The NBA Game Breakdown takes an in-depth look at all of the games on the schedule each day in terms of expected pace of play, Vegas lines, and defense vs. position match ups.

 

Stat of the Day

Defensive Efficiency (DEF) is a statistic used in basketball to measure a teams efficiency at preventing the other team from scoring points. It is a very useful stat to look at when figuring which teams have a soft match up against a bad defense. Knowing this allows you to roster players from that team with a higher chance of outperforming the averages.

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Mavericks @ Wizards

Game Analysis

Dallas has hit the under in 6 of their last 7. Washington has played over in most games, but with the O/U being much lower then they see today. I would think the pace in this one should be slower then normal for Dallas as Washington ranks towards the bottom of the league. Dallas DEF ranking is in the mid tier, so I think it is reasonable to expect the under to have a good chance in this one and therefore ticks down all players a bit for fantasy purposes. Dallas is 7-3-1 against the spread this year so it’s no surprise the early money is coming in heavy on them as a road favorite. Washington is 4-0 so far at home so I think this stays close throughout.

Line: Mavs -2.5 up from -1, O/U 200.5

Players to Watch

  • Tyson Chandler, C, Mavs ($6400)
  • Jameer Nelson, PG, Mavs ($4100)
  • Kris Humphries, PF, Wizards ($4100)
  • John Wall, PG, Wizards ($9500)

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Spurs @ Cavs

Game Analysis

San Antonio has seen the under hit in all but 2 of it’s first 10 games. This is mostly due to solid defense that has only allowed exactly 100 points to be scored twice by the Warriors and Clippers. Every other game the Spurs have limited the opponent to a two digit score a little above or below 90. Cleveland on the other hand is playing to the over more often and it has to do with them allowing over 100 points a game and playing with a bottom 5/6 DEF number so far in the early part of the season. This gives a tick up to the Spurs for me and a slight tick down to the Cavs players. Before rostering Spurs I always check the schedule to lower the chance of getting POPPED. Getting Popped is when you play Spurs starters and they get no more then 20 minutes for some unexplained reason known only to coach Greg Popovich. I think that this game will be closer and higher scoring then usual for the Spurs. Since they do not have a game again until Friday I think the starters and main players will see extended run unless the score gets really out of hand. It’s always a risk, but I feel the risk is minimal today. We heard rumblings from Lebron about how the big 3 for the Cavs need to play less minutes to stay fresh and healthy, so keep an eye on that going forward. Overall there’s a lot of big name players in this one, but I feel many of them may disappoint tonight.

Line: Cavs -2.5, O/U 202.5

Players to Watch

  • Dion Waiters, SG, Cavs ($4600)
  • Kyrie Irving, PG, Cavs ($8000)
  • Kawhi Leonard, SF, Spurs ($7300)
  • Manu Ginobili, SG, Spurs ($4800)

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Clippers @ Magic

Game Analysis

Both teams have been picking up the pace and playing to the over more in their last 5 games. The Clippers have not had a great start to the season, but they have also had a murderous opening slate of opponents. 6 of their last 7 games came against GS, SA, Chi, Pho, Por, and Sac who should all be playoff teams this year. Not exactly easing themselves into the new season. Today’s opponent is not of the caliber of those 6 and should be added to the list of victims they can overmatch. The Magic are towards the third in the league as far as DEF and the Clips are about at the bottom 1/3rd mark. Both teams are relatively healthy and the early money is coming in on a fast and furious game that reaches the O/U. If Clips can control the tempo I could see a lot of good fantasy stat lines coming from this contest on both sides.

