Friday’s fantasy basketball Showdown contests on DraftKings feature a choice between three NBA games: Atlanta Hawks at Washington Wizards (7:00 p.m. ET), Memphis Grizzlies at Dallas Mavericks (8:30 p.m. ET) and Milwaukee Bucks at Los Angeles Lakers (10:30 p.m. ET). This article will focus on the late game. The Bucks are 1-point favorites DraftKings Sportsbook, and the game has been given a total points of 227.5. Set your lineups here: NBA Showdown $150K Fadeaway [$50K to 1st] (MIL vs LAL).
For the Lakers, Anthony Davis (elbow) and Alex Caruso (hamstring) enter Friday listed as probable. For the Bucks, George Hill (groin) is questionable. The Lakers have also reportedly agreed to a deal with free agent SG Dion Waiters, per The Athletic’s Shams Charania, although it’s not clear when Waiters will be available to make his Lakers debut.
For up-to-the-minute news, analysis and lineups, download the DK Live app, as NBA news, injury reports and betting lines on DraftKings Sportsbook can change throughout the day. Value also unexpectedly can open up due to late lineup changes and late injury news, making it important to stay up-to-the-minute with the DK Live app until lineups lock. You also can follow DK Live on Twitter @dklive.
Note: All salaries will be Flex prices unless noted as Captain’s Pick prices.
BETTING TRENDS— The Lakers have a 33-26-1 against-the-spread (ATS) record
— The Bucks have a 36-26 against-the-spread (ATS) record
— The Lakers have covered the point spread in 87.5% of their games when they are the underdog
— The Bucks have covered the point spread in 57.6% of their games when they are the favorite
— The Lakers have an 0-1 against-the-spread (ATS) record against the Bucks in 2019-20
Stats provided by DraftKings Sportsbook
SHOWDOWN STRATEGYFriday’s late Showdown matchup features the two best teams in the league facing off in what DraftKings Sportsbook has pegged as the most likely NBA Finals matchup. The Bucks, who sit at first in the Eastern Conference with an .855 winning percentage, have -177 odds on DraftKings Sportsbook to make the NBA Finals, the best in the East, while the Lakers, who are first in the Western Conference with a .783 winning percentage, have +150 odds to make the NBA Finals, the best in the West. The matchup also features the two leaders on DraftKings Sportsbook to win NBA MVP, with Giannis Antetokounmpo ($13,400) the favorite with -2000 odds and LeBron James ($13,200) second at +1000.
The two teams played once previously this season in Milwaukee. The Bucks won the game by 7 points, and the pace of the game was slow compared to what each team normally plays. The two teams played about 98 possessions each, much lower than the Bucks’ season average of about 106 possessions per game, and below the Lakers’ season average of about 101 possessions per game. The slower pace of the game didn’t affect the star players too much, as Antetokounmpo (64 DKFP), James (56.5 DKFP) and Anthony Davis ($11,000; 65 DKFP) all performed above their season averages in terms of fantasy scoring.
The Bucks have had one of the greatest regular seasons in NBA history in terms of point differential, outscoring opponents by about 12 points per 100 possessions. Their defense has been the best on the league on a possession adjusted basis, although their league-leading pace makes their point prevention play down a little bit on a per game basis. Milwaukee’s defense is fueled by length and elite basket protection. The Bucks have allowed the fewest made field goals within five feet of the basket while holding opponents to a minuscule 52% field goal percentage in that zone, significantly lower than the league average of 63% on shots within five feet of the basket.
Because the Bucks are so elite at protecting the rim, James and Davis could have a more challenging time scoring at the basket. This was the case in their first meeting, as James and Davis shot just 43% and 50%, respectively, on shots within five feet of the basket, much lower than their season averages of 68% and 71% in that zone, respectively. Davis was able to overcome lower shooting efficiency against the Bucks with expanded usage, posting a 34% usage rate in the game, a boost from his season average of 28%.
Milwaukee’s one weakness in their defense is their tendency to allow wide-open 3-pointers as they look to protect the rim. The Bucks have allowed the most wide-open 3s per game based on the league’s player tracking system, which measures the closest defender to the shooter. The Lakers got a lot of wide-open looks from 3 in their first meeting, but were unable to make the Bucks pay, making just 26% of their wide-open 3s, worse than their season average of 38%. If more of Los Angeles’ wide-open 3s fall in this matchup, it could give them the boost they need to overcome Milwaukee’s stingy defense. Candidates to benefit from quality looks from deep include Danny Green ($3,000), Kentavious Caldwell-Pope ($4,200) and Avery Bradley ($4,000). Green punished the Bucks from deep in their first meeting, sinking 7-of-12 3-point attempts and finishing with 31 DKFP, much better than his season average of 19 DKFP per game. Caldwell-Pope also performed better than his season average with 26 DKFP.
The Lakers also have a strong defense, posting the third best team defense on a possession adjusted basis while holding opponents to the fifth fewest points per game. Despite the strong defense, Antetokounmpo had no issues recording fantasy points in their first meeting, scoring 64 DKFP on 57% shooting. However, Antetkounmpo’s scoring distribution was a little different, as the Lakers did a good job limiting his production near the basket, holding him to 56% shooting on shots within five feet of the basket, below his season average of 71% in that zone. Instead, Antetokounmpo got hot from deep, making 5-of-8 3-pointers, his most in a game this season. Antetokounmpo’s usage rate held steady at 37%, a tick above his season average of 36%. Given many of Antetokounmpo’s fantasy bust performances have come in lopsided blowouts, an expected close game between the Lakers and Bucks makes Antetokounmpo a candidate to play a lot of minutes, which makes him a highly appealing player to build lineups around.
Khris Middleton ($9,400) had a below average fantasy outing against the Lakers in their previous meeting, but it was due to poor usage. Middleton was efficient, shooting 50% from the field and 40% from 3-point range, and could see a better fantasy performance this time around if his usage resembles something closer to his season average. Eric Bledsoe ($8,200) did not play in that game, and with George Hill ($4,600; groin) uncertain to play Friday, Bledsoe and Donte DiVincenzo ($7,200) could see a tick up in minutes if Hill is unable to play. Brook Lopez ($6,600) played 33 minutes in their first meeting, one of his higher minute totals of the season, as the Lakers play with multiple traditional centers in Dwight Howard ($5,200) and JaVale McGee ($3,600), so Lopez could be in line for a tick up in minutes tonight from his season average.
THE OUTCOMEWith the game expected to be close, Giannis Antetokounmpo ($20,100 CP) makes for a highly appealing Captain’s Pick play, as a tight game could force Antetokounmpo into playing expanded minutes. By player efficiency rating (31.8), Antetokounmpo has been the league’s most efficient player this season, two slots ahead of Anthony Davis ($16,500 CP), who ranks third at 28.5. LeBron James ($19,800 CP) is also a Captain’s Pick option, but with Antetokounmpo costing just $300 more for Captain’s Pick, Antetokounmpo seems to be the better choice if choosing to pay up big.
The Lakers are home and have the slight rest advantage, having played just one game since Monday, while the Bucks have played two games since Monday. The Bucks have been the better team on the season, but home court combined with a little more rest could help the Lakers win this game outright in a close contest, and if the pace slows down again like it did in their first meeting, betting the under on DraftKings Sportsbook (227.5) may be a fruitful choice as two elite defensive teams face off.
Final score: Lakers 110, Bucks 108
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