Easy Breezy: Chalk Stack
The Phoenix Suns have been pushing the pace this season, as they rank 11th in the NBA in pace thus far. They get a plus matchup against the New Orleans Pelicans, who currently rank fourth in the league in pace. Phoenix has struggled offensively, ranking 27th in the NBA in offensive rating, but New Orleans ranks 23rd in the league in defensive rating. The Suns are +2.5 point underdogs in a game set at 232.5 points, but they still feature an implied total of 115 points.
Deandre Ayton’s numbers are less than elite recently, but simply because of two bad games. He’s averaging 13.6 points, 9.2 rebounds, and 1.0 assists (28.4 DK points) in 31.2 minutes per game over the last 10 days. While that doesn’t look elite, he has scored 30+ DK points in eight of his last 10 games, including a pair of games with 44.5 and 50 DK points. He owns games of 19.25 and 17 DK points over his last five contests, but those seem to be more of outliers than the expected. Ayton is averaging 35.8 DK points in only 29.3 minutes per game against New Orleans, and he should be able to find similar success against their bigs tonight. Devin Booker is another high-end player, who is too cheap tonight. He’s averaging 31.4 points, 4.8 rebounds, 6.6 assists, and 1.2 steals (49.7 DK points) in 35.3 minutes per game over the last 10 days. He has scored 40+ DK points in seven of his last 10 games, including games with 67.5 and 59.75 DK points. Booker owns a floor around 35 DK points, while his ceiling is significantly higher. He’s entirely too cheap for his current form, making him an easy play in cash games tonight. Josh Jackson hasn’t necessarily been an elite option recently, but he makes a strong option in this stack. He’s averaging 8.0 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 1.4 assists (17.6 DK points) in 23.3 minutes per game over the last 10 days. He also comes with an extremely low price tag, making this stack a bit more affordable on this slate. Jackson has also scored 20+ DK points in two of his last three games, and he’s expected to find minutes in the mid-20s once again tonight. He’s an athletic forward, who will benefit from the pace of this game, and his real role is as a salary relief option in this three man stack.
Important Odds: Vegas Stack
New Orleans Pelicans
I have outlined this game above, and it’ll be one of the fastest paced games on the entire slate. The New Orleans Pelicans have also found plenty of offensive success this season, ranking eighth in the NBA in offensive rating through 71 games. On the other hand, the Phoenix Suns rank 29th in the league in defensive rating. The Pelicans are -2.5 point favorites in a game set at 232.5 points, giving them the highest implied total on the slate at 117.5 points.
Elfrid Payton has taken over the offense with Jrue Holiday injured, and Holiday is expected to miss this game, as well. In three games without Holiday, Payton is averaging 14.3 points, 12.3 rebounds, 12.3 assists, and 1.0 steal (55.9 DK points) in 35.5 minutes per game. Payton was able to triple-double in each of those games, and he has also scored 50+ DK points in each game. He posted 33.5 DK points in 33.5 minutes in his only matchup against Phoenix this season, and we can expect that total to substantially increase with his new role in the offense. Julius Randle will likely feature plenty of ownership after his game last night, and he makes an outstanding option. He scored 76.75 DK points in that game, taking a ridiculous 34 shots from the field. Overall, he’s averaging 26.4 points, 7.0 rebounds, 4.2 assists, and 1.0 block (44.2 DK points) in 36.0 minutes per game over the last 10 days. Randle isn’t the most consistent option, but he comes with 50+ DK point upside on a nightly basis. He’s also averaging 39.3 DK points in 32.4 minutes per game against the Suns, who have struggled against bigs throughout the 2018 season. Anthony Davis sat out last night for rest, but he’s expected to return to his limited minutes tonight. He’s playing roughly 20-22 minutes per game, which has been enough time for him to exceed value at his current price tag. He has scored 40+ DK points in four of his last five games, and he’s averaging 49.1 DK points per game against Phoenix this season. Davis has been a better option in New Orleans, as well, and his ownership generally stays relatively low with his limited minutes. He adds a bit of upside to an already high-upside stack.
Wildcard GPP: Low Owned Stack
San Antonio Spurs
The San Antonio Spurs love slowing the pace down in their games, ranking only 22nd in the NBA in pace this season. They get a matchup against the Portland Blazers, who rank 18th in the league in pace through 68 games. San Antonio also ranks sixth in the NBA in offensive rating, while Portland ranks 15th in the league in defensive rating. The Spurs are -2 point favorites in a game set at 223.5 points, and they feature an implied total of 112.8 points tonight.
LaMarcus Aldridge has been playing at a high level for the San Antonio Spurs recently, as he’s averaging 26.8 points, 10.5 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.3 blocks, and 1.0 steal (46.3 DK points) in 35.1 minutes per game over the last 10 days. He hasn’t been the most consistent option, but he has flashed 60+ DK point upside only a few games ago. He has struggled against his old team this season, but the revenge narrative is still there. Aldridge is also averaging 6.5 more DK points per game at home this season, where this game will be played tonight. Jakob Poeltl will likely be one of the higher owned Spurs tonight, but he’s still going overlooked at this point in the day. He’s averaging 8.0 points, 8.0 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 2.0 blocks, and 1.3 steals (28.5 DK points) in 27.2 minutes per game over the last 10 days. Poeltl has been an extremely consistent option when given the minutes for his current price tag, but he has also flashed upside recently. Over his last 10 games, he has posted games with 40.25 and 37.5 DK points. He’s also averaging 1.06 DK points per minute against Portland this season, and he’s expected to find minutes in the mid- to high-20s tonight. DeMar DeRozan is another player, who is a bit too cheap for his upside. He comes with extremely limited consistency, but he has scored 53.5, 47.5, and 48.5 DK points in three of his last five games. He has also posted games with 49.75 and 53.25 DK points in his four games prior to that. DeRozan has been the player to find plenty of success against Portland this season, as he’s averaging 51.4 DK points in 35.5 minutes per game against them. The Spurs are a team that is generally seen as defensive, although they have been significantly more offensive this season. That causes them to go overlooked in plus matchups, which could be the case again tonight.
Hidden Gem: Value Guard
Rubio recently returned from injury, playing only 22 minutes in each of those games. He only scored 17.75 DK points in his first game, but totaled 26.25 DK points in his last matchup. Prior to that, his price tag was significantly higher, and he was relatively consistently hitting value. Rubio is also a player that has been slightly better at home this season.
Rubio is tentatively expected to see a bump in his minutes to the high-20s or low-30s. His price tag is entirely too cheap for his production in nearly full minutes. He gets a plus matchup against the Brooklyn Nets, who Rubio surprisingly struggled against earlier this season. He’ll likely feature plenty of ownership tonight, but Rubio makes one of the strongest options on this slate, especially if his minutes are formally announced.
Hidden Gem: Value Big
Ariza is as inconsistent of a forward as their is on this slate, but that has kept his price relatively low. He was able to score 36.5 DK points in his last game after scoring only 5.25 DK points two games ago. Over his last 10 games, Ariza has scored between 5 and 51 DK points in every game, flashing his upside, but also his inconsistent play.
He will be locked into major minutes for the Washington Wizards, meaning he should see 30+ minutes tonight. He gets a plus matchup against the Memphis Grizzlies, who rank 23rd in the NBA against small forwards. Ariza shouldn’t be used in cash games, but he makes an outstanding tournament option tonight.
Follow Justin Bales on Twitter (@BalesSJustin)
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