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
We have another direct buy in qualifier for the FBWC today and it’s of the $1000 buy in variety with 65 entrants. It’s less than half full now, so get in before it is too late. You can win your way into these qualifiers through satellite tournaments for as little as $2 through out the week, so give them a try and best of luck to those participating.
Raptors @ Pacers
Raptors have won three of their last four and played to the under in six of their last 7 games. The Pacers are one for their last four with three overs during that stretch. The Pacers have seen some of the lower totals nightly though, so those three of four overs are not incredibly impressive. Other then the most recent game, the Raptors have played most of their contests with both teams in the low 90s. The Pacers are also scoring in the low 90’s while giving up over 100 often, so I think a 100 to 95 score seems very plausible here if it reaches close to the total. Both teams play a slower pace and some solid defense so I can see that happening today. Both teams are relatively healthy after welcoming back key pieces. For Toronto Demar DeRozan is back and has put up a few big games since. He had 40 DK points last out and looks to be back in early season form. For the Pacers CJ Miles is still questionable, but welcoming back George Hill was a big boost to them as he came off the bench and put up 33 DK points in his last start. Even on the road I think the Raptors have too much firepower and too much defensive ability to lose today. I would give them the nod but am not really ticking up either team here. The spread says close game and the O/U says slower pace, so I would be hesitant to use too many guys from this one. It should be close to the end so I think all the starters are useable, but would pick and choose my favorite one or two here at most.
Line: Raptors -3, O/U 195.5
Players to Watch
- Jonas Valaciunas, C, Raptors ($5900)
- Demar DeRozan, SG, Raptors ($6500)
- George Hill, PG, Pacers ($5600)
- David West, PF, Pacers ($6200)
Cavaliers @ Pistons
Don’t look now, but the Cavs are starting to put it all together. Six straight wins and four of them played to the over. The two unders were still over 200 total points, so I expect some scoring here today. The Pistons have cooled off winning only one of their last four, but they are routinely seeing totals over 200, so they are not exactly struggling to score. Losing Brandon Jennings is going to be a big blow to this team, but DJ Augustin is a very capable PG who has produced well in a relief role before and I have no doubt he can do so again. We do not get the same discount today on him we had last time out, but he does get Kyrie defense which has been known to help a few other PGs so far this season. The problem for Detroit is Augustin will struggle to guard Kyrie on the other end as most PGs also have done this year. The Pistons advantage is on the interior, so they need big games from Drummond and Monroe today to stand a chance. I don’t care who Detroit rolls out on wing defense today as their roster is lacking when it comes to a way to slow down Lebron James. This game has the second highest Spread and since it is in the Palace I would expect the hometown Pistons to fight to the end. Therefore I think you can roll out any starters on both sides of this one as points are very likely to come from here. Both teams have been playing fast so I do not really tick either up or down and would expect normal production from both sides.
Line: Cavs -7.5. O/U 205
Players to Watch
- Lebron James, SF, Cavs ($10700)
- JR Smith, SG, Cavs ($5000)
- Greg Monroe, C, Pistons ($8500)
- DJ Augustin, PG, Pistons ($5800)
Bucks @ Heat
This should be a battle of two good defensive teams who like to play slow. Milwaukee has been under in 8 of the last 10, while the heat have played under in 10 straight. All of those games had totals higher than today. I do not expect either team in this game to get to 100 and I think possessions will be lower than usually as well. I will be steering clear of this game for fantasy today and if you want to roll out anyone, make sure they score in ways that do not rely on putting the ball in the basket. Defensive stats and rebounds are a must for any of the players you wish to roll out in what should be the lowest scoring game on the day. I will be steering clear completely, but I do see a few interesting plays.
Line: Heat -3.5, O/U 182.5
Players to Watch
- Hassan Whiteside, C, Heat ($5800)
- Dwayne Wade, SG, Heat ($8100)
- OJ Mayo, SG, Bucks ($4300)
- Kris Middleton, SF, Bucks ($4900)
Grizzlies @ Mavericks
These two teams played a week ago and Dallas hung an 8 point victory on the Grizzlies in Memphis which is something that is very tough to do. My concern today is with the injuries to a key piece on each side. The way to get to Memphis is usually through your shooting guard which makes the red hot Monta Ellis in play. Mike Conley left the last game with a hand injury and is doubtful today so that also puts Rondo in play for me. Zach Randolph has also been on fire and Dirk’s defense has been nothing special so far. That puts him in play and probably his partner Marc Gasol too since Tyson Chandler’s back is acting up and he may sit as well. Add in that without Conley, the Griz tend to use Gasol’s passing and run the offense through their big man and that makes him a viable option as well. The Grizzlies have played a little faster this season and are giving up a few more points, so the Vegas numbers are inviting here as well. I think this one could even play towards the over, so definitely a useable spot for fantasy purposes.
Line: Mavs -4.5, O/U 201
Players to Watch
- Monta Ellis, SG, Mavs ($7100)
- Rajon Rondo, PG, Mavs ($7100)
- Zach Randolph, PF, Grizzlies ($8100)
- Marc Gasol, C, Grizzlies ($8400)
Bulls @ Warriors
Chicago has only won 2 of their last 4 and played to the under in all four of them. Golden State has five straight wins all with O/U above 213 and four of five times they still outscored the totals. I think this one stays a little closer today as the Warriors tend to give up a lot of points and the Bulls play best when they are in higher scoring games. I Know that seems counter to your thought process about Chicago, but they have lost the games recently where they were kept under 100 and won the higher scoring ones against teams like the Mavericks. I’m not sure why that is the case, but I deal in trends not absolutes, so I wanted to point it out. I think this one is going to see a very hot pace and a ton of points, so roll guys out on either side. If you think it stays under ten points in the 4th quarter and let’s the starters get full run than it is a great place to target with the highest O/U on the day. You have some of the best individual defenders at their positions playing in this one, so steer clear of bad match ups and you should be fine. Butler, Draymond, Bogut, and Noah are all known around the league as some of the toughest guys to score on, so tick down the guys they probably guard.
Line: Warriors -10, O/U 210
Players to Watch
- Stephen Curry, PG, Warriors ($10000)
- Draymond Green, SF, Warriors ($7500)
- Pau Gasol, PF, Bulls ($9200)
- Derrick Rose, PG, Bulls ($7200)
Wizards @ Lakers
The Lakers have lost 8 straight and played to the under in 7 of those. They are no longer the high paced high scoring team from early in the season and are struggling to put points on the board. Luckily they are also playing slower so the opponents scoring is down as well. Neither thing is good for fantasy purposes for them. Washington has played pretty well recently as they are averaging about 106 points over the last 5 games with alternating wins and losses. They get a cupcake team today and should have no problem winning this one here. I do not think the Wizards are super high powered so while I expect them to control this game throughout, I doubt it reaches the level of a 20/30 point blowout where the Wizards starters are rested for the whole game. I do not love it for fantasy, but on a six game slate every game needs to be considered here and there.
Line: Wiz -8, O/U 197.5
Players to Watch
- John Wall, PG, Wizards ($9200)
- Paul Pierce, SF, Wizards ($4700)
- Wayne Ellington, SG, Lakers ($3900)
- Carlos Boozer, PF, Lakers ($5000)