We only have three games on the NBA schedule Thursday, but there are still a couple of exciting matchups. One of them will pit the Clippers against the Warriors in a battle between two teams who look very different compared to last season. That game also provides us with the ability to participate in the Showdown contest, 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 won each of the last five games between the Clippers and Warriors.
— Kawhi Leonard has scored 29-plus points in nine of his last 10 road games.
— Stephen Curry has scored 33-plus points in each of the last five games against Western Conference opponents.
— Patrick Beverley has recorded 10-plus rebounds in each of the last four games for the Clippers.
— D’Angelo Russell has recorded seven or more assists in 16 of his last 17 appearances vs. Western Conference opponents.
Stats provided by DraftKings Sportsbook
The Warriors have been the prohibitive favorites to win the NBA title the last few seasons, but they enter this year with very different expectations. Not only has Kevin Durant departed for the Nets, but Klay Thompson (knee) could also miss the entire season. That will put the bulk of the scoring responsibilities onto the shoulders of Stephen Curry ($11,000), who is the most expensive player for either team in this contest. He’s recorded a usage rate of at least 30 percent in four straights seasons, a streak he should extend with ease based on this squad.
Following Curry, the two most fantasy-friendly options on the Warriors are D’Angelo Russell ($9,200) and Draymond Green ($8,400). Russell is expected to fill Thompson’s role, providing scoring and 3-point shooting. He excelled in both areas during his breakout performance with the Nets last season, averaging 21.1 points and 2.9 three-pointers per game. Green has taken a back seat to the trio of Curry, Thompson and Durant the last couple of seasons, but he’s now set to shine with a more prominent role. With his ability to contribute in multiple categories, he’s extremely appealing at this price.
After those three, the rest of the Warriors all come with some risk. Kevon Looney ($7,000) may be the safest of this bunch, especially with playing time secure with Willie Cauley-Stein (foot) out. There is a huge drop off in price after Looney with the next most expensive Warrior being Alec Burks ($3,200). That illustrates their lack of depth. Burks could be in for a lead scoring role with their second unit, making him an intriguing option. Another cheap player to consider is Glenn Robinson III ($3,000), who is set to start at small forward out of the gate. After those two, Marquese Chriss ($2,200) could be considered as a dart throw in tournament play if you really want to load up on high-priced players.
One of the biggest moves made by any team during the summer was the Clippers signing Kawhi Leonard ($10,200). After winning a title with the Raptors, he’ll look to lead this deep roster to a championship of their own. He provided 30 points, six rebounds, five assists, two steals and a block during their opening night win over the Lakers and will once again carry a high floor into this contest.
Even with Paul George (shoulders) out, the Clippers are not lacking talent. While neither player starts, Lou Williams ($7,800) and Montrezl Harrell ($7,400) are their next most fantasy-friendly options behind Leonard. Williams is instant offense off the bench, having recorded a usage rate of at least 29.1 percent in each of the last three seasons. Harrell might not start at center, but he plays the bulk of the minutes upfront. He carried over his success from last season, scoring 17 points to go along with seven rebounds, four assists, one steal and one block against the Lakers.
Patrick Beverley ($6,200) is an interesting option. With so many excellent offensive players around him, he likely won’t receive a ton of opportunities to score. However, he showed in the opener that he doesn’t have to score a lot to provide value by chipping in 10 rebounds, six assists and a block. While 10 boards will obviously be difficult for him to duplicate, he did average five rebounds and 3.8 assists per game last season. Following him on the price scale is the duo of JaMychal Green ($5,600) and Moe Harkless ($5,000), who will battle for playing time at power forward with George out. Since neither has a secure role, it’s difficult to have much faith in either option at their respective prices. Landry Shamet ($4,400) is technically a starter, but he likely won’t play starters minutes and should have a limited role within their offense. Patrick Patterson ($2,600) actually started in the opener, but he scored just four points to go along with three rebounds in 17 minutes.
Look for the Clippers to emerge victorious here due to their significant advantage in overall depth. In terms of options for the Captain’s Pick, Curry ($16,500 CP) has arguably the highest upside. However, deploying him there will put a significant dent into your budget. A more cost-effective target might be Green ($12,600 CP), who has the ability to rack up points, rebounds and assists could make him extremely valuable.
Final Score: Clippers 116, Warriors 110
Favorite Prop Bet
Landry Shamet, 9.5 Points: Under (-134)
As mentioned earlier, Shamet doesn’t have that big of a role despite being a starter. He attempted just eight shots in the opener and finished with eight points. He only shot 43.1 percent from the field during his rookie campaign, including 41.4 percent after he joined the Clippers. With so much talent around him, expect him to score in single digits more often than not, making the under very appealing for this matchup.
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