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NBA Analysis for Game 1s (Aug 17/18, 2020)

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bathrobeDFS here with your daily analysis.

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Game-By-Game Analysis

UTA “at” DEN  – 8/17 – 130pm

Info

Vegas Total:   215.5 – DEN 110 – UTA 105.5

Injuries – UTA:    Mike Conley – OUT

Injuries – DEN:   Gary Harris – OUT / Will Barton – OUT

Pace – UTA:   24th – 98.6

Pace – DEN:   29th – 97.1

Top 3 Usage (with NBA Rank) – UTA:   Donovan Mitchell (13th) / Rudy Gobert (147th) / Joe Ingles (159th)

Top 3 Usage (with NBA Rank) – DEN:   Nikola Jokic (32nd) / Jamal Murray (45th) / Jerami Grant (126th)

Analysis

  • On the 4 game slate, this is a bad game. On the 8 game slate, this is an awful game. It is 2 of the slowest teams, both of which focus on defense.
  • Even with Harris and Barton OUT, Denver isn’t a walk in the park. Torrey Craig is still an excellent wing defender. Monte Morris isn’t bad either. 
  • Even with how slow and defense-centered this game will be, regardless of how low the score should wind up, due to the injuries and the load management, we have some nicely underpriced people. 
  • I would also point out that the rest and load management is going to throw numbers like DvP off, so I will try to paint a more accurate picture there and try and tell you what I expect, and how it’s different from what we see in the numbers.
  • When it comes to Denver, since the restart, if you look at DvP, they are worse than average against PG, SF, AND PF. However, I think those numbers are a little flukey. When it comes to PG, while Monte Morris isn’t a bad defender, he isn’t as good as Jamal Murray, who just recently came back and will be shouldering a full load here. In terms of PF, we saw them limit Paul Millsap greatly. While that may continue through the playoffs as they try to inject some different looks there (with Porter/Grant), Millsap’s defense is exceptional so, as long as he is going to start, PF is going to be a tough position. As far as SF goes, if you dig into the value numbers that DvP are based on, DEN is worse than average against SFs due to them reducing TOs to the position by a sample-size driven 38%. 
  • In short, PG and PF should be tougher than DvP indicates. Especially if you are just looking at the restart. SF is more up in the air. The wing defense is no doubt worse, tough, as I keep pointing out, Torrey Craig is a fine defender. This does leave another person to defend another wing player, though, and I think we may be able to find some plays there, as that person has proven to not be as potent a defender as the other 4 players on the court.
  • So, looking at Utah when Mike Conley is out – they don’t necessarily replace him with a PG. What they generally do is move Donovan Mitchell over to PG and bring in a defensive specialist, while Mitchell, Joe Ingles, and Rudy Gobert handle the extra load. However, when we look at the available Utah roster, I don’t think that is as viable a strategy here. I mean, if they pass up both Jordan Clarkson and Emmanual Mudiay in order to keep them on the 2nd unit, who are they going to start? Georges Niang? Rayjon Tucker?
  • Pay attention to who they start – If it is Mudiay, I expect him to be the “PG”, with Mitchell playing more of a wing role (although, don’t get me wrong, he will do a lot of ballhandling). If it is Clarkson, expect Clarkson to get 35 minutes, play the wing, and get a ton of shots up (even with Craig trying to cover him some of the time). Regardless, even though Denver is not a team to load up against, Clarkson and Mudiay are both insanely underpriced, no matter what slate you are playing. Expect to have a ton of them, and expect the field to do the same. Because everyone wants to fit in the expensive guys. 
