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 Events

The late slate has nine games and the crown jewel of tournaments for that it is the $100K Crossover . Take your chance to turn $20 into $20,000. We also have FBWC and January Jam Q’s running all day long to help you get some shots at the big money being offered on Draft Kings.

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Mavericks @ Pelicans

Game Analysis

Four straight unders for the Mavericks as they have both been playing better on the defensive end and slowing their pace a little bit in the recent games. They are still reaching over 200 on the totals but seeing spreads that are closer to 210 a game is the main reason for the string of unders. The Pelicans have also seen 5 unders in 6 games and have won 4 of those. They enjoy the slower pace and only once in their last 6 games has either team reached the 100 mark as they hung 105 on Detroit two weeks ago. This O/U started in the low 200s and has come down almost 7 points since. Jrue Holiday will be out again and it looks like Ryan Andersen will play, so we should see more Tyreke at the point again and also a slight uptick for Eric Gordon. PFs have done well vs. the Mavericks and I am not sure if Dirk can check Anthony Davis here. The Mavs have great balance on offense and a lot of guys who can score, so there’s a few different ways I can see this play out. The one thing I do think is it will remain close so I would have no problem starting my favorite studs in this one. I think the O/U is a tad low though so I would not stack too many guys from here.

Line: Mavs -3, O/U 196.5

Players to Watch

  • Anthony Davis, PF, Pelicans ($11000)
  • Eric Gordon, SG, Pelicans ($5700)
  • Tyson Chandler, C, Mavs ($6400)
  • Chandler Parsons, SF, Mavs ($5900)

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Pacers @ Magic

Game Analysis

Indiana has lost 7 straight and played to unders lower than this in 4 of those 7. Orlando has only 2 wins in their last 6 but has played to the over in each of them with scores over100 on both sides of the ball. The Magic are playing way up in pace recently so I assume Vegas thinks they control the tempo to put the O/U this high today. That would be a huge uptick for the Pacers based off recent results. Both teams have one key injury to note as CJ Miles is doubtful to play today which opens up some minutes, shots, and touches for the Pacers on the wing and Elfrid Payton hurt his knee in the last game for the Magic. If Payton is out then Oladipo gets a big bump as he will handle the PG duties more often with a little more Luke Ridnour thrown in as well. A low spread and high O/U is a good place to target here. If you trust the Vegas line this could be a pace to get some under owned exposure to some high upside plays.

Line: Pacers -2, O/U 208

Players to Watch

  • Victor Oladipo, SG, Magic ($6800)
  • Evan Fournier, SG, Magic ($4000)
  • Solomon Hill, SF, Pacers ($3500)
  • David West, PF, Pacers ($6200)

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Clippers @ Suns

Game Analysis

A two point spread and a 222 O/U screams of fantasy goodness. The Clippers have won 4 of their last 5 and played to overs in the 210 range in 3 of those games. Phoenix has also won 4 of 5 and played to the over in three of those with average totals in the mid 210s. Whether or not they reach the total today we should see plenty of points in this one. Both teams have been scoring and giving up over triple digits recently so I do not think it ticks either team up or down today. The Clips struggle to defend wing scorers and the Suns have given up some nice games to big men, so there’s a lot of easy targets in this one based off that information. Both teams are healthy and this should be a game you target hevily on both sides for fantasy points today.

Line: Clips -2.5, O/U 222

Players to Watch

  • Blake Griffin, PF, Clippers ($9800)
  • DeAndre Jordan, C, Clippers ($7800)
  • Eric Bledsoe, SG, Suns ($8800)
  • PJ Tucker, SF, Suns ($4200)

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Timberwolves @ Hawks

Game Analysis

We do not need to discuss just how good the Hawks have been if you pay attention to the NBA at all. They are the class of the eastern conference and have been rolling lately. Minnesota welcomed back Pekovic and Martin is nearing a return, but they are still one of the worst teams in the league and this spread makes a boatload of sense here. I am concerned that the Hawks may rest a few key players, so watch the news as it comes out later in the day. Minnesota likely will be down big in this one, so Lavine may see more minutes then Mo, so stay away from the PGs all together. Look for plays on Minnesota that will see time regardless of score. On Atlanta I would shy away from the big ticket guys unless I had news of a few starters sitting out in which case I would use the remaining ones. The hawks are expected to score about 109 today so they should be in play for fantasy stats.

Line: Hawks -18, O/U 200.5

Players to Watch

  • Andrew Wiggins, SF, Timberwolves ($6800)
  • Thad Young, PF, Timberwolves ($6000)
  • Al Horford, C, Hawks ($7300)
  • KyleKorver, SG, Hawks ($4900)

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Pistons @ Raptors

Game Analysis

Toronto has 3 wins in their last 6 and 6 straight unders. They have only averaged about 90 points over the last 5 games although the defense has been better too which is why the unders keep paying off. The Pistons got romped against the Bucks in Milwaukee last out and the big news was the injury to PG Brandon Jennings. That means we are likely in for a lot of DJ Augustin today and that was a great start for the Bulls last year when Rose and Hinrich went down. His match up with Lowry is not ideal, but usage alone should make him a decent play today. I think the Raptors will look to attack at the guard spots where they have the advantage, but figuring out which guards to target is always tough with them. The big guys for the Pistons have played well in recent weeks and they will need them both to step up here today to keep this one close. There’s a lot of mid range value in this one and the spread is not too high to scare me away. I think there’s a few guys here you can look to roster with confidence on both sides.

