This article is part of our NBA DFS Breakdown series.
With just two games on the docket, DFS users looking for a big payoff in GPPs will have to combine smart, high-floor choices with off-the-radar gambles. Finding low-owned players is the priority in a situation like this, so let's explore what options are available:
Pacers at Bucks
Spread: MIL (-11.0)
These inter-division rivals have played three previous times, with the Bucks emerging victorious in two of them and up in the series by 10 points, which is coincidentally close to the spread of Thursday's matchup. Milwaukee and Indiana are on opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to pace, as the Bucks are the league's fifth-fastest team, while the Pacers come in as the league's fifth-slowest squad. This is also a battle of the league's two best defenses, which makes taking the under on 221.5 seem advantageous. Ultimately, the Pacers being
paced sped up and the absence of Domantas Sabonis indicates value may be easiest to come by on Indiana's side of the matchup.
The four players of true DFS relevance over the past three games have been Myles Turner, Thaddeus Young, Bojan Bogdanovic and Darren Collison. Considering the Bucks allow the most threes (attempts and makes) in the NBA, Bogdanovic – averaging 42.1 FP over the past three games – stands out as an obvious option. He takes 4.7 threes per game, making them at a 42.9 percent clip. DFS users looking to stand out from the crowd on a two-game slate could take the gamble on Wesley Matthews, who is averaging 7.2 three-point attempts since joining the Pacers, though hasn't 30 FP since Jan. 21. However, that game was also in Milwaukee, and Matthews went to high school and college (Marquette) in Wisconsin.
The Bucks most recently suffered a surprising loss to the Suns, and a bounce-back game will certainly be on their minds. The entire team, save for maybe Malcolm Brogdon, underperformed. The Pacers' defense has no obvious holes to exploit, so isolating one specific player to target from Milwaukee is difficult. With Myles Turner, Steven Adams and Jusuf Nurkic all in play, however, Brook Lopez may have relatively low ownership, which could be something to take advantage of for GPPs.
Thunder at Trail Blazers
Spread: POR (-3.5)
This is the contest that will likely get the most attention in DFS, as it has an expected total more than 10 points higher than the Indiana-Milwaukee matchup, driven by OKC's rank as the third-fastest team in the Association. The Thunder will be pacing up Portland, who check in as the 17th-fastest squad. These teams have played three prior times this season, with the Thunder emerging victorious in all of them, up by 20 points in the series.
Paul George made his return from a three-game absence during the Thunder's most recent game, but he struggled, going just 8-of-25 from the field and totaling 36.0 FP. He'll likely be a popular play in DFS, with users assuming he'll have a bounceback game, especially since Portland allows the fifth-most threes as a percentage of opponent shot attempts. Steven Adams may get some love as an option as well, but it's important to keep in mind that the Blazers allow the second-fewest rebounds in the league and the sixth-fewest shots in the restricted area. DFS users looking for someone to pivot to should consider Jerami Grant. He's underwhelmed over the past trio of games, but has racked up five 30-plus FP games in his past 13 appearances.
We've seen more of a team effort from the Blazers lately, which has caused Damian Lillard's fantasy production to decrease. The All-Star has only eclipsed 40 FP in eight of his past 14 games. For most players, that would be excellent production, but it's generally not what we've come to expect from Lillard. My guess is that the more popular plays will be C.J. McCollum (40-plus FP in three of the past seven), Jusuf Nurkic (dropped 60.0 FP against Charlotte two games ago) and Maurice Harkless (30-plus FP in five of the past seven). Considering OKC gives up the eighth-most steals per game, Harkless is arguably the most enticing option, as he's averaging 2.1 steals over the past seven games.