Chris Paul

Thursday’s featured Showdown contest is a good one between the Thunder and Rockets. These teams made a big trade with each other that altered both franchises during summer and are both currently on pace to make the playoffs. Let’s discuss how things might play out on both sides and who might be the best players to target.

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

THURSDAY NIGHT SHOWDOWN SPOTLIGHT

Set your lineups here: NBA Showdown $150K Russ-venge Special [$50K to 1st]


FIVE BETTING TRENDS

— The Rockets have won five of their last six games against Northwest Division opponents.

— The favorites have covered the spread in four of the Rockets’ last five games.

— Seven of the Thunder’s last eight home games following an overtime win have gone UNDER the total points line.

— Steven Adams has scored 15-plus points in four of the Thunder’s last five home games against the Rockets.

— Russell Westbrook has scored 28-plus points in each of his last four appearances in road games.

Stats provided by DraftKings Sportsbook


SHOWDOWN STRATEGY

Rockets

The Rockets just played Wednesday night, so they might have some tired legs heading into this game. James Harden ($14,600) was certainly busy in that contest against the Hawks, posting 41 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists across 40 minutes. He’s now scored at least 40 points in three of his last four games and has back-to-back triple-doubles. While pricey, he has the highest upside of anyone in this game.

One player on the Rockets who should have fresh legs is Russell Westbrook ($10,400), who sat out Wednesday for rest. This is the first game that he will play in Oklahoma City since being traded to the Rockets, so expect there to be plenty of emotion surrounding his return. With his average of 48 DKFP per game for the season, he’s a great option at a much more reasonable price than Harden.

The next big name on the Rockets is Clint Capela ($9,400), who has recorded at least 58.5 DKFP in back-to-back contests. He did log 36 minutes Wednesday, so it will be interesting to see how much he plays in this game. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see him play his normal allotment of minutes, though, considering the Rockets had four days off prior to Wednesday.

After the top three players on the Rockets, it’s a steep decline to everyone else. Danuel House Jr. ($6,200), Eric Gordon ($5,400) and P.J. Tucker ($5,000) are the next most expensive options, but a case can be made for passing on all of them. House has scored 16 DKFP or fewer in three straight games, so he looks like the obvious player to pass on. Gordon is heavily reliant on his contributions in the scoring column to provide value, which could be a problem since the Thunder have played at the eighth-slowest pace in the league. If you want to take a chance on a member of this trio, Tucker is probably the best option. He’s the cheapest and has a high minutes floor, although he’s barely a factor on the offensive end.

Everyone else on the Rockets should be considered as nothing more than dart throws in tournament play. With Harden, Westbrook and Gordon all healthy, Austin Rivers ($4,000) and Ben McLemore ($2,400) are left with limited roles off the bench. Isaiah Hartenstein ($2,600) has emerged as the new primary backup to Capela, but with the heavy amount of playing time that Capela usually gets, Hartenstein doesn’t receive many opportunities to provide value.


Thunder

The Thunder are a very top-heavy team that doesn’t have much quality depth beyond their starting five. Therefore, the absence of Danilo Gallinari (calf) for this game will be significant. Chris Paul ($9,200) scored 44.5 DKFP with Gallinari out Tuesday against the Nets and could be poised to once again taken on an increased role offensively. The same can be said for Shai Gilgeous-Alexander ($9,000), who has scored at least 31.8 DKFP in 10 of his last 11 games.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Gallinari has been upgraded to questionable for tonight’s game.

Capela is no easy foe, so Steven Adams ($8,400) will have his hands full. The Thunder will also need him to log added minutes with Nerlens Noel (ankle) set to miss his third straight game. Adams logged at least 35 minutes in both of the last two games with him sidelined, scoring 49.3 and 41.5 DKFP, respectively. Following Adams on the price scale is Dennis Schroder ($7,000), who could also see increased scoring opportunities with Gallinari out. Although he doesn’t provide much in terms of defensive stats, Schroder can contribute enough in points, rebounds and assists to provide value at this price. Consider that he’s averaging 30.1 DKFP per game this season and is only $800 more expensive than House, who is averaging 21.4 DKFP a night.

Everyone else on the Thunder is risky. Mike Muscala ($4,800) is the new primary backup for Adams with Noel out, but he’s only scored a total of 25.8 DKFP across the last two games. At this price, it might be best to keep him out of your entry. Terrance Ferguson ($3,800) starts and is averaging 27 minutes a game, but his 9.3% usage rate is a real drag. Darius Bazley ($3,400) has normally started when Gallinari has been out in the past and he did score 16 DKFP on Tuesday, so he’s at least someone to consider. If you really want to go cheap, Hamidou Diallo ($2,200) could be a target. He’s shown flashes of promise when given expanded playing time and has scored at least 11.5 DKFP in two of his last three games.


THE OUTCOME

This is a tough one for the Rockets having just played Wednesday. I expect this game to be close, but give the Thunder the edge at home. In terms of the Captain’s Pick, rolling with Harden ($21,900 CP) really hampers your budget, so avoiding him might be best. With Gallinari out, Paul ($13,800 CP) could turn out to be one of the better options at this spot.

Final Score: Thunder 114, Rockets 111

Set your lineups here: NBA Showdown $150K Russ-venge Special [$50K to 1st]


Favorite Prop Bet

Danuel House Jr., 9.5 Points: Under (-110)

House has scored eight points or fewer in four of his last five games, including scoring just four points Wednesday despite playing 37 minutes and Westbrook being out. He should see even fewer scoring opportunities with Harden, Westbrook and Gordon all healthy, making the under a very appealing option.

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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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