The NBA Cheat Sheet provides an in-depth look at Friday’s slate, featuring DraftKings DFS and Sportsbook picks.
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All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
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Top Scoring Game Environments on DraftKings Sportsbook
Rockets at Blazers – 234.0 total
Jazz at Hornets – 228.5 total
Mavericks at Timberwolves – 228.0 total
Friday’s slate is on the smaller side, with just seven games to choose from. Most of those contests are expected to be of the lower-scoring variety, with only three games owning a total above 221 points.
The game between the Rockets and Blazers leads the slate with a 234.0-point total, and it features arguably the two worst defenses in the league. The Blazers rank 29th in defensive efficiency and the Rockets rank 30th, so both offenses should be able to do a bit more damage than usual. The Rockets have also played at the second-fastest pace this season, so they have routinely been featured in this section all year.
The matchup between the Jazz and Hornets is a direct contrast to Rockets-Blazers. Both of these teams have been excellent offensively this season, with the Jazz ranking first in the league in offensive efficiency. The Hornets have also played at one of the fastest paces in the league this season, but they have been playing a bit slower of late. They rank fourth in pace for the season but just 19th over their past 10 games.
Mavericks at Timberwolves rounds out our top three, and this matchup features a massive clash in style. The Timberwolves have played at a break-neck pace of late, ranking first in that department over their past 10 games. Meanwhile, the Mavericks have played at the slowest pace in basketball this season. That makes this a much more appealing spot for the Mavericks than the Timberwolves, even though the Timberwolves are listed as home favorites.
3rd game in 4th night
First leg of back-to-back
Rockets, Heat, Blazers
Second leg of back-to-back
Key Injuries to Monitor
Heat SF/PF Jimmy Butler ($8,100) vs. Knicks
Butler has been no stranger to the injury report this season. He’s been listed as questionable with various maladies all year, and Friday’s matchup vs. the Knicks is no exception. He’s currently dealing with a right ankle sprain, and he’s missed four of the Heat’s past 10 games.
Butler has plenty of company on the injury report as well. Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson, P.J. Tucker, and Caleb Martin are also listed as questionable, while Victor Oladipo and Gabe Vincent have both been ruled out.
With that in mind, it’s hard to get a feel for who will actually be in the lineup for the Heat this evening. Kyle Lowry ($6,500) and Bam Adebayo ($8,000) are two names that are absent from the injury report, and they would likely be asked to pick up the slack if Butler and Herro are unavailable. Make sure to monitor this situation as the day progresses as there could be significant value if multiple players are ruled out.
Timberwolves C Karl-Anthony Towns ($9,800) vs. Mavericks
The Timberwolves’ implied team total of 116.0 is tied for second on Friday’s slate, so they’re going to be a notable target. However, Towns is officially questionable due to an arm injury. He’s played some of his best basketball recently, increasing his production to 1.56 DKFP per minute over the past month.
If Towns is unable to suit up, Anthony Edwards ($7,400) will take over as the team’s top offensive option. He’s seen a team-high +3.9% with Towns off the floor this season, and he leads the team with an average of 1.17 DraftKings points per minute in that situation. Naz Reid ($3,600) would also likely see a few additional minutes, and he’s averaged a stout 1.26 DKFP per minute over the past month.
Knicks PF Julius Randle ($9,400) at Heat
Randle has missed the past two games for the Knicks, and Mitchell Robinson joined him on the sidelines on Wednesday. Both players are currently questionable for Friday’s matchup vs. the Heat.
Randle’s absence has allowed Obi Toppin ($4,500) to move into the starting lineup, and he unsurprisingly thrived in that situation. Toppin has averaged 1.02 DKFP per minute over the past month, so he has excellent upside with additional playing time. Toppin is coming off 47.25 DKFP in his last outing, so he’s very reasonable at $4,500 if Randle and Robinson are out again.
Jericho Sims ($3,400) started in place of Robinson on Wednesday, but he’s not nearly as appealing as Toppin. He’s averaged just 0.68 DKFP per minute this season, which is a dreadful mark for a big man. He played 25.7 minutes in the Knicks’ last contest, but he responded with just 14.75 DKFP.
Favorite Pick Against the Spread
Hawks -2.5 vs. Warriors
It might feel weird to see the Hawks listed as favorites over the Warriors – even at home – but the Warriors aren’t really the Warriors at the moment. They’re playing without Steph Curry, who means more to his team than almost any other player in basketball. The Warriors have increased their Net Rating by 14.4 points per 100 possessions with Curry on the floor this season, putting him in the 98th percentile per Cleaning the Glass. The only players with comparable workloads and On/Off differentials are Nikola Jokic (+16.4) and Jayson Tatum (+16.8), so Curry’s absence can’t be understated.
The Warriors did manage to bet the Heat in their last contest, but they lost their previous two games without Curry against the Magic and Spurs. They managed just 90 points vs. the Magic, who rank merely 19th in defensive efficiency this season. It doesn’t get much worse than that.
With that in mind, I have no problem laying a small number with the Hawks at home. They got off to a rough start this season, but they’ve gone 20-11 over their past 31 games. They’ve also posted a Net Rating of +3.5 over that time frame, so I think they deserve to be larger favorites in this spot.
Favorite Player Prop
Klay Thompson Over 6.5 Rebounds + Assists (+115)
Just because I’m fading the Warriors vs. the Hawks doesn’t mean there isn’t value to be had in the player prop market. The absence of Curry will undoubtedly have a big impact on his teammates, and I’m interested in grabbing the over on 6.5 rebounds + assists for Thompson.
Thompson is not known for his work in the peripheral categories, but he’s averaging 3.8 boards and 2.7 assists per game this season. Both of those numbers are among the best marks of his career, despite the fact that he’s averaged just 27.9 minutes per game. Thompson is playing much more recently, coming off a season-high 38.3 minutes two games ago. Thompson rested in the Warriors' most recent contest, so he should be fresh to carry a big workload vs. the Hawks.
Finally, Thompson has increased his assist rate by 1.8 percentage points and his rebound rate by 2.0 percentage points with Curry off the floor this season, giving him a bit more upside than usual in those departments. Add it all up, and I will gladly roll the dice on this prop at better than even money.
Mavericks PG Luka Doncic ($12,100) at Timberwolves
Doncic is the most expensive player on Friday’s slate, but it’s hard not to love him vs. the Timberwolves. Doncic has been one of the most dominant players in fantasy this season, averaging 1.58 DKFP per minute, even though the Mavericks have played at the slowest pace in the league. This matchup vs. the Timberwolves represents the biggest pace-up spot possible, so Doncic has the potential to be even better than usual. There aren’t a ton of elite pay-up targets on this slate, making Doncic’s upside even more appealing.
Favorite Value Play
Blazers PG Kris Dunn ($4,500) vs. Rockets
Remember Dunn? The No. 5 overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft has caught on with the Blazers recently, averaging 24.8 minutes over six games. He’s made the most of his playing time, averaging 0.93 DKFP per minute, and he’s scored at least 22.25 DKFP in four of his past five games.
There’s a chance that Dunn sees a bit more playing time on Friday. Josh Hart and Justise Winslow have both been ruled out, and Dunn drew his first start with the Blazers in their last game. The Blazers ultimately lost their last game by 31 points, so Dunn could see more minutes just by virtue of this game being more competitive.
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