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.

 

Fantasy Basketball World Championship Qualifiers

We have plenty of satellite qualifiers to the FBWC in the lobby today to win buy ins to the qualifiers for the finals in Las Vegas. Tonight could be your night to get one step closer to a million dollar payday. There are no direct buy in tournaments for FBWC today, but you can get a discounted shot if you are lucky enough to cash in one of the Q’s. They are filling up fast and more of them are getting rolled out as they do, so check the Qualifiers tab in the lobby for your chance at it.

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Pelicans @ Raptors

Game Analysis

The big news here is the Pelicans are probably without Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday again today. As many of us know they played without them last game and despite everyone thinking Ryan Anderson and Tyreke Evans were locks in their absence, both guys woefully underperformed and the Pelicans looked horrible without two of their best players in uniform. They were handily beaten by the lowly Sixers and only managed 81 points. Things get no easier today as they travel to take on one of the Eastern Conference’s top team in the Raptors. This is good news for Toronto who only won 2 of the last 8 they have played. Those two wins came against the Sixers and Celtics who are not exactly world beaters. In their defense many of those six losses have come against some of the better teams in the league like Portland, Golden State, and Atlanta as well as the surging Detroit Pistons. Despite the recent struggles if the Pelican’s last game is any indication the Raptors should be able to get the victory at home today. With such large spreads in all three games on this slate I think this could be one that has a chance to stay a little closer with the way Toronto has been struggling lately. It’s the second highest O/U on the day and currently the smallest spread so on an ugly slate I think this is a place you might want to have some exposure.

Line: Raptors -8.5 up from 7, O/U 203.5

Players to Watch

  • Eric Gordon, SG, Pelicans ($5300)
  • Ryan Anderson, PF, Pelicans ($5700)
  • DeMar Derozan, SG, Raptors ($6700)
  • James Johnson, SF, Raptors ($4900)

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Thunder @ Magic

Game Analysis

This is probably the best spot for targeting today based on the highest O/U and the second lowest spread. Throw in the fact this is the only game where the underdog is home today and I can see them fighting to the end to keep it close. I still think OKC wins it pretty easily, but beggers can’t be choosers on such a small slate with limited options. The Magic have played the last few games without star SF Tobias Harris and have not seen a game stay under without his rebounding and defense since. They are scoring around the same as always thanks to Victor Oladipo and Nikola Vucevic stepping up, but the defense has been dreadful giving up over 109 per game over the last 4. That’s bad news against an OKC team that has no trouble scoring the ball as they just hung a 127 on Golden State and have averaged 107 over their last 7. OKC has not been putting up the wins as often recently and they really need them to dig out of the hole they were in without KD and Westy early in the season. I can not see them letting this one slip away and I think those two aforementioned superstars are going to be a big part of it. Westbrook hung a Triple Double up on the Warriors last out and had a monster fantasy day with a 72 spot on DK. Durant was no slouch either and popped a 55 DK score of his own. Between them they almost take up half your salary, but if that gets you another 125+ points on a short slate day then it might be worth it. As far as match ups go, I’m not sure which star has a better one. Westbrook will likely see some Elfrid Payton Defense with a little Oladipo as well. Durant should see a combination of Fournier, Oladipo, Harkless, and maybe Nicholson or Green. None of that scares me in the least. I would think they would try their best to keep Oladipo out of foul trouble which probably means less time on both who have a tendency to put opposing defenders on the bench with fouls. They really have no other way of getting offense without Dipo, so it would not make sense to risk him on those guys defensively, especially early in the game. While I said this game looks best to target based off the line, it’s also very possible it turns into a blowout, so be careful using them. If you get 4 quarters here then I see both getting 40-50 DK points easy, but they could also both play 30 minutes and get a mid thirties score which would kill you at their price points. The way I can see Orlando staying in this is slowing it down a bit and playing through Nikola Vucevic who has the best match up on that side of the floor today. They will need him to play well to avoid a lopsided loss.

Line: Thunder -9.5, O/U 212.5

Players to Watch

  • Victor Oladipo, SG, Magic ($6800)
  • Nikola Vucevic, C, Magic ($8800)
  • Russell Westbrook, PG, Thunder ($10200)
  • Kevin Durant, SF, Thunder ($10700)

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Jazz @ Spurs

Game Analysis

Kawhi Leonard is back. Sorry if I am too excited about this, but he is the most underrated player in the league right now. Think Paul George a few years back. Guy is dominate on both ends of the floor and is fantasy gold. He is producing above a point per minute this season, so as long as he plays and is on the floor he will get you some fantasy points. The Spurs struggled a little without him, but he stepped in and put up 40 DK points in a little over 30 minutes last game in his return, so he seems to be full strength. San Antonio looked awesome at home drubbing Portland by over a dozen in his return, so there’s no sense looking back too far as this team is finally healthy and firing on all cylinders. What happened before his return no longer matters unless Pop decides to sit him or some of the other stars today. The Jazz have only won 2 of their last 5 with four unders during that stretch. They did lose to teams like GSW, Hou, and OKC sandwiched between wins over Chicago and the Lakers. Unfortunately today they are traveling to San Antonio to play a healthy Spurs squad who is every bit as good or better than the three teams they already lost to last week. Lowest O/U with the highest spread and throw in a chance to get Popped and this is probably the most likely game to fade. Only question is does everyone fade this game and if so does that create a lower owned value opportunity for GPPs? Playing guys heavy in this one is likely to be as contrarian as one can get on a 3 game slate.

Line: Spurs -12 up from 10.5, O/U 193.5 down from 195

Players to Watch

  • Kawhi Leonard, SF, Spurs ($7500)
  • Tim Duncan, PF,  Spurs ($8700)
  • Trey Burke, PG, Jazz ($5700)
  • Derrick Favors, PF, Jazz ($8000)