Check out a quick breakdown of every game on Thursday’s NBA slate. We’ll take a look at the Vegas lines and totals, recent trends, and a few players you can be targeting for tonight’s action.
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Philadelphia 76ers @ Brooklyn Nets
Line: Nets -7
Battle of the heavyweights here. The six-win Nets should probably not get used to being seven-point favorites over anyone. This game comes in with the lowest projected total points scored not because of any great defense, or even a lack of pace… it’s just a lack of scorers. But luckily, the fantasy value that is there is basically limited entirely to the starting frontcourts, so you can usually find at least a player or two who can help your fantasy squad succeed. Some of these players might not be getting any run if they were someplace else (see: Robert Covington, $7,200 – 31 fantasy points per night over the last two weeks despite averaging four turnovers per game), so I guess we can say thank you to these teams for creating new options?
– Brook Lopez ($7,700)
– Thaddeus Young ($7,400)
– Jahlil Okafor ($6,400)
– Nerlens Noel ($5,800)
Atlanta Hawks @ Oklahoma City Thunder
Line: OKC -8
The Thunder lost to the Hawks about a week and a half ago. Teague, Horford and Millsap all scored 20+ points, and they held off a late surge to grab the five-point win. And when I say they held off “a late surge,” what I really mean is they held off Westbrook. Westbrook had 34 points, 11 rebounds, 7 assists, and 2 steals in the losing effort. And you know he remembers it – he doesn’t seem like the type to really be ok with losing. Like maybe he kinda hates it.
But if the last game is any indication, you really don’t want to go looking for value plays in this one, as almost all of the production came from six players, and they aren’t hard to identify: Teague, Hereford, Millsap, Durant, Westbrook and Ibaka. Those six players combined for 148 points in this game, and only one other player on either roster was in double-digits: Anthony Morrow, with 10.
– Russell Westbrook ($10,400)
– Kevin Durant ($10,100)
– Paul Millsap ($8,300)
– Jeff Teague ($6,800)
Los Angeles Clippers @ Chicago Bulls
Line: Bulls -1
The Clippers are coming off a nice win over the Bucks, where Chris Paul had 18 assists, Blake went for 21-14 and J.J. Redick went off for 31 points. The Bulls, on the other hand, are coming off a 105-100 loss to Boston, dropping them further back into the big middle of the Eastern Conference standings. And no surprise, their two best fantasy performers were Pau Gasol and Jimmy Butler.
The question here is which team is going to be able to assert it’s style on the game. I thought the Bulls would be forced into a faster pace by the Celtics last night, and that led to nice fantasy production for their stars. But, I think that on the second night of a back-to-back for each of these teams, the opposite might be true – the Bulls could drag the Clips down with them, creating a game flow that has fewer opportunities than usual for everyone involved.
– Pau Gasol ($7,700)
– Jimmy Butler ($7,500)
– DeAndre Jordan ($7,100)
– J.J. Redick @ CHI ($4,000)
New York Knicks @ Sacramento Kings
Line: Kings -5.5
The Knicks left a tough loss in Utah last night and headed for Sacramento, where they are going to be underdogs again. Carmelo has only reached the 20-point threshold once in his last five games, which makes him an underwhelming option. He obviously has upside, but it has been showing up sporadically at best. But that lack of production from him does mean more opportunities to go around for the rest of the Knicks, which makes someone like Afflalo, getting 30+ minutes and double-digit shot attempts almost every night, an interesting option. Plus, Porzingis.
For the Kings, it’s Cousins and Rondo, with a little Collison mixed in. The two guards are getting plenty of run together, making Collison an interesting value play, especially in cash games. Rondo and Cousins, on the other hand, are pure upside plays – not in the sense that they are inconsistent, but only in that you know as well as I do you’ll be disappointed if these guys “only” get you 40-50 points in a GPP.
– DeMarcus Cousins ($10,200)
– Rajon Rondo ($8,500)
– Kristaps Porzingis ($7,800)
– Arron Afflalo ($4,400)