Portland Trail Blazers v New Orleans Pelicans

There are only two games in the NBA on Thursday, so it’s going to be a fairly quiet night. One of the two matchups has the Suns hosting the Pelicans in a bout between two teams dealing with plenty of injuries. This game also brings another opportunity to play Showdown, so let’s discuss how things might play out for both squads.

Note: All salaries will be Flex prices unless noted as Captain’s Pick prices.


FIVE BETTING TRENDS

— The road team has covered the spread in nine of the past 12 games between the Pelicans and Suns.

— Six of the Pelicans’ past seven games have gone UNDER the total points line.

— Brandon Ingram has scored 25+ points in seven of his past eight night games.

J.J. Redick has scored 18+ points in each of his past five games.

— Frank Kaminsky has scored 15+ points in each of his past five appearances against the Pelicans.

Stats provided by DraftKings Sportsbook


SHOWDOWN STRATEGY

Suns

The most expensive player for either team is Devin Booker ($10,200). He’s off to another excellent start, averaging 25.4 points, 3.2 rebounds, 5.9 assists and 2.5 3-pointers a game. He already has the ball in his hands a lot, but the Suns likely will rely on him even more in this game with Ricky Rubio (back) listed as doubtful.

Rubio likely being out has significant ramifications on the Suns. He struggled in their most recent game against the Kings and didn’t even play in the second half, which meant the team needed to get more production from Kelly Oubre Jr. ($8,000). He didn’t disappoint, scoring 20 points to go along with five steals on his way to 43 DKFP. Both of these teams are ranked inside the top nine in the league in pace of play, so Oubre should have plenty of opportunities to pad his stat line.

After Booker and Oubre, it’s a significant drop off to the next tier of players on the Suns. Dario Saric ($5,800) is listed as probable with a knee injury after playing just 21 minutes against the Kings on Tuesday. While he laid an egg in that matchup, he had scored at least 30 DKFP in three straight games and could benefit from the up-tempo pace of this game with his ability to shoot from behind the arc. Frank Kaminsky ($5,200) also is listed as probable, so expect him to start again in place of Aron Baynes (hip), who will be missing his second straight game. Kaminsky has proven to be productive when given extended playing time, averaging 13.1 points, 6.8 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.4 3-pointers across nine games in which he has logged at least 20 minutes.

Among the cheap options on the Suns, Mikal Bridges ($3,800) might be the most intriguing. He generally hasn’t played much, but he logged 26 minutes Tuesday and scored 30.8 DKFP. With Rubio out, he once again could be in line for added playing time. Cameron Joran ($4,400) is also appealing with Baynes out after scoring 32 DKFP across 26 minutes Tuesday. Outside of those two, Tyler Johnson ($3,200), Jevon Carter ($1,600) and Elie Okobo ($2,200) should be considered as nothing more than dart throws.


Pelicans

The Pelicans should be led by the two-headed monster that is Jrue Holiday ($9,400) and Brandon Ingram ($8,400). If forced to choose between the two, I’d lean towards Ingram. Not only do you save $1,000, but the Pelicans are going to be thin up front with Derrick Favors (back) out. Add in the Suns likely having to deploy small lineups without Baynes, and Ingram carries an extremely high floor.

The next most expensive healthy Pelican is Kenrich Williams ($6,800), who just scored 33.8 DKFP against the Trail Blazers on Tuesday. However, he had scored 25.3 DKFP or fewer in three of his previous four games. If you want to load up on some of the high-priced stars, avoiding Williams at this price likely will be key. J.J. Redick ($6,400) has started each of his past five games with Josh Hart (knee) ailing. Lonzo Ball ($6,000) has missed six straight with a hip injury and is questionable for Thursday, so if he doesn’t play, Redick should see plenty of playing time once again.

Another player to monitor is Jahlil Okafor ($3,600), who is questionable with an ankle injury. With both he and Favors out the past two games, Jaxson Hayes ($6,200) has started and scored 31 and 27.8 DKFP. Nicolo Melli ($5,000) also has been forced to play more and scored at least 28.8 DKFP in both contests. At their reasonable prices, both players are worth considering. Outside of those two, it’s difficult to get excited about any of the other cheaper options on the team.


THE OUTCOME

Although both teams will be shorthanded, I’ll give the Suns the edge here since they are at home. With regards to the Captain’s Pick, Booker ($15,300 CP) and Ingram ($12,600 CP) are both excellent choices with high floors. If Okafor and Ball sit, an interesting idea might be to put Hayes ($9,300 CP) or Melli ($7,500 CP) in that spot. If you do, you can fit Booker, Ingram, Holiday and Oubre all into your entry, as well.

Final Score: Suns 115, Pelicans 111


Favorite Prop Bet

Devin Booker, top points scorer of the game (+120)

This might be a risk worth taking with plus odds. With Rubio out, Booker is going to have the ball in his hands a ton, so he’ll have plenty of opportunities to create a shot for himself. Also, with Ingram back, he and Holiday cut into each other’s scoring upsides. Those are likely the only two players who could even challenge Booker for most points scored in this contest.


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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is mbarner51) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.


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