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.
Bucks @ Cavs
Lebron is still listed as questionable, but the sharp move down in the Vegas line here leads me to believe he is again going to be out. When Lebron does not play it usually means a big performance out of Kyrie and I would expect more of that again here today. It also usually means the Cavs are going to struggle and I see that as a real possibility here as well. Milwaukee tends to play at a slower pace then Cleveland, so that ticks down some of the Cavs. It’s an interesting balancing act today as the slow pace is a knock, but no Lebron ups the usage rate of the entire Cavs team. One thing no Lebron also does is seriously weaken the defense of the Bucks. Kyrie and Love have never been plus defenders and without James, they really have no defensive stoppers on the whole team. I think that is a positive for the Bucks as I can see them havong a nice effort and a good scoring game today. This one has the second highest O/U and the smallest spread so I can see some nice fantasy games coming from here and you should have at least some exposure.
Line: Cavs -4.5 down from -13, O/U 203
Players to Watch
- Kyrie Irving, PG, Cavs ($9000)
- Dion Waiters, SG, Cavs ($4300)
- Jared Dudley, SF, Bucks ($4400)
- Zaza Pachulia, C, Bucks ($4200)
Pelicans @ Spurs
Pelicans hosted Spurs a week ago and took home a seven point victory. The Spurs get a chance to return the favor today on their home court. New Orleans has played well recently against the Spurs, Suns, and Bulls who are three of the NBAs best teams, so this one could be a very close hard fought battle. I don’t see it creeping up in the 200 total points range, but that doesn’t mean I would shy away completely here. The Spurs have struggled recently and are playing without Tony Parker and Kawhi Leonard. Those are two very big pieces for them to be missing. Leonard is especially troublesome as he is the best defender the Spurs have and usually guards the other teams best perimeter player. A match up with Tyreke Evans would have been fun to watch and without Kawhi I’m not sure if the Spurs have an answer for him. Davis is also a tough match up for the Spurs bigs with his unique skill set and despite the home court advantage it would not surprise me to see the Pelicans steal one here. I think the pace will be moderate, but a few guys could reach value in what should be a close enough game to see the starters get a full allotment of minutes. Spurs are on back end of a double header so make sure to look at the line ups and see who is out. It’s always a risk Pop plays guys less minutes too, so just be aware you have been warned.
Line: Spurs -5 up from -3.5, O/U 200
Players to Watch
- Tim Duncan, PF, Spurs ($9200)
- Marco Bellinelli, SG, Spurs ($4000)
- Tyreke Evans, SG, Pelicans ($7700)
- Anthony Davis, PF, Pelicans (11700)
Hornets @ Rockets
I always let you guys know when a game could turn into a blowout, because it should be a factor in your analysis. Blow Outs tend to mean less minutes for stars and a worse chance to hit value. If there was ever a game I think Vegas is totally wrong about it would be this one and a blow out is a huge possibility. Al Jefferson is now out for a few weeks with a groin injury, joining Lance Stephenson who has a pelvic injury as well. That leaves basically Kemba Walker and a group of journeyman around him. Normally I would say all the Kemba in every line up tonight, but he gets the defense of Patrick Beverly who has been know to keep good PGs below their averages. The question we have to ask is can Kemba’s uptick in usage without any of the teams other scorers offset the tick down from being guarded by Beverly? If the answer is yes then you can not play Kemba, but should look for a secondary option from this one as someone must score for the Hornets at some point, right? I honestly would not be so sure. Here are your other non Kemba Hornet’s scoring options today. Gary Neal who is about 5 for his last 30 from the field. Gerald Henderson fresh off a 37 DK point performance and with no track record of stringing games like that together. Cody Zeller who has a floor of 20 and a ceiling of 23, MKG who has been a consistent DK point scorer in the high teens, and Bismark Biyombo who should get the bump in minutes from Jefferson being out at min price. I know the Rockets have struggled lately, but that’s not exactly a great cast surrounding Kemba who will need to be a superman today just to keep this close. If I was fading one game on the late slate or limiting my exposure it might be here. A lot of the Rockets are pricey and I think the minutes get distributed more evenly today. If I use anyone here it is going to be some of the Hornets guys who are all cheap. My only problem is I can make a case for five or six of them and feel strongly about none. I expect an easy victory for the Rockets here at home and would not be shy about passing on this one all together.
Line: Rockets -12, O/U 197
Players to Watch
- Cody Zeller, PF, Hornets ($4300)
- Bismark Biyombo, C, Hornets ($3000)
- Corey Brewer, SF, Rockets ($4900)
- Donatas Motiejunas, SF, Rockets ($4600)
Suns @ Thunder
Throw all the recent stats away in this one as the Suns are hot since Isiah Thomas is now back to full stride and the Thunder are expecting the return of KD today. The one thing I know for sure is the pace in this one is going to be really high. Both teams when healthy can put up points in bunches and both have no problem pushing the ball up the court. This game reminds me of what happens when you take gasoline and throw it on a fire. The explosion should be fun to watch. I can see this game being so up and down that guys are literally dragging by the time they get subbed off the floor. IT2 and Westbrook are two of the fastest guys in the league with the ball in their hands and I see no let up from either side in this one. KD may or may not be a little rusty, because he has been out for a few games. Either way I think there’s some interesting questions here to answer. Can KD make Value? How much will his presence tick down Westy? Can Bledsoe continue to carry this Suns team? Is this the game IT2 take a few more minutes away from a Dragic or Bledsoe? Will Len bounce back or was last week an illusion? What’s been up with Markieff lately? The good news is the high total means a lot of DK points to go around for everyone, but the bad news is there are more guys to consider and still only one ball for them to all share. I think you need exposure to this game, but picking and choosing your spots here will probably decide the standings in tonight’s GPPs.
Line: Thunder -7, O/U 213
Players to Watch
- Eric Bledsoe, SG, Suns ($9300)
- Goran Dragic, PG, Suns ($7300)
- Russell Westbrook, PG, Thunder ($12100)
- Steven Adams, C, Thunder ($4800)