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.
BIG MONEY TUESDAY
There’s a $130,000 Prize Pool on tonight’s version of the NBA CROSSOVER at Draft Kings with $20,000 going to the first place winner. $20 into $20,000 sounds like a really good night to me. Make sure you get in early before it fills to give yourself the chance to be that guy.
Timberwolves @ Pacers
The Pacers have alternated wins and losses over their last 10 games, which is much better then the long 1-10 stretch they had going a few weeks back. The Timberwolves have lost 21 of the last 22 they have played, but reinforcements are on the way as word is Kevin Martin and Nikola Pekovic have both practiced in full this week and are nearing a return. It’s still up in the air if that return will be today, but it can not come too soon for a struggling Wolves side that just lost Shabazz Muhammad to an abdominal injury for a couple weeks. Minnesota has lost 10 in a row while giving up over 100 in all but one of those games and that was a 15 point loss to the Bucks who only scored 98. The defense for the Wolves is not up to the caliber you expect from an NBA team. The Pacers are also playing a little out of sorts lately. They are normally a very stout defensive squad with solid man principles, but they have played to the over in 3 of the last 4 and given up 100 points in each of those 3. To put it in perspective, they had not allowed any of the previous 5 opponents to reach 100 before that three game defensive lapse. Vegas expects them to get back on the winning side tonight and against a Minnesota team with only one win in it’s last 22 It is hard to argue against it. The pace of this one should tick up the Pacers slightly and knock down the Timberwolves a little, but the question you have to ask is does the pace uptick outweigh the potential for a blowout in a game not expected to be high scoring or close? There is some value here to be had, but this would not be a game I target heavily today. Be ready to pounce if Gorgui Dieng is indeed out tonight as he is the latest victim of the flu that is ravaging the NBA this season.
Line: Pacers -11, O/U 198
Players to Watch
- Andrew Wiggins, SF, Wolves ($6800)
- Mo Williams, PG, Wolves ($6400)
- Roy Hibbert, C, Pacers ($6000)
- Solomon Hill, SF, Pacers ($4100)
Hawks @ 76ers
Atlanta has won 9 of 10 and is one of the best teams in the East. They average over 100 points a game and keep the pace up a little for a full 48 minutes. They alternate overs and unders and it basically comes down to how many points the other team can score. If that is our formula today, than it does not bode well for the Sixers. Philly has not scored 100 once in their last 10. Despite what people think, they are not the run and gun Sixers of last year, so temper your expectations. They play more defense and at a slower pace in 2014-2015, so automatically starting everyone against them is a fool’s errand. In fact more often than not, the starters play less minutes than they usually do and we have seen a few great players really under perform their value against Philly. Be careful taking the expensive options as that has not been the way to go recently. I expect this to be the same for Philly as well, so value guys may be the way to go on both sides of this one.
Line: Hawks -11, O/U 195.5
Players to Watch
- DeMarre Carroll, Sf, Hawks ($5200)
- Mike Scott, PF, Hawks ($3300)
- Nerlens Noel, PF, Sixers ($4800)
- Tony Wroten, PG, Sixers ($6100)
Spurs @ Wizards
Washington has lost 4 of their last 7 including a 9 point loss to this Spurs team a week ago. All of those losses have come on the road including the one to San Antonio and they now return home for the rematch in a building where they are very tough to beat. San Antonio has won 4 of the last 5, while only dropping a close one to the surging Pistons by a point at home. It defies logic as Parker is limited, Bellinelli and Ginobili are both questionable and Kawhi is still on the mend. The blowout of Minnesota last out does not tell us much, but they did beat NO, Was, and Pho during this stretch and those are all very solid teams in the association. Washington has hit a little bit of a rut and San Antonio is rounding back into form, so I think this is a great job by Vegas here with the line. I give the nod to Washington in this one, but I’m not loving either team for a big upside game today.
Line: Wizards -1.5, O/U 195
Players to Watch
- Patty Mills, PG, Spurs ($3400)
- Tiago Splitter, C, Spurs ($4200)
- John Wall, PG, Wizards ($9500)
- Marcin Gortat, C, Wizards ($6100)
Cavs @ Suns
Vegas has not posted a line on this game as of 10:30 AM EST and probably will not for the same reason the analysis of this is tough for me. Lebron James is a true game time decision tonight and whether or not he plays affects so much on both sides of the ball that the entire analysis and your line up construction hinges on that very question. I am hoping we get some clarity on it before 6:59 but if not then we are going to have to use late swaps and create lineups with the ability to swerve last minute today. If Lebron is out then Kyrie should again see huge usage and Kevin Love is a viable option, although quite expensive. PF is not too appealing this evening, so I would almost hope for no Lebron here. Phoenix will throw a high paced attack at the Cavs that includes Eric Bledsoe who has really stepped up his game. Neither JR Smith or Matthew Delladova is capable of slowing him down and the Suns guards should feast on a very weak Cavs defensive backcourt. The Cavs also defend the PF spot poorly so Markieff could be in line for a really nice game today as well. Overall the analysis of this game is very tough to do with the King James question still looming, but hopefully I gave you guys some ideas of how to handle it one way or the other when news comes.
