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NBA DFS Picks: The NBA Slate-Starter for DraftKings + FanDuel | August 17th

Eric Lindquist

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Our Nuggets vs. Jazz NBA Picks, Predictions and NBA Odds article, breaking down betting trends with some top options using OddsShopper.

Postseason NBA DFS has finally arrived (in mid-August!), and with it some massive prize pools for the DraftKings and FanDuel main slate beginning at 1:30 p.m. EST. I’m here to give an overview of what lies ahead on this glorious Monday, covering some of the major decisions we’ll have to make for our NBA DFS lineups. Let’s get to it.


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NBA DFS Picks: Slate-Starter | DraftKings + FanDuel

The Clarkson Conundrum

Pricing on the main sites was released before Mike Conley left the bubble for the birth of his son, and with him went our hopes to avoid mega-chalk this Monday. Awesemo ran an early round of projected DraftKings ownership Sunday evening, and Jordan Clarkson ($3,800) came in at a whopping 62% … which still feels low.

Here’s why: come playoff time, we usually have less value at our disposal. Rotations tighten up, stars receive a couple more of the bench players’ minutes, and the chances of a starter sitting out for anything other than a considerable injury becomes close to zero. So when two clear mis-priced options emerge like Clarkson and teammate Royce O’Neale ($3,500) that are sub-$4,000 and project for 30+ minutes, it’s so hard to get away.

I’ve been searching for legitimate reasons to fade Clarkson all night, but besides ‘game theory’ they’re just not there: with Mike Conley and Bojan Bogdanovic off the floor this season, he sports a 27.3% usage rate and a 1.01 FP/Min clip. He’s also faired extremely well against Denver in their three match-ups, averaging 30.5 DraftKings points in 26.2 minutes per game.

My take? Under-exposing yourself to Clarkson on FanDuel makes a lot more sense at his $4,400 price tag, along with the opportunity-cost that exists in passing up high-ceiling options such as Luka Doncic and Caris LeVert. But on DraftKings, his role and savings are just too good to pass up.

There’s No Place Like No Home

I’ll let you in on a secret, and hopefully the internet deletes this come 2021: a majority of my NBA DFS playoff research in years prior revolved around individual player’s home/road splits. I don’t think home-court advantage is an unknown concept by any means, but I’ve found that default projections didn’t factor them in as heavily as I would.

Welp, no need to worry about that this year! With every game of the playoffs being contended on a neutral court, the large spikes in production certain players got from their home crowd will be nullified (I’m looking at you, Joel Embiid and Nikola Jokic), as well as the downswing they might’ve experienced being on the road.

What this means for DFS: while some of these gigantic underdogs (i.e. Nets, Magic) might’ve stolen a game or two on their home floor in years past, the bubble should eliminate some of those outlier performances. This would make taking an underweight position on possible chalk plays from those teams — such as Joe Harris tomorrow — feel like a possible edge.


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The Team-Stack Attack

For a lot of the top teams that locked in their playoff seeding weeks ago, the bubble has been full of games that have felt more like glorified scrimmages. Some of those teams have limited starters minutes throughout, or sat them out entire halves, prioritizing health above more run, but also limiting their production as a result.

That means we should have a few mispriced plays across the industry at the start of the playoffs, where an uptick in minutes should be there for anyone in the playoff rotation. What’s fascinating, though, is it feels like those mispriced plays all seem to come from the same team on certain sites.

Let’s take the Raptors on FanDuel, for instance: Kyle Lowry, Pascal Siakam, and Fred VanVleet all have salaries where, if given their pre-bubble allotment of minutes, all three could blow their respective tags out of the water. I think it’s extremely viable to play two—even all three—and not worry about capping your upside too much. Which also means don’t go overboard on rules for your optimizer today; it’s a four-game slate after all, and it only takes one shoot out to have multiple pieces from it in the optimal lineup.

Parting Thoughts For Your NBA DFS Lineups

The worst feeling in NBA DFS is knowing your day is over 20 minutes into an all-day slate, but I guarantee that’s how some of us are going to feel with the value in the UTA/DEN game. As always: stay on top of news, and if the first game doesn’t break the way you want it to, make pivots to lower-owned pieces to try and save those lineups.

Good luck, and hope to see you at the top of the leaderboards!


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