Easy Breezy: Chalk Stack
The Detroit Pistons have been slowing the pace down this season, ranking 21st in the NBA in pace through 44 games. They get an elite matchup against the Sacramento Kings, who rank second in the league in pace this season. Detroit has struggled offensively, ranking only 23rd in the NBA in offensive rating, while Sacramento ranks only 19th in the league in defensive rating. The Pistons are currently +2 point underdogs in a game set at 222 points, and they own an implied total of 110 points.
This is only going to be a two man stack, but these players will be two of the chalkier options on the slate. Andre Drummond has been ruled out with a concussion, which will likely thrust Zaza Pachulia into big minutes. He has performed well in limited minutes this season, and he’s averaging 11.6 points, 12.0 rebounds, 4.1 assists, and 1.9 steals on a per-36 minute basis. He has played 20+ minutes in two of his last three games, scoring 20.25 and 29.5 DK points in those games. He’s expected to see minutes in the mid- to high-20s once again tonight, and he gets a matchup against one of the worst defenses in the NBA against centers. Pachulia could be the highest owned player on the slate, and he shouldn’t be avoided in any formats tonight. Blake Griffin will also likely feature some ownership with Drummond injured. He has been extremely inconsistent this season, but he’s averaging 28.2 points, 5.4 rebounds, 5.8 assists, and 1.2 steals (47.5 DK points) in 38.1 minutes per game over the last 10 days. Furthermore, Griffin has scored 61.75 and 70 DK points in two of his last four games. Griffin is an athletic big, who should find plenty of success in this type of matchup. Pachulia’s low price tag makes Griffin’s a bit more manageable tonight.
Important Odds: Vegas Stack
The Houston Rockets have featured one of the slowest paces in the NBA this season, ranking only 28th in pace thus far. They’ll see a massive uptick in pace tonight, as they face off against the Los Angeles Lakers, who rank third in the league in pace this season. While Houston is a slow paced team, they rank second in the NBA in offensive rating. With that being said, Los Angeles currently ranks sixth in the league in defensive rating. Still, the Rockets are -7.5 point favorites in a game set at 227.5 points, giving them an implied total of 117.5 points.
It’s somewhat difficult to stack Houston at the moment, as James Harden is nearly their entire offense. He has been playing at an elite level for quite some time, and he’s averaging 47.6 points, 9.8 rebounds, 7.6 assists, 1.0 block, and 2.2 steals (79.5 DK points) in 38.3 minutes per game over the last 10 days. He has scored 70+ DK points in eight of his last 10 games, including three games with 85+ DK points. He’s a triple double threat, who is taking an elite number of shots on a nightly basis. In two matchups against the Lakers, Harden is averaging 72.1 DK points per game, as well. He isn’t going to come cheap, but he should be used in all leagues tonight. P.J. Tucker is an inconsistent option, but he’s a relatively cheap source of minutes. Over the last 10 days, he’s averaging 10.2 points, 6.4 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 1.6 steals (27.1 DK points) in 36.1 minutes per game. He’s coming off of a 42.5 DK point performance against the Brooklyn Nets, and Tucker is another player that will benefit from the pace in this game. With that being said, he has struggled against Los Angeles this season, averaging only 17.9 DK points in 36.3 minutes per game against them. Gerald Green is seemingly another cheap source of minutes. He has played 41 and 30 minutes in his last two games, scoring 29.25 and 29.5 DK points in those contests. He’s taking plenty of shots, and Green is expected to see 30+ minutes again tonight. He has found success against the Lakers in limited minutes this season, as he’s averaging 13.4 DK points in only 17.1 minutes per game. Harden is the only consistent option in this stack, but Tucker and Green are cheap sources of potential upside tonight.
Wildcard GPP: Low Owned Stack
The Boston Celtics are another team that is a pace up spot tonight. Through 45 games, they rank only 18th in the NBA in pace. They get a matchup against the Atlanta Hawks, though, who lead the league in pace this season. Boston also ranks 10th in the NBA in offensive rating, while Atlanta only ranks 23rd in the league in defensive rating. The Celtics are -7 point favorites in a game set at 227 points, and they feature an implied total of 117 points tonight.
Kyrie Irving is going to feature quite a bit of ownership tonight, but we simply can’t avoid him in this stack. He has been playing at an extremely high level recently, averaging 28.0 points, 5.5 rebounds, 10.0 assists, 1.0 block, and 1.0 steal (54.1 DK points) in 35.5 minutes per game over his lsat four games. Irving has also scored 60+ DK points in each of his last two games. Irving has seen limited minutes against Atlanta this season, but he’s averaging 1.65 DK points per minute against them. Marcus Smart is another solid option at guard tonight. He has been playing well, averaging 11.0 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.4 assists, and 1.4 steals (23.4 DK points) in 29.5 minutes per game over the last 10 days. Smart is coming off of a 42 DK point performance, and he has scored 20+ DK points in six of his last eight games, including three games with 30+ DK points. He’s averaging 21.0 DK points per game against Atlanta this season, but he’s also averaging only 25.2 minutes per game against them. Smart and Irving are likely to see 30+ minutes tonight if this game doesn’t get out of hand. Al Horford is another high upside option, who tends to go a bit overlooked each night. His numbers are down over his last 10 games, as he’s only averaging 11.3 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 3.5 assists (25.8 DK points) in only 26.0 minutes per game. He has recently been cleared to play 30+ minutes per game, and he has done so in three of his last four games. In those three games, Horford has scored 24.25, 38.75, and 40.25 DK points. He’s another player that is expected to play 30+ minutes tonight, and he comes with quiet upside in a great matchup.
Hidden Gem: Value Guard
I have outlined Smart above, so I won’t go into too much detail here. He has been an extremely consistent option, scoring 20+ DK points in six of his last eight games, while also flashing 40+ DK point upside over that span. He gets an elite matchup against the Atlanta Hawks, who lead the NBA in pace and feature one of the worst defensive backcourts in the NBA. Smart likely won’t feature a ton of ownership, but he has been playing well enough to be considered in all leagues for his price tag.
Hidden Gem: Value Big
I have outlined Pachulia above, so I won’t go into too much detail here. He has played limited minutes for the majority of the season, but he is averaging 1.05 DK points per minute. He’s expected to find minutes in the mid- to high-20s tonight, as well. Pachulia also gets an elite matchup against the Sacramento Kings, who rank 25th in the NBA against centers. Pachulia will be one of the highest owned players on this slate, and there’s no reason to avoid him tonight.
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