The NBA playoffs are underway and there is NBA DFS on DraftKings, FanDuel and SuperDraft. Greg Ehrenberg breaks down some of the key news in his Switch and Hedge article.
NBA DFS Switch And Hedge | Aug. 29
Damian Lillard Out With A Strained Knee
It looks like Lillard is done for the season. Even if the Blazers extend the series past tonight, which I don’t think happens, he likely is out beyond today after leaving the bubble. As is, Portland is a 13.5-point underdog and the Lakers come into today with a 3-1 series lead. Lillard played really well down the stretch of the regular season, but it was crazy to think this Blazers’ team stood a legitimate chance to beat the Lakers in a best-of-seven series. Los Angeles has run the Blazers off the court since Game 1.
As for NBA DFS, there are a couple of players that stand out without Lillard. For value, I assume Gary Trent Jr. will enter the starting lineup. Variance is a friend of the Blazers in this spot, and if they hope to pull an upset, then they will have to shoot a hefty amount of 3’s. Trent is one of the top shooters on the team. I also expect to see a heavy dose of C.J. McCollum. With Lillard off the court this season, McCollum has a 33.9% usage rating and scores 45.29 DraftKings points per 36 minutes. Anfernee Simons is also a viable value option after playing 25 minutes last game.
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The Impact Of Russell Westbrook‘s Return for NBA DFS
If I am honest, finding new words to say about this slate compared to Wednesday is difficult. Most of the storylines are the same, the same teams play and the pricing is similar. I took most of my content from Wednesday and brought it over to this article because it’s nearly the exact same slate. The one difference is that Westbrook went from out, to questionable and now he’s expected to play in Game 5. This is great for the Rockets since they are knotted 2-2 in their series against the Thunder.
Here is the bad news regarding the Rockets. With Westbrook back, the value here dries up in a big way. Eric Gordon and Danuel House both see less minutes with less usage, limiting the amount of cheap to midrange options to choose from today. Most significantly, James Harden is no longer the smash play that he was in previous games. His usage rating and playmaking responsibilities take a big hit with Russ back. While we don’t have news on how many minutes Westbrook is playing, I am under the assumption he gets a full workload. The few days off should mean Westbrook is at full health. He is a viable GPP option and this is the only game with a tight spread.
With expected one-sided games as mentioned above, I think it’s OK to go dumpster diving and look for a couple value plays that might benefit from garbage time. These aren’t players I want to invest much money in, but taking a stab or two in a NBA DFS GPP on some cheap guys that might get extra run due to game script isn’t the worst strategy in the world.
For the Magic, Khem Birch is worth rostering if Aaron Gordon is out. Gordon is currently questionable, and Birch is playing around 18 minutes without Gordon. The nice part of rostering Birch is that he’s also playing in garbage time. In one-sided games in the bubble, we have seen Birch stretched to play as much as 27 minutes.
From the same game, Donte DiVincenzo is OK to get some exposure to. An underrated fantasy producer, he actually averaged over 20 DraftKings points while coming off the bench in the regular season. DiVincenzo did this while playing just 21 minutes per game. With the way the Bucks handle their rotations, I have little doubt the starters will come out early if the game gets out of hand. This could bode well for DiVincenzo. These types of plays are risky, but on a three-game slate where it’s tough to differentiate, the upside is within the realm of possibility.
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CJ McCollum U26.5 Points +106 (DraftKings)
The Blazers opened the playoffs with an impressive win against the #1 seed, but unfortunately all it did was wake up the Lakers. Since then LA has responded with three straight wins including blowouts in games 2 & 4. Now we get an elimination game that has the Blazers waving the white flag as Damian Lillard is out with a knee sprain. Even the few extra days between games was not enough to get Dame back and now the Lakers are poised to end this series in 5. This spread has ballooned to -13.5 and its hard to imagine the Blazers staying close in this spot.
With Lillard out CJ McCollum will be the focal point of the offense which means more volume, but I do not think that automatically means more scoring. The O/U on points for McCollum sits at a healthy 26.5 and its shaded to the over, so we get plus money if we go with the under here. If this game is a blowout he will be watching from the bench in the 4th and he should be the priority for the Lakers defense. McCollum has not been super aggressive with just 14 FT’s attempted through four games and he is just 10-28 from three-point range. Both of those will have to increase here if McCollum is going over this total, and with the under sitting at +106 that’s a good enough price for me to take a position.
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