Line: Clippers -5, O/U 203.5

Players to Watch

  • Tobias Harris, SF, Magic ($7300)
  • Channing Frye, PF, Magic ($5100)
  • Chris Paul, PG, Clippers ($10000)
  • Blake Griffin, PF, Clippers ($9500)

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Celtics @ 76ers

Game Analysis

In terms of pace this is a match up of 2 teams in the top 10. Boston has been over in every game but one this season. Despite the tag as a fast paced team that plays high scoring games, the 76ers have been hitting the under more often due to some anemic offensive performances. They have failed to crack 90 points in 5 of their last 6 while allowing their opponents to crack 100 in four of those games. It does not take an advanced math degree to figure out that those numbers mean they have suffered some lopsided losses. Many people will rush to play Rondo tonight thinking this is last year’s 76er team full of fantasy goodness, but the truth is PGs have played the least amount of minutes they play all year against the 76ers due to the fact that they tend to be in cruise control and watching from the bench come the 4th quarter. Things in Philly are a mess right now and I would not doubt the high scoring Celtics run them off the court tonight and hold a big lead at some point in this game. If you roster Celtics you may still get value from them, but it will most likely be in the first 3 quarters of work.

Line: Celtics -6 up from -4, O/U 209.5 up from 204.5

Players to Watch

  • Evan Turner, SF, Celtics ($4300)
  • Jared Sullinger, PF, Celtics ($7300)
  • Henry Sims, C, 76ers ($4900)
  • Luc Richard Mbah A Moute, SF, 76ers ($3700)

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Hornets @ Pacers

Game Analysis

Indiana has been under in 3 of the last 5 and Charlotte has done it 4 of their last 6. Both teams are in the bottom third of the league in pace, so I would not go expecting a high scoring affair here. Charlotte likely will be without the services of four of their wing players tonight as Kidd-Gilchrist, Neal, Taylor, and Hairston are all expected to miss. Keep an eye on who does start as some value will definitely be there with increased minutes for someone. With one of the lowest O/U on the large slate today I think you are safe staying away from almost everything in this game.

Line: Hornets -2, O/U 181.5

Players to Watch

  • AJ Price, PG, Pacers ($3000)
  • Rodney Stuckey, SG, Pacers ($3300)
  • Gerald Henderson, SG, Hornets ($3900)
  • Kemba Walker, PG, Hornets ($6900)

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Suns @ Pistons

Game Analysis

Pistons have been over in 4 of their last 6 while the Suns are playing over more then twice as much as they miss the mark. This game features two teams in the top half of the league for pace, so I can see the scores being elevated and Detroit gets the slight tick up. The Suns have been finishing with scores in the triple digits on one side or the other while Detroit tends to see scores reach the 90s range on both sides. The Pistons have been plagued by poor shooting and inconsistent play so it is very tough to figure who gets the production for them as it is dependent on the hot hand and the match ups. Same can be said for the trio of guards and plethora of interchangeable forwards on the Suns. There could be some fantasy goodness in this game, but both teams spread the wealth enough to make figuring out who to play a tough choice.

Line: Suns -2, O/U 204.5

Players to Watch

  • Brandon Jennings, PG, Pistons ($7300)
  • Greg Monroe, PF, Pistons ($7200)
  • Markieff Morris, PF, Suns ($6800)
  • Goran Dragic, PG, Suns ($6500)

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Bucks @ Nets

Game Analysis

The Bucks have been under in all but two games this season and rank third in the league for DEF. The Nets are middle of the pace standings and have been about 50/50 to the over and under. Milwaukee is on the second game of a back to back road trip, but catches a struggling Brooklyn team that has dropped 4 straight games. It’s no wonder that the early money is coming in on the road dog and the under heavy. I would expect a slow ugly low scoring game here and would caution anyone wanting to use too many guys from this one.

Line: Nets -6, O/U 196.5

Players to Watch

  • Khris Middleton, SF, Bucks ($3200)
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo, SG, Bucks ($5300)
  • Deron Williams, PG, Nets ($7400)
  • Jarrett Jack, PG, Nets ($3900)

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Grizzlies @ Raptors

Game Analysis

This seems like a pretty high O/U for two teams in the top six of the league for DEF. It’s also strange given that neither team plays at a particularly high pace. I think this one might be destined for the under as that interior duo on Memphis should control the boards and therefore they should be able to dictate the slower pace they like to play at. Both teams have been playing to final scores right around the 200 mark over the past week or so, but I think this one is played a little more methodical and under that mark. The key to me is whether Tony Allen guards DeRozan or Ross. If he guards DeRozan, then I think Tayshaun Prince gets more court time as he matches up better with Ross than Courtney Lee does. This will probably be the adjustment they make as Lee would struggle to guard DeRozan if that was his assignment. Either way Tayshaun’s defense is better then Lee’s and his scoring is much worse, so that alone accounts for how I see the under being more likely. This is definitely not a safe game to play Lee, so heed that warning or be disappointed later.

