Prior to the season, we were told that the Clippers weren’t planning to rest Kawhi Leonard much this season. He was expected to play in back-to-backs and there were no injury concerns since he was further removed from the quad injury, which limited him to nine games during his final season with the Spurs. Now, here we are. Eight games into the season and Kawhi is being sat for the second time in eight games because of the dreaded load management tag. This puts the Clippers at a disadvantage in a potential finals preview against the Bucks.
Note: All salaries will be Flex prices unless noted as Captain’s Pick prices.
FIVE BETTING TRENDS— The Clippers have won 10 of their last 11 home games against the Bucks.
— The Clippers have covered the spread in 15 of their last 23 games following a home win.
— Seven of the Clippers’ last eight home games against Eastern Conference have gone OVER the total points line.
— Giannis Antetokounmpo has scored 29-plus points in each of the Bucks’ last three games.
— Montrezl Harrell has scored 19+ points in each of the Clippers’ last six home games against Central Division opponents.
Stats provided by DraftKings Sportsbook
BucksDue to Kawhi sitting, there is plenty of value in this game. This allows us to pretty easily fit Giannis Antetokounmpo ($21,600 CP) into the Captain’s spot. He easily has the most upside in this game and The Greek Freak always has a high floor because he fills every category of the stat sheet. He’s scored at least 52 DKFP in six of the Bucks’ seven games and is averaging 61.9 DKFP. Giannis also has a double-double in every game this season.
After a slow start to the season, Eric Bledsoe ($8,200) is starting to put together some strong games. He’s scored at least 34 DKFP in three straight games and played under 28 minutes in all of those contests. Blowouts and foul trouble have limited his playing time, but he has the upside to put up a monster game if circumstances allow for him to play over 30 minutes. I slightly prefer Bledsoe to Khris Middleton ($9,400), Milwaukee’s secondary star.
For cheap, the better plays are by far on the Clippers’ side of the game. If I had to roster a cheap guy from the Bucks, I would go with Ersan Ilyasova ($2,800). For a cheap price, he’s shown a high floor and a low ceiling, making him a safe play. Ersan is more of a cash type of play than GPP. He’s scored between 14.75 and 21.75 DKFP in each of the last six games.
ClippersThis is where all the value is in the Showdown contest. We have a bunch of minutes and usage to fill with Kawhi not in the picture. On the high end, the first guy we need to look at is Lou Williams ($8,600). He started the last time Leonard rested, so I am expected we will see the same tonight. Williams is a safe bet to lead the Clippers in scoring tonight. He has a 24.9% usage rating with Leonard off the court.
The player that gets the biggest usage bump without Leonard on the court is Montrezl Harrell ($8,000). His usage raises from 23.8% to 30.3% without Kawhi. In addition, Harrell scores a team-high 46.35 DKFP when Leonard isn’t on the floor. To make the situation even better for Harrell, the Bucks are allowing the second most DKFP to centers. He has good chemistry with Williams, making them a sensible pair to put into the same lineup.
The top two cheap values from Los Angeles are Moe Harkless ($2,000) and JaMychal Green ($5,000). Both figure to see increased playing time to fill the forward void. Green is a play I gravitate towards because of how well he played the last time Leonard sat. Green scored a season-high 37 DKFP in a tough matchup against the Jazz. He also played a season-high 27 minutes and scored 23 real-life points in that game.
THE OUTCOMEThe Bucks opened as underdogs, a line that quickly flipped after Leonard was ruled out. Now Milwaukee (-4) is a decent favorite with Los Angeles missing its best player. There is an argument to be made that the spread should be wider. Even though the Clippers have a deep bench, they have struggled with Leonard off the court. On offense, they score 15.6 fewer points per 100 possessions and on defense, they allow 11.3 more points per 100 possessions without Kawhi on the floor. Given these numbers, I have a strong lean towards the Bucks.
Final Score: Milwaukee 119, Los Angeles 106
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