Written by: Kyle Dillard – Staff Writing Intern (@TheGrandstandKD)
| Toronto Raptors @ Cleveland Cavaliers
Vegas: CLE -5.5
Two of the Eastern Conference’s top teams face off in Cleveland in what potentially will be a preview of this years’ Eastern Conference Finals. DeMar DeRozan has been the story for the season surging Raptors, as he’s eclipsed 30+ points in all but one game this season. He’s averaging 34.0 actual points, along with 4.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists a game this year. Look for this to continue tonight. Outside of DeMar, I’m interested in how the rest of the team will respond to elite opposition. I like Lucas Nogueira for value from the Raptors. He’s playing very well and efficiently and is very underpriced.
The one-loss Cavaliers are looking like true defending champions. LeBron James, Kevin Love, and Kyrie Irving are all in form early this season, but my favorite pick is J.R. Smith. If healthy, Smith will be firing out the gates. He shows up to big games, and this one Is definitely a big one.
| Atlanta Hawks @ Miami Heat
Vegas: ATL -6.5
Because of how low scoring this game will be, value plays are what you will find in this one. My favorite rookie, Malcolm Delaney, is at it again playing backup to Dennis Schröder. He’s a great minimum priced guard to slide into your lineup every night. Alongside him, I like Kyle Korver. He’s really finding his stride from deep, and I believe he will be in for a big night facing the injured Miami Heat backcourt. Although the Heat are 2-7, I believe they keep this one close. Dwight Howard is also a great center play, I think he shows Hassan Whiteside how to play center the right way. He’s also not overly priced. The only thing that worries me with these two centers is foul trouble. For the heat, if Dragic continues to be out, Josh Richardson,Tyler Johnson, and Justise Winslow will get a spike in production. All lower cost options and viable plays. Just be mindful of this low total, and try to target value in higher paced games.
| Charlotte Hornets @ Minnesota Timberwolves
Vegas: CHA -2.0
This game will be close, and full of production. The Timberwolves have three players averaging 20+ actual points on the season. A last second scratch last game, Zach Lavine will be fresh after resting his sore knee, and I look for him to ball. Of course Andrew Wiggins is in play as well as KAT. The trickiest player to pick for the wolves will be point guard Ricky Rubio. He played an excellent game after taking time off with an arm injury; However, he’s trapped me before and really underproduced. Playing against Kemba Walker and Nic Batum, I don’t know if you wanna stick with Rubio. On the Hornets side of the ball, Kemba Walker is playing out of his mind. Also, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is becoming a dominant player. His size and athleticism, combined with his skill, makes him a matchup nightmare. From a fantasy perspective, he’s also very active on defense, which greatly increases his value. The front court of the Hornets is also very fantasy friendly, Spencer Hawes, Marvin Williams, and Cody Zeller all are great choices in a game with a total of 205.5. 5 game slates are tough, but this one should be a good game to pull variation from.
| Chicago Bulls @ Portland Trailblazers
Vegas: POR -3.5
This is my game of the night. Full of entertaining players, and stars, someone’s got to perform. My picks, from both, are Jimmy Butler, Nikola Mirotic, Rondo, Mason Plumlee, and Damian Lillard. Lillard has to keep producing for the Blazers to win. This pace will be very high, and I like the chances of Lillard having a career night. CJ McCollum has been on fire as of late, and if you can fit him, I wouldn’t mind taking him either. With the Blazers having the home court Advantage, I do agree with Vegas on this one, and I do believe Portland takes this one from the Bulls.
| Brooklyn Nets@ Los Angeles Lakers
Vegas: LAL -7.0
The last game of the night will be fully under the Luke Walton Effect. The struggling Nets, who are dealing with a lot of injuries, will take on the surging Lakers. With Injury for the Nets, comes opportunity for backups and other players in the Brooklyn Lineup. My best picks from the Nets in this high paced game are Bojan Bogdanovic and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. Both are cheaper and both are producing. Sean Kilpatrick is also a good pick; However, his price is creeping up a little higher than I find able for him to keep value.
Now for the Lakers, who isn’t there to like? This game is a perfect spot for Brandon Ingram
to continue producing. Luke Walton is really developing the young swingman and I’ll have a lot of Mr.Ingram. Also, Julius Randle has a fantastic matchup. I think he’ll be the best play on the entire slate in terms of points per dollar. For his price, Lou Williams also looks very good. At the end of the day, this game will be the highest total of the night. But it’s not like we’re dealing with the Warriors at home.
Good luck tonight everyone, if any updates come out I’ll be tweeting them, follow me @TheGrandstandKD and feel free to ask for any advice on your lineups!