  • The last time the Jazz and the Nuggets matched up, it was 2 games ago and they took it to 2OT. I think looking at these numbers, therefore, is a fool’s errand. Especially since Mike Conley was playing.
  • Regardless, with Conley out, even if Mudiay or Clarkson are starting, we are going to see the same usage bumps to Mitchell, Ingles, and Gobert. Mitchell and Gobert will play 36-40 minutes if they need to and could easily push 50 DKP, again, despite how tough the matchup is. Mitchell, especially, will be switched off to that weaker defender as often as possible, and I expect him to push 22+ shots tonight and do enough ballhandling to rack up some good assist numbers (and some extra TOs). 
  • Gobert has a tougher matchup but he should be 9k no matter what. Getting him at 7700 is fantastic. He is someone you play for the usage bump and the discount, hoping he can hit an upside game. Not someone you play cause the matchup is amazing. 
  • Ingles, like Mitchell, will see a lot of time on the weaker wing defender. He recently started getting hot, which means a 35-40 DKP game isn’t out of the question here. Especially, again, with Conley out. That is not bad at all for 5300/4900. 
  • With Utah unable to bring in a defender to replace Conley, they are going to be weaker than they normally would be. This, again, will create some scoring advantages for Denver. Mainly, I would expect Jamal Murray to be the prime beneficiary, as they constantly switch him off onto one of the weaker defenders Utah is playing. I expect Utah to play their stars close to 40 minutes, so he won’t get much time against backups like Wright-Foreman. But he will still probably wind up with a ton of Clarkson and Mudiay going after him and I’ll take him in that matchup. He, also, has 50 DKP upside here and he is only 6500 because he just got back. His first game back, he played 39 minutes. They managed his minutes since then, but he showed there that he can handle the workload. I expect him to have to do that here, and we can get some great value because of it.
  • No one is going to argue that Rudy Gobert isn’t one of the best defenders in the NBA. But there are a couple things I want to bring up. First, as I always point out, it doesn’t matter how good a defender you are – Jokic can change how he plays. If you are amazing at playing the paint, he will play the perimeter and force you outside. Or he will do more ball handling after the D collapses on him. He is an incredibly versatile player who will be the center of this offense when games take on this importance. He should be 10k. Take the discount if you want. Just know, again, this game isn’t the best. 
  • Second, Utah has been worse than league average against Centers all season. It has actually been one of the sneakiest ways to attack them in DFS. So Jokic does look like a nice pivot today if we see low ownership on him
  • It was nice of Denver to let Michael Porter get so much run during the restart. I expect that to come to an end here. He will get looks as long as he is hot. If not, they will let Jokic and Murray do it. 7100 is just too much for that. Feel free to take the chance in GPP. Just don’t do it in all of your lineups, as if it was 4 games ago.
  • I do like Jerami Grant a whole lot though. He has shown 35-40 DKP upside many times, can play SF if needed, gets a bunch of minutes at Millsap’s expense (and with Harris/Barton out), and, also, not only is he someone they call on for his defense, but he also fills up the stat sheet, both of which give him a great floor and a nice ceiling if things go right. 
  • Anyone else on Denver would be a strict GPP play. Looking at price and expected run, in order, I would go with Plumlee (3300), Craig (3500), Morris (3600)

