Kawhi Leonard

If it feels like the Clippers have been showcased a lot on Thursday nights, you’re right. They’ll once again be front and center for their matchup with the Trail Blazers, giving us another opportunity to play the DraftKings Showdown contest. Let’s discuss how things might play out for both teams.

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


FIVE BETTING TRENDS

— The Trail Blazers have won nine of their last 10 games at Staples Center.

— The Trail Blazers have covered the spread in 11 of their last 12 Thursday games.

— Kawhi Leonard has scored 30-plus points in each of his last four appearances at Staples Center.

— Damian Lillard has scored 28-plus points in each of the Trail Blazers’ last five games as underdogs.

— Hassan Whiteside has recorded 13-plus rebounds in each of his last four appearances vs. the Clippers.

Stats provided by DraftKings Sportsbook


SHOWDOWN STRATEGY

Trail Blazers

The Blazers are off to a disappointing 3-4 start, but that’s not because of the performance of Damian Lillard ($11,800). He’s actually on pace to have the best season of his career with averages of 31.1 points, five rebounds, 7.3 assists, 1.3 steals and 3.9 three-pointers per game. His usage rate sits at a robust 29.9%, but one thing to keep in mind is that he’s shooting an uncharacteristically-high 49.3% from the field. While his floor is still high, facing the defensive-minded Patrick Beverley ($7,200) could prove to be troublesome.

The next tier of Blazers after Lillard consists of Hassan Whiteside ($9,000) and C.J. McCollum ($8,000). Whiteside has fit in seamlessly with his new squad, scoring at least 35.5 DKFP in four of his six games. On the other hand, McCollum has scored 27.5 DKFP or fewer in four of his seven games. Part of that is due to a shooting slump that has seen him shoot just 40.1% from the field. This matchup against one of the best teams in the league might not be what he needs to get back on track.

After Lillard, Whiteside and McCollum, it’s difficult to be excited about any of the rest of the players on the Blazers. They are relying more on Mario Hezonja ($5,600) with Zach Collins (shoulder) out, but the only time that he’s topped 22 DKFP in a game this season was a contest that Whiteside also missed. With his limited upside, he’s not that appealing at this price. Kent Bazemore ($4,600) is one of their key reserves, but that hasn’t translated on the fantasy side with him averaging only 20 DKFP a game. Rodney Hood ($4,400) is heavily reliant on his contributions in the scoring column to provide value, which could spell doom versus the Clippers. As far as dart throws go, Anfernee Simons ($3,400) and Anthony Tolliver ($2,400) fit the bill. Tolliver has started the last four games, but only averaged 5.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists during that stretch.


Clippers

With Paul George (shoulders) still out, Kawhi Leonard ($12,200) is the undisputed main man for the Clippers. His usage rate checks in at 39.2%, which is the second-highest mark in the league. While expensive, building your entry around him could still be prudent.

The Clippers gave Leonard the night off Wednesday against the Bucks, which left Lou Williams ($9,800) to shine. He finished with 34 points, six rebounds and 11 assists across a season-high 39 minutes. He had scored 35.5 DKFP or fewer in each of his previous five games, so expect him to come back down to Earth with Leonard back in the fold. Another player who stepped up in Leonard’s absence was Montrezl Harrell ($8,800), who scored a staggering 62.8 DKFP. Among these two, Harrell might be the more appealing option since he’s $1,000 cheaper and has now scored at least 31 DKFP in five of his last six contests.

While I already mentioned Beverley’s defensive prowess, he scored a season-high 20 points without Leonard on Wednesday. However, at his price of $7,200, it’s difficult to justify adding him to your entry since he hasn’t scored more than 25.3 DKFP in a game prior to that performance. One player who had an off night despite Leonard being out was Ivica Zubac ($6,400). It was a bad matchup for him against Brook Lopez, which resulted in him playing only nine minutes off the bench. Harrell started on Wednesday, and he could start again after a superb performance, leaving Zubac extremely unappealing at this price.

The rest of the options on the Clippers all have their flaws. With JaMychal Green ($5,000), Moe Harkless ($3,000) and Patrick Patterson ($2,000) all splitting time at power forward, they each carry limited upside. Landry Shamet ($4,000) has started all eight games and averaged 31 minutes a night, but his 13.7% usage rate has resulted in him averaging only 9.6 points per game.


THE OUTCOME

Although this is the second game of a back-to-back set for the Clippers, Leonard being fresh could be the edge that they need to emerge victorious. It also helps that they will be playing at home. In terms of the Captain’s Pick, fade Leonard ($18,300 CP) at your own risk. If you do want to take a chance on a cheaper option, rolling with Harrell ($13,200 CP) and his relatively high floor could prove to be prudent.

Final Score: Clippers 114, Blazers 108


Favorite Prop Bet

Kawhi Leonard, 28.5 Points: Over (-124)

This seems like a crazy high line, but Leonard is averaging 29.3 points per game. His 39.2% usage rate is the second-highest mark in the league, which leaves him with a tremendously high ceiling. With the rest of his teammates having played Wednesday, look for the well-rested Leonard to have a monster offensive showing.

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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is mbarner51) 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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