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The NBA Slate Starter: NBA DFS Strategy for DraftKings + FanDuel | Thursday, 4/8

Eric Lindquist

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NBA expert picks vegas odds betting lines Bucks Hawks Game 5 Eastern Conference Finals Playoffs Khris Middleton best bets tonight

It was an extreme version of stars-and-scrubs on Wednesday, with so many plays at or near the minimum that performed more than admirably to make way for top-tier talent in lineups. Those are generally slates I excel at but yet again fell short of a massive score due to another mediocre Luka Doncic outing. Hopefully he can turn it around on Thursday, as many will go right back to that well again. But Doncic excluded, let’s take a look at a few other NBA DFS picks and strategies that could help elevate us to the top on DraftKings and FanDuel tonight.


Be sure to check out the Slate Starter podcast, featuring yours truly and Rynpak, to get the first look at the slate and make NBA DFS picks for DraftKings and FanDuel!


NBA DFS Slate Starter: Picks & Strategy | April 8

The Only Thing Better Than a Late-Night Hammer is Three of Them

Thursdays are generally a lighter night in the NBA, but thankfully we’ve got a nice full seven-gamer tipping off at 7:30 p.m. EST. Nothing too crazy and chaotic went down post-lock on Wednesday — unless you consider Facundo Campazzo starting noteworthy — which means there could be a little delayed news. After all, everyone knows the complete lunacy the Clippers are capable of any time they’re on the slate.

Speaking of, the Clippers are one of six teams in action for a trio of 10 p.m. EST tip-offs, making this a very intriguing evening to take full advantage of late swap should something wonky go down. By now, I hope you understand a few of the basics surrounding its functionality, which is not just for adjusting to players getting ruled out. Have a lineup that’s crushing? Go ahead and jam in chalk. Have lineups that are in complete shambles? Make some pivots off chalk to lower-owned plays in hopes of salvaging a few bucks here and there.

But who exactly should gamers be prioritizing in this evening triple-header in the first place? Let’s start with, of all teams, the Detroit Pistons, who get a substantial bump facing a Kings team ranked dead-last in defensive efficiency this season. They also had their top scorer and fantasy producer Jerami Grant ruled out earlier this afternoon, which should open up a ton of production up-and-down the roster. Hamidou Diallo, Isaiah Stewart and Saddiq Bey should all see some increased run and usage in this spot, as well as Josh Jackson who no one will likely click on due to his wretched form. And let it be known that Killian Hayes could very well be one of the most popular plays on the DraftKings slate at just $3,200 coming off an outing of 25 minutes, insinuating that his court time is trending up.

[DUSTINGRAPHICAD]

Instead of talking about a popular team next, let’s talk about a player who should garner quite a bit of ownership on both sites in the late-night festivities. It is one Enes Kanter of the Portland Trail Blazers, who saw a serious spike up to 36 minutes and 37.75 DraftKings points with Jusuf Nurkic sitting versus the Clippers on Tuesday. While actively targeting centers versus Rudy Gobert is certainly not something to get in a habit of, Kanter’s services should certainly be required in this matchup. Should Nurkic be out, Kanter instantly becomes the preferred point per dollar play from this game.

And finally, the Clippers. Their unpredictability with late-scratches is the stuff of legend (and nightmares) by now, so having extra lineup spots before any of their games is never the worst idea. Especially because both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George have been nails of late and provide $10,000-plus player upside at sub-$10,000 price tags. Phoenix isn’t the most enticing matchup to go out of your way to target, but make an exception for the two Clippers studs. Plus, if chaos does ensue, rostering one-or-both of them gives you more than adequate salary to pivot elsewhere should you need/want to.


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Big Bucks Hunter

Giannis Antetokounmpo has been ruled doubtful for Thursday’s outing versus the Mavericks, which means the Bucks will most likely be the top team to target tonight. There is no total out on this game yet, but it should challenge for the top number on the board tomorrow. This exact scenario happened against Golden State, so let’s take a look at Mike Budenholzer’s rotations via PopcornMachine.net:

NBA DFS Picks Daily Fantasy Basketball Slate Starter Milwaukee Bucks Giannis DraftKings & FanDuel Lineups

The two things that seem to stick out the most. First off, Bobby Portis started and performed admirably in his 28 minutes; as a 1.13 DraftKings points per minute player with Giannis off the floor this season, his $5,200 salary over there would be hard to pass up. And secondly, that’s an 11-man rotation, which is larger than you’d expect from them in such a closely-contested game. Fortunately, the duo of Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday, who average 1.33 and 1.39 DraftKings points with Giannis off the court respectively, got their ample run.

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While there is certainly concern for some of these ancillary Bucks pieces, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that you should be targeting Bucks starters on Thursday. Be sure to utilize Awesemo’s Boom/Bust tool to help make informed choices and identify leverage for the ones who might be going underrepresented on both sites. But don’t forget to account for their boom percentages, too, as there is no doubt Holiday and Middleton will grade out as phenomenal plays by every metric tomorrow, regardless of what that ownership comes in at.

Final Thoughts for Your NBA DFS Lineups

  • There is no need to write up that Malachi Flynn at a sub-$5,000 price tag on DraftKings and DeAndre’ Bembry‘s auspicious sub-$4,000 number are still elite plays. Just let it be known that it’s strange to be in a world where FanDuel is the more proactive salary booster of the two sites, yet here we are.
  • The Thunder could provide even more value on this slate, as Aleksej Pokusevski left in the fourth quarter after breaking the slate. Should he sit, Tony Bradley could finally be considered a strong play for the first time since arriving from the Sixers.
  • Just play De’Aaron Fox.

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