BK “at” TOR – 8/17 – 4pm

Info

Vegas Total:   222 – TOR 115.75 – BK 106.25

Injuries – BK:    Jamal Crawford – OUT

Injuries – TOR:   Patrick McCaw – OUT

Pace – BK:   9th – 101.4

Pace – TOR:   12th – 100.9

Top 3 Usage (with NBA Rank) – BK:   Caris LeVert (18th) / Joe Harris (123rd) / Garrett Temple (144th)

Top 3 Usage (with NBA Rank) – TOR:   Pascal Siakam (24th) / Serge Ibaka (54th) / Kyle Lowry (68th)

Analysis

  • I think this game may be a massive trap, cause, when all is said and done, BK has no business with Toronto. I know backups beat the Bucks and anything can happen. But the Raptors are going to be playing Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet, and Pascal Siakam up to 40 minutes if needed. They are also going to play Marc Gasol and OG Anunoby extra time. This is going to make stopping them almost as hard as getting past them. While they are not Kawhi’s Raptors, and while I consider myself a Nets fan more than any other team (even though I am not a fan of some of the players), I don’t think Caris LeVert, Jarret Allen, Joe Harris and 3rd stringers are going to be able to keep it close
  • I think ownership is going to be on these guys as if the game is going to be close.
  • That means the best way to get around the field is to assume a blowout and go under the field here.
  • Yes, I will argue all day about “never assume a blowout”. As far as I am concerned, in terms of strategy, that only means “don’t ignore an awesome player because you think the game blows out”. It does not mean “make sure you have very high ownership with the field on games that have a good chance to get out of hand.’ The whole idea of “never assume a blowout” is because, strategically,  you want to go against the field. That means if you can assume a blowout in a perfectly reasonable place, and that will keep you off of some 40% owned players, you will be doing yourself a service by assuming a blowout in that scenario.
  • I hope I explained that well. If I didn’t please message me and I will try to explain it again later on. Basically, game theory is about getting an edge on the field. Do that HOWEVER YOU CAN. Don’t follow a rule if it stops you from getting an edge. 
  • If Fred VanVleet is good enough to handle LeBron James defensively, he can handle Caris LeVert. I like LeVert a lot, don’t get me wrong. But 7600 is a lot for someone that is projected to be one of the most popular plays on the day and will have a hell of a time doing anything.
  • Similarly, Jarrett Allen is going to see a ton of Marc Gasol, who has shut down some of the best Centers in the NBA the last couple weeks. Allen is not in that class. 7k is just far too much for him. Even if he has upside. 
  • If it turns out that they play LeVert and Allen in the 4th quarter against 3rd stringers after this game blows out, I will revise my opinion for Game 2.
  • Joe Harris, on the other hand, is only 4700 and has SG/SF eligibility. He is a great shooter and, even though Toronto has some incredible wing D, Harris doesn’t have to do a lot to crush his value at that price. Especially since, as I noted earlier, he’s one of 3 players who are going to be asked to carry a majority of the load on this team. 
  • If you wanna go to any of the cheaper Nets, I don’t mind taking a pass at Garrett Temple (4400) who will command most of the usage in the 2nd unit. He has shown 30 DKP upside in that role and, even though the Raptors backups are tough, he, like Harris, is cheap enough he could pay it off pretty easily if given the minutes/shots. 
  • I also don’t mind taking a run at Chris Chiozza, whose price has fallen to 3200. He isn’t someone I consider a lock, but he should get the backup PG run here and, since I don’t expect Tyler Johnson to play 30 minutes, that means we can count on him for 20+ minutes, potentially. At 3200, I think that’s a pretty nice chance to take. 
  • On the Raptors side, if you think the game stays close for some reason (or you think they just let the starters play into the 4th regardless), feel free to absolutely load up on some of these Raptors, even though they will be super chalky. LeVert is a good defender, but the rest of this team is a shambles. That means Siakam, Lowry, and FVV doing whatever they want. While this split of usage would normally concern me, these guys are only 7500, 7900, and 6800 respectively (which is also why they are chalky). Like I said, I don’t think this game stays close. Game theory would say to assume they are given limited run, have a capped ceiling, and that the ownership won’t reflect that. 
  • I totally understand if you don’t give a shit about any of that and wanna hammer the living hell out of all 3 in your lineups tomorrow. I can’t argue against them as players or the spot they are in. That would make me an idiot and my job isn’t to tell you false things, it’s to try and paint a fuller picture, so you consider angles you otherwise may not. Even if you don’t believe it’s the wisest angle for you on this particular play, on this particular day.
  • If Marc Gasol gets 25-30 minutes against Jarrett Allen, he may put up 40 DKP. He is 4300.
  • As I noted earlier, I also expect OG Anunoby to get playoff starter minutes here. His price fell to 3500. While he may not get you 40 DKP, at that price, I will take his usual 20-25 DKP given those minutes. 
  • Game Theory would also tell you that chalk ownership for Gasol and Anunoby may also be folly, as the usage should go to the big 3 and both Anunoby and Gasol should be 2 of the first players withdrawn in a blowout. 
  • The rest of the Toronto backups saw price increases due to load management games. So, yeah, maybe deep GPPs if you are playing 150 lineups for any of em. But I don’t think they’re worth a mention, barring some injury news tomorrow.

