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Fantasy Basketball Picks: Lakers vs. Clippers DraftKings NBA DFS Showdown Strategy

Greg Ehrenberg preps you for Thursday’s 9:00 p.m. ET Showdown contest between the Clippers and Lakers with betting trends, game-script analysis and Captain’s Picks.

Anthony Davis of the Los Angeles Lakers handles the ball against the Orlando Magic during a scrimmage on July 25, 2020 at HP Field House at ESPN Wide World of Sports in Orlando, Florida. Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

Coming into the season, the Lakers and Clippers were the two favorites to win the NBA championship. We didn’t know which would be the better team, but we did know one thing. All the games played between these juggernauts would be played at the Staples Center. Of course, it was safe to assume that before the season and then 2020 happened. After the NBA went on hiatus and now restarting in the bubble, we have a massive showdown contest featuring these title hopefuls on a neutral court.

Set your lineups here: NBA Showdown $500K Return Premiere [$100K to 1st] (LAC vs LAL)

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Note: All salaries will be Flex prices unless noted as Captain’s Pick prices.


BETTING TRENDS

— The Clippers have won 21 of their last 26 games against the Lakers.

— Four of the last five games between the Clippers and Lakers have gone UNDER the total points line.

— The Clippers have covered the spread in six of their last eight games.

Stats provided by DraftKings Sportsbook


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SHOWDOWN STRATEGY

Los Angeles Clippers

There is turmoil in the frontcourt. Montrezl Harrell has been ruled out since he is away from the team, leaving the Clippers with Ivica Zubac ($5,600) and Joakim Noah ($1,000) as the center options. To make matters more complicated, Zubac was just recently cleared to play after testing positive for COVID-19 and Noah hasn’t played in an NBA game that counts in over a year because he tore his Achilles. Despite the layoff, it’s hard to ignore Noah at the bare minimum salary. He is going to have to play some minutes due to the size of the Lakers’ frontcourt and Noah was a good fantasy producer in limited minutes last year. While with the Grizzlies, he averaged 19.33 DKFP in just 16.5 minutes per game. Noah is the top value option in this game.

The Clippers are also going to be thin in the backcourt. Lou Williams is stuck in quarantine for the next handful of days due to his famed Magic City incident and Patrick Beverley ($4,400) is in quarantine after leaving the team for personal reasons. Beverley is officially considered questionable to play. If he’s out, look for Reggie Jackson ($5,200) to take over as the starting point guard. If starting, Jackson would make for a strong play. In 11 starts this season, he’s averaged 26.11 DKFP.

On the high end, we are left contemplating if Kawhi Leonard ($11,400) or Paul George ($9,600) is the stronger play from the Clippers. Both are viable, although if forced to choose one, I lean towards PG13 for the salary savings. After battling shoulder injuries earlier in the season, he’s looked 100% healthy during the Clippers’ scrimmages. George appears poised for a big end to the season and I am a bit more comfortable with his playing time than Kawhi’s. The Clippers have been so cautious with Leonard this season that it wouldn’t be shocking to see him eased into minutes after so much time off.


Los Angeles Lakers

The two most expensive players in this game are LeBron James ($13,800) and Anthony Davis ($18,300 CP/$12,200). Davis is officially questionable on the injury report after being poked in the eye over the weekend, but he is expected to play. Even so, fantasy players could be a bit scared off by the injury, which might slightly lower his ownership. AD also finds himself in a much easier matchup than LeBron, so I think Davis is the top choice in this game for the Captain’s spot. The Clippers have George and Kawhi to guard James, but have a depleted frontcourt to throw at Davis. As long as the eye injury doesn’t limit Davis, he should crush in this spot.

Since Rajon Rondo is out for an extended period of time due to a thumb injury, Alex Caruso ($1,800) is going to step into the backup point guard role. It’s unlikely that he will break the slate, but he does make for a good value option since he’s nearly min price and will likely have to play 20-plus minutes. Pairing Caruso with Noah opens up a ton of salary for us to fit multiple of the expensive players into lineups.

The other rotation note here is that Avery Bradley has opted out of the rest of the season to stay with his family. Bradley was starting and playing 24 minutes per game, so there is a bit of a void to fill. To take his roster spot, the Lakers signed J.R. Smith ($2,000). While he brings some name value, Smith hasn’t played in the NBA in two years and wasn’t effective the last time we saw him on the court. It seems unlikely he played a massive role, especially when considering the Lakers had the chance to sign him earlier in the season and decided to bring on Dion Waiters ($1,400) instead. For this reason, I have to think Waiters is higher on the pecking order than Smith in the rotation, making him a better play of the two. Danny Green ($2,600) is also a viable option since he was already a starter and is now in line for additional minutes with Bradley unavailable.


THE OUTCOME

Due to all the key players missing from the Clippers’ rotation, the Lakers (-4.5) are a decent-sized favorite in this game. While this makes some sense, I think the combination of Paul George ($14,400 CP) and Kawhi Leonard ($17,100 CP) both being healthy makes the spread a bit too wide. With these two stars on the court, the Clippers are going to keep almost every game at least close. I still favor the Lakers to win although I think this game is more likely to be a one-possession game that comes down to the wire than any other outcome.

Final Score: Lakers 110, Clippers 108

Set your lineups here: NBA Showdown $500K Return Premiere [$100K to 1st] (LAC vs LAL)


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