Line: Raptors -2.5, O/U 194 down from 200.5

Players to Watch

  • Marc Gasol, C, Grizzlies ($7400)
  • Mike Conley, PG, Grizzlies ($6700)
  • Demar DeRozan, SG, Raptors ($7300)
  • Kyle Lowry, PG, Raptors ($7700)

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Knicks @ Timberwolvees

Game Analysis

Since Rubio went down the final combined scores in the TWolves games have been 215, 230, 250. That is an upward trend I think they would like to get under control. I do not think it happens here as Minnesota is second worst in the league in DEF and the Knicks round out the bottom 5. Two teams that play fast and have a lot of possessions could translate into a lot of fantasy goodness with defensive efficiency that poor. Thad Young is on leave to deal with his mother’s death and Nikola Pekovic is banged up and out. Anthony Bennett and Gorgui Dieng are the only two healthy bodies taller then six and a half feet left on the roster, so they will both play big minutes. New York is playing a back to back and the one reason that concerns me is Carmelo left the game early yesterday with a sore knee. He did return and finish the game out, but he seemed a step slow. He says it hurts, but he is fine to play. Check the status and temper your expectations accordingly with that news. Overall I expect a hot pace and a lot of points, so you should try to have some exposure to this game tonight.

Line: T Wolves -1 down from -3.5, O/U 206 up from 203

Players to Watch

  • Kevin Martin, SG, TWolves ($5900)
  • Anthony Bennett, PF, TWolves ($3000)
  • Iman Shumpert, SG, Knicks ($3900)
  • Carmelo Anthony, SF, Knicks ($9400)

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Thunder @ Nuggets

Game Analysis

The Nuggets had two unders to start the season, ripped off five overs in a row, and have gone under three times since. OKC has gone under in 7 of their last 10 including one of the lowest scoring games I can remember when they lost by four to the Rockets this week with neither team cracking 70 points. OKC is middle of the DEF pack in the NBA and Denver is down near the bottom. Denver has yielded over 100 in 7 of 10 games so far this season although the defense has looked better recently. OKC has been trying to slow the game down as injuries have really taken a toll on them and they have a very short bench. I could easily see this game come in under the total and that would not be good for fantasy value. I would tick up the Thunder players and take the Nuggets down a peg for your projections tonight.

Line: Nuggets -8, O/U 198

Players to Watch

  • Ty Lawson, PG, Nuggets ($7900)
  • Darrell Arthur, PF, Nuggets ($3300)
  • Jeremy Lamb, SG, Thunder ($5600)
  • Anthony Morrow, SG, Thunder ($4300)

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Lakers @ Rockets

Game Analysis

Lakers have been over in all but 2 games this year and the Rockets have been under in all but 3. This is a true clash of styles as the new look Rockets have a suffocating defense and the new look Lakers do not play any defense. LA has the worst Defensive Efficiency rating in the league by a mile and they also play at one of the top paces. That really does not bode well for them avoiding the blowout that Vegas is predicting with that double digit point spread. The Rockets got rid of Parsons and Linn who were two of their worst defenders and replaced them with Beverly and Ariza who are two of the best defenders at their positions in the entire NBA. This has a lot to do with the stingy defense the Rockets have played so far and while those guys are a notch below on offense, the team is better overall because of the commitment to defense. It is seen with the league best DEF they currently own. I think this turns into the blowout many are expecting and therefore you need to be careful who you roster from this game as you might have guys in the late game with PMR, but they will not be helping you climb the leaderboard if they are stuck on the bench. Few things in DFS are as tilting as that, so don’t say I did not warn you.

Line: Rockets -12.5, O/u 208 down from 212

Players to Watch

  • Nick Young, SG, Lakers ($3500)
  • Ed Davis, PF, Lakers ($4400)
  • James Harden, SG, Rockets ($10300)
  • Dwight Howard, C, Rockets ($9500)