PHI “at” BOS – 8/17 – 630pm

Info

Vegas Total:   218.5 – BOS 112 – PHI 106.5

Injuries – PHI:    Ben Simmons – OUT / Glenn Robinson – OUT

Injuries – BOS:   Romeo Langford – QUESTIONABLE

Pace – PHI:   19th – 99.0

Pace – BOS:   17th – 99.5

Top 3 Usage (with NBA Rank) – PHI:   Joel Embiid (8th) / Tobias Harris (56th) / Josh Richardson (94th)

Top 3 Usage (with NBA Rank) – BOS:   Jayson Tatum (21st) / Kemba Walker (30th) / Jaylen Brown (48th)

Analysis

  • This is one of my favorite games on the 8 game slate, and one of two games on the 4 game slate on which I definitely wanna come in over the field. Philly and Boston is a fantastic matchup where we see great defense overwhelmed by fantastic plays and some really great fantasy production. This is going to compounded on both sides with the absence of Ben Simmons
  • On the Philly side, we are going to see Joel Embiid get all the run he wants. He could get you 70-80 DKP today. He may be my single favorite play on the 4 game slate. I love me some dudes from DAL/LAC, don’t get me wrong, but I think that Simmons’ absence, and the 10-15 minutes he will see against Enes Kanter, are just too fantastic to ignore. When the games matter, Embiid is the one that gets the ball. Boston doesn’t have a Gasol or Gobert to stop him. While Theis is a solid defender, Embiid should be able to put a hurting on them here. 
  • Again, this is what they save him for. And no Simmons means more rebounds and inside shots for him. All the days off. All the limited minutes. It’s so, in games like this, he can play as many minutes as he can handle. 
  • No Simmons means some extra usage trickles down to Tobias Harris (7800), Al Horford (7200), and Josh Richardson (5500).  I think Horford is the worst play of the 3, especially at that price. He has shown you, even if he gets you 25 DKP in the first half, he can easily finish with 25.5 DKP. 
  • Harris is priced fairly. He can show some upside, sure, but we should consider 40 DKP for him a good game and 48 more of an aberration and he’s close enough to 8k that those numbers are what we should be targeting. Boston has some people who can defend him too, so it’s not going to be easy. 
  • Three games ago, Richardson got hot shooting. They wound up playing him 38 minutes that game. He went 13-20, including 6-10 from 3. He put up 50.75 DKP. Only him and Embiid have gotten to 50 DKP since the restart on this team. Harris is the only other player on Philly that’s gotten to 40 DKP that’s playing today.  
  • The game before that, against an Orlando team that doesn’t have the best Wing D, he played 34 minutes, went 2-12, and got 9 DKP total.
  • Be careful with Richardson. Be aware of his floor and his ceiling. Still, with Simmons out, he will have as much chance as any starter to get a hot hand. And if he does, he is going to win someone a tournament by putting up 9x again on 5500. Embiid, Harris, and Richardson are the 3 that will have most of the shots in their hands. Embiid and Richardson are the 2 there that are priced at a discount for the ceiling they have shown you
  • Alec Burks is 3900 and has 4 consecutive games of getting you ~30+ DKP in 25 or so minutes. I don’t think it’s out of the question he gets the same run today, given how poor Shake Milton is at producing. 3900 is a pretty damn good price for that, though I think there may be better value plays that won’t be so chalky. I also know that he’s gonna get some extra minutes and extra shots as a result of Simmons being out (and how that changes all the rotations). And no one else in the 2nd unit is going to be worth looking at cause Burks will eat all the usage up. If he gets hot and they give him some run with the starters and he winds up with 28 minutes instead of 22? We could see him touch 35+ DKP. 
  • The Boston stars are all underpriced. Jayson Tatum is a GPP play, let’s not be coy. He has put up some real stinkers and here, he will be negatively impacted by Simmons being out, as it means Al Horford starting at PF next to Tobias Harris, both of whom are going to make Tatum’s life difficult. 8500 isn’t too much when you consider his upside (and I still think he can get you 45-50 DKP), but I think there will be better ways to attack Philly’s D. If he was a few hundred bucks cheaper I’d be a bigger fan, but 8500 is fair, truly. 
  • The same thing for Tatum goes for Hayward. Every once in a while Hayward has those games where he puts up a 30/10/10 3×2 and everyone wonders why they didn’t see it coming. Well, it’s an aberration and a fluke. Sure it could happen here but, odds are, he’s going to be running into a lot of Harris and Horford as well, and that is not going to be good for him. 7300 is an easier price to pay than 8500, though. 
  • While Josh Richardson is also a great defender, it’s the 2 guards that intrigue me the most for Boston, cause I expect them to see the most Shake Milton, who should be the worst defender on the floor by leaps and bounds. He is ranked by DRPM as a SG and he’s 98th out of 138. That’s not good. At all. 
  • That means, on Boston, I will prioritize two players: First, Kemba Walker, who is my favorite play on the team. He should do the ballhandling and have the easiest path to production. I expect him to wind up with a lot of shots and a lot of potential assists. Second, Jaylen Brown, who will most likely have Milton on him while Richardson picks up Kemba when he brings the ball down. 
  • I don’t recommend anyone else. Wanamaker doesn’t produce and I don’t expect many minutes. Kanter will most likely match up against Horford or Embiid the entire time, and, on top of that, could give some minutes to Robert Williams.

