBA $400K Fadeaway [$100K to 1st]

Top Scoring Game Environments on DraftKings Sportsbook

Bucks @ Bulls – 239.5
Rockets @ Nuggets – 238.0
Timberwolves @ Thunder – 230.5

Two games stand out above the rest in terms of expected scoring. The first features a matchup between the Bucks and the Bulls, which leads the slate with a 239.5-point total. Both of these teams have dynamic offenses, with the Bulls ranking fourth in offensive efficiency and the Bucks ranking sixth. Both squads have struggled massively on the defensive end of late, with both ranking in the bottom nine in defensive efficiency over their past nine games. The Bucks have also played at the second-fastest pace over that time frame, so there are plenty of reasons to believe in a high-scoring affair on Friday.

The game between the Rockets and Nuggets checks in just behind Bucks-Bulls with a total of 238.0 points. The Nuggets are not the type of team that typically plays in high-scoring contests, but that has changed a bit recently. They rank sixth in pace over their past 10 games, which represents a significant increase from their mark earlier in the year. The Rockets rank first in pace and dead last in defensive efficiency for the full season, so the Nuggets have outstanding offensive upside in this spot. Their implied team total of 125.5 is the top mark on the slate.

After the top two games, there is a bit of a drop-off. The Timberwolves and Thunder check in next with a total of 230.5 points. However, the Timberwolves are currently listed as 9.5-point road favorites, so they’re expected to do the majority of the damage in this contest. They’re also going to be playing without Anthony Edwards for the second straight game, which opens up some additional usage and minutes for the rest of the roster. Overall, they’re an excellent team to target on Friday.

Scheduling Notes

3rd game in 4th night

Hawks, Pistons, Rockets, Raptors

First leg of back-to-back

Timberwolves, Magic, 76ers

Second leg of back-to-back

Hawks, Bulls, Pistons, Raptors

Key Injuries to Monitor

Raptors PG/SG Fred VanVleet ($8,800) vs. Magic

VanVleet (out) has missed four straight games for the Raptors. OG Anunoby is also sidelined currently, so the Raptors will be without two of their best players.

Malachi Flynn ($3,900) will be asked to make his fourth consecutive start. He was mediocre on Thursday, finishing with just 19.25 DKFP over 27.4 minutes, but he absolutely smashed in that role in the two games prior. He scored at least 35.0 DKFP in both contests.

Magic PF/C Wendell Carter Jr. ($8,000) at Raptors

On the other side of that matchup, Carter has been absolutely balling recently. He’s scored at least 35.0 DKFP in seven of his past eight games, and he’s racked up at least 42.0 DKFP in four of them. He’s also increased his production to 1.24 DKFP per minute over the past month. However, Carter has been added to the injury report as questionable with an illness.

If he’s unable to suit up, Mohamed Bamba will likely be asked to play a few additional minutes. That would make him appealing at just $5,200. Bamba has averaged 1.05 DraftKings points per minute this season, so he has the potential to destroy this price tag with some extra playing time.

76ers PF Tobias Harris ($6,700) vs. Cavaliers

Tobias Harris is also questionable with an illness, but he hasn’t been particularly relevant for the 76ers of late. His fantasy output has decreased to 0.87 DKFP per minute over the past month, which is well below his per-minute average for the full season. He’s also scored 28.25 DKFP or fewer in all three games with James Harden ($11,500) in the lineup. With that in mind, Harris shouldn’t garner much attention even if he is able to suit up.

The bigger impact would be with his teammates if he sits. Harden and Joel Embiid ($11,800) would both have the potential for a few additional shot attempts, while guys like Matisse Thybulle ($3,900) and Furkan Korkmaz ($3,300) could earn a few additional minutes. The 76ers do have a tough matchup vs. the Cavaliers, but there could be some value if Harris is ultimately ruled out.

Favorite Pick Against the Spread

Pistons +3.5 vs. Pacers

The Pistons have quietly been playing some quality basketball of late. They’ve won four of their past six games, including road wins over the Celtics and Raptors and a home win over the Cavaliers. They’re as healthy as they’ve been all season, with Jerami Grant and Kelly Olynyk both back in the lineup after missing a large chunk of the year.

The Pacers have also won some games since retooling their lineup before the trade deadline, but their performances haven’t been quite as impressive. Their two wins since the All-Star break have come against the Celtics and Magic, while they’ve dropped games to the Magic and Thunder.

With that in mind, I’m not sure why we’re getting 3.5 points with the Pistons at home. The sharps seem to agree, with the Pistons receiving 73% of the spread dollars on just 36% of the bets. The Pistons have also fared relatively well as a home underdog this season, posting a record of 15-13 against the spread.

Favorite Player Prop

Jaxson Hayes Over 17.5 Points + Rebounds + Assists

The Pelicans have won three straight games, and Hayes has been a bright spot for them of late. He’s been starting at power forward next to Jonas Valanciunas, and he’s put together some strong performances. He’s recorded at least 20 points + rebounds + assists in four of his past five games, including each of his past two. He’ll face a tough test Friday vs. the Jazz, but Hayes should continue to produce as long as the minutes are there.

Favorite Stud

Nuggets C Nikola Jokic ($12,600) vs. Rockets

Jokic has been the fantasy MVP this season, and he draws the best possible matchup vs. the Rockets. His production has been subpar recently by his lofty standards, but this is the perfect spot for him to get right. Jokic has averaged 1.82 DKFP per minute this season, and he could easily exceed that mark vs. the Rockets. The only real question is whether or not this game stays competitive. As long as that happens, Jokic should be looking at a monster performance.

Favorite Value Play

Suns PG Cameron Payne ($4,800) vs. Knicks

The Suns are currently playing without Chris Paul and Devin Booker, which leaves Payne to pick up the slack on offense. He was limited to just 20.1 minutes in his last outing — his first contest following an extended injury absence — but that didn’t stop him from scoring 25.0 DKFP. He should continue to thrive on a per-minute basis, and his playing time should only increase as he gets further removed from his injury. Don’t expect to see him priced below $5,000 for much longer.

Set your DraftKings fantasy basketball lineups here: NBA $400K Fadeaway [$100K to 1st]

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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is mlamarca) 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.

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