This article is part of our DraftKings NBA series.
Our slates become slimmer and slimmer as we enter the second round of the playoffs. DraftKings has a two-game offering that kicks off at 6:30 pm EDT. Let's get right to the action!
MIA vs. MIL (-5.5) O/U: 223
HOU vs. OKC (+6) O/U: 226
(odds subject to change)
If you look at the Bucks' regular-season results against the Heat, they aren't that great. They went 1-2 against Miami overall, and even though they handled them in bubble play, they were blown out by the Heat a week before the season shut down. Miami's defense has the goods to dampen the Bucks' offensive weapons, and they will be Milwaukee's first real test. Since we don't have any reliable metrics on this matchup yet, I'll limit my exposure to the game, but I certainly can't name it a 'fade.' In truth, you can't fade a contest on a two-game slate because your player pool is limited to about 16 chalk players.
The pool's biggest gap is the $1,500 drop between the top-flight 10k-plus guys and Chris Paul ($8,200). We also see a fairly significant drop from $7,700 to $7,100, with Bam Adebayo and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander representing both sides of that gap. Spending up on a center is not essential with this pool of players, and it's probably necessary to go value there if you want to target elites.
INJURY SITUATIONS TO MONITOR
Eric Bledsoe (hamstring) QUESTIONABLE
I doubt Bledsoe will miss the first game of the series, but on the off-chance that he's out, George Hill ($4,200) is your next-best option for the Bucks.
The rest of the slate is clean! Hooray for healthy players, but unfortunate for DFS players who hunt for exploitable value.
First, I want to touch on James Harden ($11,300) and Russell Westbrook ($9,700). Westbrook suffered mightily in their last game, and he has nowhere to go but up. Unfortunately, I think the likelihood the All-Star matches his price is pretty slim. We all know that Harden is capable of video-game numbers on any given night, but he's hit 5x value in just three out of five games this series. Luguentz Dort's defensive skills have also reined in Harden's numbers.
Now, if you look at Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,400) and plug in his current salary, the 5x value threshold is 57 DKFP. He beat that number EVERY TIME against the Magic. The Magic can't compare to the Heat, especially defensively, but Giannis's numbers make a very persuasive argument when you're trying to pick an elite player.
EXPECTED CHALK AND OTHER TARGETS
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, OKC ($7,100) vs. HOU
Things can only go up for SGA after his horrific Game 5. It was so bad, it convinces me further that it's an aberration because his play was exemplary in the first four games of this series. The slate is small, so I don't think that his roster rate will dip that much, but it might dip enough to take him out of the top five in overall popularity.
Goran Dragic, MIA ($6,600) vs. MIL
Dragic only played the Bucks twice this season, as he missed the bubble matchup entirely. His record in the other two games was solid, however. He averaged 37 DKFP over those two contests, and unless the Heat have a change of heart and start playing Kendrick Nunn, I see no reason to stray from Dragic now.
Eric Gordon, HOU ($6,100) vs. OKC
When it comes to cash lineups, Gordon is one of the most dependable 5x value guys you can find. Despite various game flow issues, he always finds a way to get to that number. An excellent example of his game script adjustments involves his role with Westbrook back in the lineup. You'd expect it to hurt his value, but it mostly switches him for a ball handler to an assist recipient, and a quick look shows that he took more shots with Westbrook back at the point.
Also consider: Khris Middleton, MIL ($7,900) vs. MIA
Steven Adams, OKC ($5,800) vs. HOU
Adams was one of the only OKC guys who made any headway in Game 5, and you'd expect him to have at least moderate success against an undersized Houston frontcourt. His floor has been fairly reliable, and although it doesn't quite reach value relative to his new salary, this spot is still an exploitable opportunity for him.
Tyler Herro, MIA ($5,500) vs. MIL
If you crunch the numbers for Herro, he makes a lot of sense as a value target today. Against the Pacers, he saw at least 30 minutes in three of five games, and although his three-point shot isn't working as well, he is nailing a good percentage of his mid-range jumpers. He's also able to record some ancillary numbers, and that pads his final DKFP score nicely.
Brook Lopez, MIL ($5,300) vs. MIA
I like Lopez a little better for the salary than Adams, but they are almost interchangeable values given the $500 difference. Lopez averaged nearly 30 DKFP over three games against the Heat, and I think he matches up well against Adebayo and whoever else the Heat decide to throw at him. I expect Lopez's usage to get a bit of a bump as the Bucks really get down to business. This series will be more competitive than their stint against the Magic, which means that the starters will all get more minutes.
As we get deeper into the bargain bin, it'll be necessary to pay attention to situations like George Hill's to understand how low we can reasonably go. I think you almost have to consider Kelly Olynyk ($3,900) if you go high at one or two positions, as he'll beat value below 4k more often than not. While I'd like to have Danuel House ($5,800), his salary was not a good fit for many of my builds as it forced me to make backcourt compromises that I wasn't entirely comfortable with. Although his Game 5 numbers represented the Thunder's struggles in that game, your hail mary bargain play should be Darius Bazley ($3,800). He played the entire fourth quarter in the Game 5 blowout, and they will have no reason to keep him on the bench if Houston surges ahead by 15 or more points. I predict that the game will be more competitive than that, but Bazley played well enough in garbage time to merit some extra minutes, regardless of how the game is going.
Also consider: Robert Covington, HOU ($5,800) vs. OKC
Although the injury scenarios are minimal today, I advise visiting our Advanced Lineups tool later in the day so you can confirm the starting lineups for all four teams.