DAL “at” LAC – 8/17 – 9pm

Info

Vegas Total:   230 – LAC 118 – DAL 112

Injuries – DAL:    Kristaps Porzingis – PROBABLE

Injuries – LAC:   Patrick Beverley – QUESTIONABLE / Montrezl – QUESTIONABLE / Landry Shamet – QUESTIONABLE

Pace – DAL:   18th – 99.3

Pace – LAC:   8th – 101.5

Top 3 Usage (with NBA Rank) – DAL:   Luka Doncic (2nd) / Porzingis (31st) / Tim Hardaway (86th)

Top 3 Usage (with NBA Rank) – LAC:   Kawhi Leonard (7th) / Paul George (17th) / Lou Williams (22nd)

Analysis

  • This game is going to be where most of the ownership is on the 4 game slate (and maybe even the 8 game slate), and I completely understand that. There are a lot of great players that are just too cheap and should have no problem exceeding value here.
  • Luka Doncic has proven that, even as a young sophomore in the NBA, he is one of the best players in the game. He has 2 games so far since the restart where he exceeded 80 DKP – one 83.5 performance against SAC, and an 89 DKP OT performance against a Bucks team that played their starters and were incredibly strong defensively. Yeah, I get that Kawhi and PG13 are going to make his life hell. But that won’t stop him from shooting. If anything it means some extra assists on his way to another high scoring triple double. 
  • That being said, I expect him to be popular and, as I always point out, game theory says that means to go under the field on him. Especially when you consider, again, that he will have Kawhi and/or PG13 on him all game. And maybe PatBev.
  • The other star for the Mavs, Kristaps Porzingis, is my favorite play though, and it’s not even close. The best way to attack the Clippers is through Center. And Porzingis matches up very well against Zubac with his ability to shoot 3s so well (he went 7 for 9 last game from 3 point range). I expect him to get 30+ points and the 2×2. I expect at least 50 DKP here and he’s only 8300. 
  • On top of that, if Montrezl comes back today (and he should), Porzingis will wind up seeing a rusty Montrezl for 15-20+ minutes. That is a huge boost. 
  • Tim Hardaway is a pure GPP play. I don’t expect him to have enough usage here to pay off a near 6k price tag, and I expect him to also see Kawhi/PG13 defensively. Still, if they double or triple Luka, it will leave Hardaway open for plenty of 3s and, if he gets hot, he can pay off on that. So, if you’re playing MME, have some exposure. If you’re entering one lineup, I understand a hard pass. 
  • I don’t trust anyone else on Dallas. DFS doesn’t have a high ceiling when everyone else on the team is healthy. He would be a 1% owned play if you enter 150 lineups. Seth Curry and Trey Burke will split usage in the 2nd unit. Maxi Kleber will get some run at 4300, so I don’t hate him given the Clippers weaknesses, but, even with people resting and getting good matchups he had trouble getting much past 20 DKP. Given the Clippers propensity to play smaller (especially with Montrezl back), he should also wind up taking the backup Center minutes, leaving Boban a question mark at best. Is he even going to take the court? And, if he does, will he get more than 6 minutes? I’m not sure at all. And I don’t trust him to do anything at all today. 
  • When it comes to the Clippers, like with Embiid, this is what they save everyone for. That means we can expect this game to go through Kawhi and PG13, with Lou Williams also putting up a ton of shots whenever he’s on the floor. Normally, I would add Montrezl there as a solid 2nd unit performer, but he would just be coming back from a long absence and I expect rust and severely limited minutes. 
  • Kawhi is going to run the game. He will do a ton of ballhandling regardless of who plays PG. He is going to put up a ton of shots and run the game. Playoff Kawhi is different from regular season Kawhi. He should be priced like James Harden. He should not be under 10k at all. 9800 is an incredible discount for him, especially when you add Dallas D to the mix. 
  • PG13 will also run the floor a ton, as they stagger Kawhi and PG13’s time on the floor. Sure they will see a ton of time together, but PG13 should also see the few minutes Kawhi rests (and it will only be a few). He is also someone who will step up during the playoffs and I would be surprised if he doesn’t also push 50 DKP here, at the very least. 
  • Lou Will will also come in and take a ton of shots. He went 8 for 13 from 3 last game, playing 25 minutes so it looks like he could have shaken off the rust and is back in game shape. 6000 is about 1000 more than I like to pay for him, though. Still, he could be in for a 40 DKP performance here if he can put up similar numbers as last game. 
  • The only other player for the Clippers I feel is worth a look is Reggie Jackson, who is only 3600 and should get a bunch of run, especially if PatBev is out or limited. Again, though, I need to stress – Kawhi and PG13 are going to be running the ball most of the time so RJax (or whoever plays PG) isn’t as good a play as you may think.