Line: Raptors -7.5, O/U 200.5

Players to Watch

  • DJ Augustin, PG, Pistons ($3200)
  • Andre Drummond, C, Pistons ($8300)
  • Kyle Lowry, PG, Raptors ($9200)
  • Patrick Patterson, PF, Raptors ($4000)

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Bucks @ Spurs

Game Analysis

Spurs are healthy and it shows. They have won 7 of 9 and have limited high scoring teams like Portland, Phoenix, Minnesota, Denver, and the Lakers to under 100 points over that stretch. The defense is what made them a championship team and the reinsertion of Kawhi Leonard really helps them there. The Bucks are also not a horrible defensive squad so the low total makes sense to me. The Spurs could win this one going away and we all know how Pop loves to rest guys when he can. Given that I think the Spurs D limits and ticks down the Bucks and the solid Buks defense and high spread concern me with the Spurs, I will be fading this game all together today and think you should be looking to do the same.

Line: Spurs -11.5, O/U 190

Players to Watch

  • I am not targeting anyone here

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Celtics @ Warriors

Game Analysis

Golden State is on a tear this season and while I said last game I don’t like predicting blowouts and that I loved Klay Thompson, I do not expect a repeat of that game today. (I mean Klay can’t get 70 DK points back 2 back now can he?) I like the Warriors for the win, think the starters probably sit most if not all of the fourth quarter and this one is not close from mid 3rd quarter to the end. If you want to be contrarian there are a few guys on both sides you can take here, but I do actually see this becoming a blowout and I would be very cautious to use this game heavy in my LUs. Maybe for a GPP but stay away from Warriors in cash is my advice here. Marcus Smart has a death in the family and will be unavailable Sunday. That probably means more PG time for Turner and/or Avery so tick them up accordingly in this high O/U game.

Line: Warriors -18, O/U 214

Players to Watch

  • Brandon Bass, PF, Celtics ($4400)
  • Evan Turner, SG, Celtics ($5300)
  • Klay Thompson, SG, Warriors ($8100)
  • Draymond Green, SF, Warriors ($7800)

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Wizards @ Nuggets

Game Analysis

Washington has won 4 of 7 with 4 unders based off their stout defense. The Nuggets have lost five straight and their lack of defense is the culprit. I think the line and total on this one look just about right. If anything I would think the Wizards might win by a few more and the total may come in under, but since the Wiz are on the tail end of back to back and the Nuggets are normally tough in Denver I can see why the numbers are where they are. The only real concern for me with injuries here is Jusuf Nurkic who was limited in the second half the other day opening the door for a big game from JJ Hickson. Ty Lawson fresh out of jail off his DUI the other night is back for the Nuggets so the short term Jameer Nelson band aid has been ripped off. Do not fall into the trap of using him today as that aberration last game with 35+ DK points was a function of no Lawson. The Pace uptick favors the Wizards here and I would tick down the Nuggets a little based on Lawson being back and the defense on the other side being solid. The Total and spread say this could be a close game that goes back and forth, so definitely useable for fantasy. I would go heavier of Washington over Denver players, but a case can be made for both.

Line: Wizards -3, O/U 204.5

Players to Watch

  • John Wall, PG, Wizards ($9200)
  • Nene Hilario, PF, Wizards ($5400)
  • JJ Hickson, PF, Nuggets ($5400)
  • Wilson Chandler, SF, Nuggets ($5600)

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Rockets @ Lakers

Game Analysis

Houston has won 7 of it’s last 10 and played to the over in all but one of those games. Two of those losses were to Golden State and they have pretty much beat up on everyone else so far. The Lakers have 7 straight losses and played to the under in five of those. They have final scores of 75 84 and 86 over that stretch which highlights how badly they are struggling to score. Houston has a pretty stout defensive squad although they have paced up lately so it has not shown. I would tick down LA players and give a slight bump to the Rockets. I think a blow out is definitely a possibility so you may want to avoid this one all together. I am not a huge fan of this game and think the Lakers are just not talented enough to keep it close. Roll out the Rockets if you like but the high priced guys are not going to have an easy time making value in what will probably be a light work day for them. A few Lakers are interesting but mostly as price plays. I could fade this whole game and not be too overly concerned about people catching me late from behind.

Line: Rockets -9, O/U 207

Players to Watch

  • James Harden, SG, Rockets ($10900)
  • Corey Brewer, SF, Rockets ($4000)
  • Wes Johnson, SF, Lakers ($4400)
  • Jordan Hill, C, Lakers ($5600)