The NBA’s first big slate of games takes place on Wednesday, December 23rd with 13 games and 26 teams in action. The League opened the season with a few lackluster games on Tuesday night, so hopefully we get some more competition on Wednesday night. With so many games, we’ll be tracking all the latest injury news throughout the day, giving out some fantasy basketball and DFS analysis, while also looking at the sports betting angle for each player. Let’s take a look at what we’ve got going so far:
NBA Injury Report — Wednesday, December 23rd
NOTE: The season opener between the Rockets and Thunder has been postponed due to multiple Covid-19 positive tests. James Harden also violated health and safety protocols and was going to be unavailable to play in the opener.
Washington Wizards lineup update — SF/PF Deni Avdija ($4,000) will start for the Wizards in his NBA debut on Wednesday night vs. the Philadelphia 76ers. PF Davis Bertans ($5,500) will be limited to around 18-20 minutes, per coach Scott Brooks. Isaac Bonga ($3,500) will also start with Rui Hachimura sidelined.
Fantasy analysis: Bertans isn’t a viable play at this price tag if he’s only going to play around 20 minutes. Avdija is a decent value option at a cheap price in the starting lineup, but remember he’s just a rookie. Brooks could hold him out for stretches if he doesn’t look like he belongs.
Atlanta Hawks update, 2:00 p.m. — C Clint Capela (Achilles) has been ruled out for the season opener vs. the Chicago Bulls. G/F Kevin Huerter (elbow) and G/F Cam Reddish (ankle) are both available to play. G Brandon Goodwin (elbow) is probable. G Kris Dunn, G Rajon Rondo, C Onyeka Okongwu and G/F Tony Snell remain out.
Fantasy analysis: With Cap and Onyeka sidelined, the Hawks will need to use John Collins, Danilo Gallinari and Bruno Fernando in the front court. Fernando ($3,000) isn’t a bad value option but Gallo ($5,100) and Collins ($7,600) should play big minutes. Gallo is a decent value as well. Huerter ($4,900) and Reddish ($3,900) should come off the bench with Trae Young, DeAndre Hunter, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Gallo and Collins starting.
Betting advice: The Bulls line is at +2 at home in the opener. Chicago should be more improved on defense under Billy Donovan. The Hawks are pretty shorthanded, particularly in the front court. With this game sort of being a toss up (trying to put bias aside), I kind of like the Bulls getting points. Atlanta wasn’t a good defensive team last season and shouldn’t be any better without Capela, Rondo, Dunn and Snell. Plus, three of those players are former Bulls — no narratives!
Fantasy analysis: CP3 is ready for his Suns debut and this doesn’t really move any needles much. I think Paul is an OK DFS play at $7,000, mostly in tournaments with so many options on a 13-game slate. He could go overlooked and the Mavs-Suns game gives us a great environment for fantasy.
Betting analysis: Paul’s assist prop is set at 6.5. There isn’t much juice on the number but if he’s going to play around 30 minutes, this number feels safe. Perhaps pairing this with another line in some type of parlay wouldn’t be a bad idea. Paul’s rebound prop is at 5.5 at +102, which seems like an OK bet given his rebounding prowess.
Update: Cousins has tested negative but is being considered questionable due to an ankle injury. Ben McLemore is out due to contact tracing and is in isolation. Rockets rookie KJ Martin is the person who sparked all of this.
Fantasy analysis: So we can’t really react to this news until we know everyone who is out for the Rockets. Initially, with Wall and Cousins out, Christian Wood ($6,300) and Eric Gordon ($5,000) would benefit the most. We’ll keep a close eye on this situation and add more info as we get it.
Fantasy analysis: With Thompson a question mark, we need to wait and see later if he’ll play. If he’s out, Daniel Theis ($5,300) is the only big body for the Celtics who can really play center and matchup against Giannis. If Thompson is out, it’s a big upgrade for The Greek Freak. If Thompson plays, I don’t know how much I trust him at $4,700. We could just see a ton of Theis.
Fantasy analysis: With Augustin sidelined, Donte DiVincenzo ($4,000) will be the main backup guard to Jrue Holiday. We should also see Bryn Forbes ($3,200) get some minutes at guard. DiVincenzo isn’t a bad value option, though is more appealing as a salary saver in Showdown.