Line: Suns -3, O/U 211
Players to Watch
- Kyrie Irving, PG, Cavs ($9100)
- Timofey Mozgov, C, Cavs ($4900)
- Markieff Morris, PF, Suns ($6400)
- Eric Bledsoe, SG, Suns ($8700)
Warriors @ Jazz
This Warriors team is very very good. If you do not stay up late to watch West Coast NBA basketball, then make sure you carve out time on a weekend to watch them when they play early. It’s just really fun to watch this team operate. They have a six game winning streak going, where they are averaging 118 points and giving up around 96. That’s right, some quick math tells us they have about a 20 point margin of victory. They play fast and efficient on both ends of the floor. Normally a high scoring high possession team is not very good defensively, but they are not winning games 120 to 119, they are winning them 120 to 99. They bring three of four guys off their bench who would start on most teams and they really have 8 or 9 interchangable parts with many of them capable of playing and slotting into multiple positions. This game is not going to be a cake walk though as Utah has really turned up the defense lately, as evidenced by the low opponents scoring over the last few and the high number of unders recently. While I do not think they shut down the Warriors completely, I would tick down Golden State a tad here. Utah struggles seem to be on the other side of the ball as they are not really a high scoring team. I think they lack the fire power to stay with a healthy Warriors squad today and the final score might not be as close as Vegas expects even with this game being in Utah. Overall I like a few guys in this one to make value and think you need some exposure, but would not be on board for totally stacking the whole thing.
Line: Warriors -7, O/U 202.5
Players to Watch
- Trey Burke, PG, Jazz ($5500)
- Rudy Gobert, C, Jazz ($6100)
- Klay Thompson, SG, Warriors ($7300)
- Draymond Green, SF, Warriors ($8300)
Mavericks @ Kings
As far as games to target go, this seems like the one we should give the longest look to today. Highest O/U and one of the lowest spreads usually means a good spot for fantasy goodness, especially when the road team is favored and you expect the home team to play to the end. Dallas has lost 2 in a row after 6 straight wins and Sacramento is 3 for their last 5 as well. Both teams have played to the under more often recently, but I think that has a lot to do with the high totals they have been seeing. There’s some very interesting DvP match ups as well to discuss. Cousins gets some Tyson Chandler defense which is not a plus match up for him. Dallas also surprisingly defends SF well, so it’s not ideal for Gay either. They do struggle mightily against PGs before and after the Rondo trade, so the best bet looks to be Collison, but his price is elevated to a point where it gives me pause. Sacramento also struggles to guard C and PG, but with Chandler not being a huge offensive force I think that most benefits a guy like Rondo. This is especially true lately as the Kings have been one of the three worst at stopping PGs over the last 3 weeks. In a high O/U game expected to be played at a fast pace I think both the stars and even some of the other guys are worthy of a look here. Other than the Cavs/Suns game we have very few games with high totals and low spreads to target, so make sure you have some piece of this one in your line up.
Line: Mavs -5, O/U 212
Players to Watch
- Darren Collison, PG, Kings ($7000)
- Rudy Gay, SF, Kings ($8200)
- Rajon Rondo, PG, Mavericks ($7900)
- Tyson Chandler, C, Mavs ($6400)
Heat @ Lakers
Kobe is probable for tonight after being a late scratch Friday but again here with this being a late game it’s something we will have to sweat out since there’s a good chance we do not have clarity on it for awhile. Either way though I do not expect a high scoring game as both teams have tightened up defensively and slowed their pace. The Lakers are on a run of five straight unders while the Heat have four in a row. Neither team has been winning consistently lately, but neither is out of games either. What that tells me is we are probably in for a close game with or without Kobe in the line up today. Both teams have some interesting cheap options with the Lakers being in the back court and the Heat being more in the front court for value they are all useable. The O/U is not particularly high, but it’s in a good range to assume that a decent game from some stars is forseeable. If anything the probable score is a little below Lakers averages and a tad of an uptick for Miami, who should be the beneficiaries of it. My fade of the day is Hassan Whiteside for Miami. His price is up to $5700 on the back of his strong play, but if you are expecting another 50 burger out of him I think you will be cursing him later tonight. He might not be a horrible cash game play, because minutes = money but I do not see him repeating that last performance and he will be over owned in most GPPs today off the back of that huge game last out.
Line: Lakers -1, O/U 198
Players to Watch
- Chris Bosh, C, Heat ($8500)
- Dwayne Wade, SG, Heat ($8800)
- Ronnie Price, PG, Lakers ($3900)
- Wes Johnson, SF, Lakers ($4000)