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NBA Optimal Lineups Picks for DraftKings & FanDuel Damian Lillard | Sunday, Oct. 31

Terry McBride



Optimal NBA betting picks and the best player prop bets today like Rudy Gobert & Damian Lillard | Expert odds, lines & parlays tonight

Sunday is primarily for other sports during this part of the year, so the NBA DFS gods can be forgiven for granting us just a four-game slate with reduced prize pools tonight. The board features two games with relatively high totals and a pair of lower quality games, but all four provide interesting relevant options for upside and value. Only one of the four contests is looking like a blowout, with the Nets coming in as 12-point favorites over the Pistons. The three other games on the board are all expected to be tightly contested, which can create plenty of opportunity for NBA DFS scoring on DraftKings and FanDuel.

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This space will always focus on the factors mentioned above, but at times we will call out plays that are over-owned, taking the opportunity to discuss the potential pivots. With four games on the slate, this will be a close look at several of the upside options that have some available leverage. As always, the goal is to find under-appreciated players for the frequency with which they land in the optimal lineup in DraftKings and FanDuel DFS NBA projections and simulations.

NBA DFS Optimizer Leverage Leaders Today

These picks are made utilizing the Boom/Bust Tool, specifically analyzing the optimal lineup rate, leverage score, and boom probability. The optimal lineup rate represents the frequency at which a player appears in Awesemo’s simulated DraftKings NBA and FanDuel NBA slates. The leverage score is the difference between the optimal lineup rate and projected ownership, while the boom probability indicates a player’s likelihood of hitting a ceiling score. It is important to remember that not all of these NBA DFS picks are highlights, and bad chalk and shaky investments will be discussed in this space, so be sure to read the analysis and not just the headlines.

Robert Covington: DraftKings — $4,400 — PF/C | FanDuel — $4,400 — PF/SF

With the same salary but different positional eligibility from site to site, Robert Covington looks like a strong play across the industry on a short slate. Covington is projected for a 31.7-minute night on just a $4,400 salary, which is creating a firm foundation of upside, but the field is not getting to him frequently enough on either site tonight. Covington has averaged just 0.61 fantasy points per minute across Portland’s first five games, playing 28.2 minutes a night and seeing just 9.1% usage. He has a true shooting percentage of 50% and just a 0.9% assist rate and 8.8% rebounding rate, it is fair to say that he has done very little to contribute for real basketball offense or NBA DFS point scoring so far this season, though he did put up a sturdy nine-point eight-rebound night in the team’s last game. Last year, Covington was a 0.81 fantasy point per minute player who flashed infrequent upside, on a short slate like tonight’s that may be enough.

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On FanDuel, Covington lands as the second-most frequently optimal play at any position, behind only teammate Damian Lillard. The low price is carrying Covington to value at both forward positions on the blue site, he has a 40% optimal lineup appearance rate and a 26.4 point raw projection. His 32.7% boom score probability is the highest mark at any position on the slate and, while he will be a popular play with the public, Covington comes in with slightly positive leverage on a very short slate. The field is rostering him at around a 38% clip that leaves him two points of leverage, though that margin could easily shrink come game time. Covington makes for a solid foundational value play unless his ownership trends dramatically in the wrong direction.

Covington has eligibility at both the power forward and center spots on the DraftKings slate. He lands fourth overall on the slate, appearing in the optimal lineup in 28% of Awesemo’s simulations and he has a 25.3% boom score probability that lands sixth. Covington’s flexibility gives him excellent utility in creating unique lineups, the combination of that movement with his low price is ideal for NBA DFS tournament lineup creation, but the field is trailing the play significantly on the DraftKings slate. Covington is one of the more highly optimal plays and he has a clear path to a ceiling score, but his significant 8.4 leverage score is one of the highest available on the site. Getting to added shares of Covington seems like a solid plan for this slate.

Kevin Porter Jr.: DraftKings — $6,000 — PG | FanDuel — $5,900 — SF/PG

The low-end Rockets lineup has provided solid values from slate to slate through the early part of the season. Tonight is no different, as multiple players stand out for potential NBA DFS relevance, with Kevin Porter Jr. leading the way. Porter is projected for slightly more than his 28.4-minute average, with a 31.5-minute night in Awesemo’s afternoon update. He has multi-position eligibility and a fair price on both sites tonight, considering the 24.9% usage that he receives. Porter has posted a 53.2% true shooting percentage and a 31% assist rate so far this season, but he has just a 5.2% rebounding share. Porter stands out for tremendous leverage across both sites in the afternoon update, partly because he is still questionable to play after rolling his ankle earlier in the week. Porter practiced with the team on Saturday after sitting out one game and he seems likely to give it a run. Depending on the timing of the announcement of his availability, the ownership gap may close significantly, so this is a play worth monitoring.

