Easy Breezy: Chalk Stack
The Denver Nuggets have been slowing the pace down in their games this season, ranking 27th in the NBA in pace through 25 games. They’ll see a massive uptick in pace against the Atlanta Hawks tonight, as Atlanta leads the NBA by a wide margin in pace this season. Denver has found plenty of offensive success this season, ranking seventh in the league in offensive rating in 2018. While speeding up the pace, Atlanta has struggled with their defense, ranking only 23rd in the NBA in defensive rating. The Nuggets are -5.5 point favorites in a game set at 223.5 points, giving them an implied total of 114.5 points.
Denver is dealing with multiple injuries, which opens up value on their team. Nikola Jokic owns a team-high 24.8% usage rating, and he has been enjoying a great season, including over the last 10 days. Over that span, he’s averaging 16.0 points, 8.6 rebounds, 9.8 assists, and 1.2 steals (46.2 DK points) in 31.4 minutes per game. He also needed only 25.2 minutes to score 43.25 DK points against Atlanta earlier this season. Jokic could see increased usage with Paul Millsap and Gary Harris injured, as well. Trey Lyles has quietly posted a 24.5% usage rating, although he has seen limited minutes. On the season, he’s averaging 10.1 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 1.5 assists (19.3 DK points) in only 19.5 minutes per game. He’s expected to see an increase in minutes tonight, as he could play minutes in the mid- to high-20s. Lyles is still extremely cheap, and he’s nearly a lock to hit value at his current price tag tonight. Mason Plumlee is another big man that will benefit from the injury to Millsap. Similarly to Lyles, he has seen limited minutes this season, but he has looked outstanding in them. Through 25 games, he’s averaging 6.9 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.0 block, and 1.1 steals (20.2 DK points) in 17.2 minutes per game. He’s expected to see minutes in the mid-20s tonight, and he makes another outstanding cheap option for this team. I’ll limit my stack to three, but Juan Hernangomez, Malik Beasley, and Jamal Murray can all be considered for Denver tonight, as well.
Important Odds: Vegas Stack
Los Angeles Clippers
The Los Angeles Clippers and Miami Heat have been pushing the pace throughout the 2018 season, ranking ninth and 10th in the NBA in pace, respectively. Los Angeles also ranks fifth in the league in offensive rating, while Miami ranks ninth in defensive rating. With that being said, the Clippers are -9 point favorites in a game set at 219.5 points. They feature one of the highest implied totals on the slate at 114.3 points tonight.
Lou Williams has been the leader of the Los Angeles offense for the majority of the season, posting a team-high 31.6% usage rating. He has seen inconsistent minutes for the majority of the season, as well, but he’s averaging 16.6 points, 2.4 rebounds, and 5.2 assists (27.2 DK points) in 23.2 minutes per game over the last 10 days. Over that span, he has scored 30+ DK points in three of those five games, but his inconsistencies have kept his price tag low. Williams isn’t a cash game option, but he comes with tremendous upside. Tobias Harris is another high upside option, who has struggled a bit recently. Similarly to Williams, those struggles have kept his price tag low. Over his last five games, he’s averaging 19.0 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 2.6 assists (34.3 DK points) in 34.2 minutes per game. With that being said, he has scored 39+ DK points in six of his last 10 games, including a 53.75 DK point performance against the Portland Blazers. Montrezl Harrell’s price tag dropped $1.1K from two games ago after scoring 19.75 and 13.25 DK points in his last two games. He had scored 35+ DK points in seven consecutive games before that a 55.25 DK point performance against the Atlanta Hawks. This stack comes with tremendous upside, but it also comes with terrible risk. It should strictly be used in tournaments.
Wildcard GPP: Low Owned Stack
New York Knicks
The New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets have both been playing at a below average pace this season. These two teams rank 17th and 24th in pace, respectively. New York has also struggled offensively, ranking only 22nd in the NBA in offensive rating through 26 games. Brooklyn has also struggled defensively, though, ranking 20th in the league in defensive rating in 2018. The Knicks are -2 point favorites in a game set at 220 points, and they own an implied total of 111 points.
The Knicks are a team that is impossible to trust, which makes them great for tournaments. Trey Burke will be out again tonight, leaving Emmanuel Mudiay to play the majority of the point guard minutes tonight. He has played 30+ minutes in each of his last three games, averaging 20.3 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 5.7 assists (34.7 DK points) in 35.3 minutes per game over that span. He’s also averaging 0.94 DK points per minute on the season, and could easily exceed value again if he plays 30+ minutes. Tim Hardaway Jr. has been the focal point of New York’s offense this season, leading the team with a 28.1% usage rating. He has cooled off recently, but has flashed 40+ DK point upside on any given night, especially against a weak Brooklyn defense. In two matchups this season, Hardaway Jr. is averaging 27.0 points, 3.5 rebounds, 4.0 assists, and 2.0 steals (41.9 DK points) in 35.4 minutes per game. Enes Kanter is another player that has dominated Brooklyn this season. In two games, Kanter is averaging 22.0 points, 12.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists, and 1.0 steal (42.6 DK points) in 30.5 minutes per game. He has played fewer than 30 minutes in each of his last four games, but New York could utilize Kanter a bit more in this matchup. The Knicks are one of the riskiest teams to stack in the NBA because of their lack of a consistent rotation, but that also makes them an elite tournament stack because of their upside and low ownership.
Hidden Gem: Value Guard
Burks continues to play at a high level, specifically with his new team. In five games with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Burks is averaging 14.4 points, 5.6 rebounds, 3.0 assists, and 1.0 steal (27.8 DK points) in 27.6 minutes per game. Burks was also able to score 46.75 DK points in 38 minutes in his last game, as he was forced into those minutes after Cleveland traded George Hill.
Burks is tentatively expected to play 30+ minutes minutes with Hill in Milwaukee again tonight. His price tag is sitting at only $3.9K on DraftKings, and there’s no reason to avoid him. He’ll also get a pace up matchup against the Washington Wizards, and Burks needs to be inserted into all leagues on this slate.
Hidden Gem: Value Big
I have outlined Plumlee above, so I won’t go into too much detail here. He’s averaging a healthy 1.17 DK points per minute through 25 games. He has also scored 20+ DK points in seven of his last eight games, including a 44.25 DK point performance against the Orlando Magic in only 21 minutes. There is a plethora of value on this slate, and Plumlee is one of the best for a $4.1K price tag.
Follow Justin Bales on Twitter (@BalesSJustin)