ORL “at” MIL – 8/18 – 130pm

Info

Vegas Total:   224.5 – MIL 118.25 – ORL 106.25

Injuries – ORL:    Evan Fournier – PROBABLE / Aaron Gordon – QUESTIONABLE / Terrence Ross – PROBABLE / MCW – QUESTIONABLE

Injuries – MIL:   NONE

Pace – ORL:   25th – 98.6

Pace – MIL:   1st – 105.1

Top 3 Usage (with NBA Rank) – ORL:   Nikola Vucevic (40th) / Evan Fournier (55th) / Terrence Ross (71st)

Top 3 Usage (with NBA Rank) – MIL:   Giannis (1st) / Khris Middleton (33rd) / Eric Bledose (59th) 

Analysis

MIA “at” IND – 8/18 – 4pm

Info

Vegas Total:   216.5 – MIA 110 – IND 106.5

Injuries – MIA:    Jae Crowder – PROBABLE / Derrick Jones -QUESTIONABLE

Injuries – IND:   TJ Warren – QUESTIONABLE / Sabonis – OUT

Pace – MIA:   27th – 98.3

Pace – IND:   20th – 98.9

Top 3 Usage (with NBA Rank) – MIA:  Goran Dragic (36th) / Jimmy Butler (46th) / Kendrick Nunn (52nd)

Top 3 Usage (with NBA Rank) – IND:   Malcolm Brogdon (43rd) / Warren (65th) / Doug McDermott (103rd)

Analysis

OKC “at” HOU – 8/18 – 630pm

Info

Vegas Total:   225 – OKC 113.5 – HOU 111.5

Injuries – OKC:    Lu Dort – QUESTIONABLE / Abdel Nader – QUESTIONABLE

Injuries – HOU:   Russ Westbrook – OUT / Danuel House – PROBABLE

Pace – OKC:   22nd – 98.8

Pace – HOU:   2nd – 103.7

Top 3 Usage (with NBA Rank) – OKC:   Dennis Schroder (28th) / Danilo Gallinari (49th) / SGA (60th)

Top 3 Usage (with NBA Rank) – HOU:   James Harden (3rd) / Ben McLemore (149th) / Austin Rivers (152nd)

Analysis

POR “at” LAL – 8/18 – 9pm

Info

Vegas Total:   229.5 – LAL 117.5 – POR 112

Injuries – POR:    Zach Collins – QUESTIONABLE / Nassir Little – QUESTIONABLE

Injuries – LAL:   KCP – QUESTIONABLE / Anthony Davis – PROBABLE / Kyle Kuzma – PROBABLE / Alex Caruso – PROBABLE / Rondo – OUT

Pace – POR:   13th – 100.8

Pace – LAL:   11th – 100.9

Top 3 Usage (with NBA Rank) – POR:   Dame Lillard (14th) / CJ McCollum (38th) / Carmelo Anthony (85th)Top 3 Usage (with NBA Rank) – LAL:   LeBron (11th) / Davis (19th) / Kuzma (70th)

Analysis


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