Porter is just a point guard on the DraftKings slate, where he is also priced up to $6,000. He is projected for only 11.2% ownership at that price and with the injury concerns, though that mark could double with early news about him being active for the game. With the current projections, Porter has a gigantic 15.5 leverage score, he is coming up in the optimal lineup in 26.7% of Awesemo’s simulations for this slate and he has a 24.9% boom score probability, both of which land among the top options at any position in the thin player pool. Even if his ownership creeps up, Porter’s upside and the frequency with which he appears in the optimal lineup make Porter a solid bet from the midrange tonight.

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On the blue site, Porter is both a small forward and a point guard. He is carrying a 30.6 point raw projection and just a 13.6% ownership projection so far. The story is the same on FanDuel, with early news the ownership marks could increase significantly, but there seems to still be a good reason to get to Porter regardless. He has a 22.3% boom score probability and a 34.3% optimal lineup appearance rate on the site. The latter gives him a slate-leading 20.7 leverage score that will absolutely come down through the day, particularly if there is a bit of time between breaking news and lock. Porter would have to trend far into negative leverage territory to be a bad play on this slate, he is affordable and provides excellent flexibility for differentiated lineup construction.

The Stars

On a short slate, booking the right combination of stars into a lineup can make all the difference between winning and losing. The list of top-tier talent is strong for just a four-game slate, and NBA DFS gamers will have to make several key decisions on both DraftKings and FanDuel tonight. The costliest player across both sites is Giannis Antetokounmpo. He is pulling in an excellent 35.5% optimal lineup rate on FanDuel and a 28.5% mark on the DraftKings slate and he is just scraping by with a positive leverage score across the industry. The price makes it difficult to roster Antetokounmpo in combination with other stars, but getting to him at or ahead of the field is advisable. With the Lakers and Nets both in action tonight, there is a five-player list of stars to mix and match from just those two teams, and it reads like a list of the top five players of this generation. LeBron James, Kevin Durant, James Harden, Anthony Davis, and Russell Westbrook are all viable plays on this slate and should be rostered to varying degrees and in different combinations. James leads the group for leverage, he has a 28.2% optimal lineup rate with just 17.7% projected ownership on FanDuel and an 18.3% optimal rate with 9.3% ownership projected on DraftKings. Harden is the most frequently optimal of the group on both sites. On FanDuel he lands in the top lineup in 33.8% of simulated slates while he is in that spot 26.7% of the time on DraftKings. Either player makes for a solid pay-up option. Durant, Westbrook, and Davis are all viable valuable plays, but they trend into negative leverage or lack the overall upside of the others, given somewhat appropriate prices.

Of all the available stars on the slate, the one that stands out the most is Damian Lillard on the FanDuel slate. On the other side of town, Lillard is appropriately priced at $9,400, but FanDuel has him as just an $8,400 point guard option. That salary thrusts Lillard to the very top of the board at any position, with a 44.3% optimal lineup appearance rate and a 31.4% boom score probability. He is a strong play at 19.5% and 23.5% respectively on the other site, but that is nowhere close to what he offers on the blue site tonight. Lillard is an exceptional value at that price, he sees 29.1% ownership over 31.8 minutes a night and has posted 1.05 fantasy points per minute despite just a 49.1% true shooting percentage this year. Lillard was a 1.28 points-per-minute player last season, and that is the upside he provides for the low cost. NBA DFS gamers would do well to get to the Portland point guard frequently.

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Check out our DFS rankings NBA for fantasy points and values that are derived directly from Alex Baker's own NBA daily fantasy projections. View our DraftKings ownership projections, our Yahoo! NBA ownership projections and our FanDuel ownership projections. Our NBA DFS projections FanDuel are updated regularly, including whenever any relevant news breaks. We also have Yahoo! NBA rankings, FanDuel rankings and DraftKings ownership rankings for today's slate. Looking for more NBA DFS picks for tonight and the best NBA DFS picks today?

Terry used to do other things, now he writes words on the internet. He hopes his more than 20 years’ experience in season-long and daily fantasy sports and his custom models for MLB, NBA, and NFL don't steer you too wrong when he writes columns and makes picks on A lifetime of experience keeping odd hours make Terry ideal to cover KBO baseball overnight until the world returns to normal. Most of those late night hours have been spent on the couch watching sports, T.V., and movies; just try to shut him up about any of the above. You can find his pop-culture ramblings and more on Sideaction.

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