DraftKings NBA: Thursday Picks

DraftKings NBA: Thursday Picks

This article is part of our DraftKings NBA series.

Slate Overview

BKN vs. MIL (-3.5), O/U: 234

LAC vs. UTA (-3), O/U: 221.5

How much is home-court advantage worth? The Bucks lost convincingly to the Nets in Game 1 and then were blown out by 39 points in Game 2. Apparently, that doesn't matter much, as Vegas has them listed as 3.5-point favorites tonight. The BKN-MIL matchup is the more appealing of the two games based on its 234-point total and the fact that the Nets will be without James Harden again. People felt the same way on Tuesday, however, and it proved to be a losing strategy. Here's the simplest and best advice I can give: If you think the Bucks bounce back with a win tonight, then they make for great plays. If not, it makes sense to fade because the LAC-UTA matchup is a good target as well. Donovan Mitchell was sensational in Game 1, and he looks to be fully recovered from the ankle injury that caused him to miss nearly two months. Mike Conley's potential absence would open up some value in the mid-range. On the Clippers' side, all of their relevant players are cheaper than in Game 1, which is always nice. As always on these two-game slates, build lineups that fit specific game scripts instead of just mixing and matching the best-projected players. 

Injuries to Monitor

James Harden (hamstring): OUT

Harden will miss a second consecutive game tonight due to the hamstring injury he aggravated in Game 1. Bruce Brown got the start in his place while Mike James saw extended run off the bench. 

Mike Conley (hamstring): QUESTIONABLE

Conley sat out Game 1 due to the lingering hamstring injury that he aggravated last week. If he misses again, Joe Ingles will get another start, and Jordan Clark would see extra minutes off the bench.

Elite Players


Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,100)

Giannis ruined many lineups on Monday when he scored only 39.75 DK points as the Bucks got blown out by 39 in Game 2. His confidence looks noticeably shaken, and he continues to struggle shooting a free throw within the 10 allotted seconds. Some would say none of that is important or relevant for tonight. The Bucks are favored by 3.5, have the highest implied team total, and Giannis projects for the most fantasy points on the slate. My advice would be that if you think the Bucks win tonight, then Giannis is a good play. If not, then fading him would make sense because he's likely to be popular, and there are other good spend-up options. 


Kevin Durant ($10,600)

Durant looked unstoppable again as he needed just 33 minutes to put up 50.5 fantasy points in Game 2. His salary continues to rise, but it isn't too high for his role when the Nets are missing James Harden. He's topped 50 DK points in all but one postseason game and almost seems safer than Giannis at this point. It makes sense to pair him with Bucks as opposed to rostering him as a one-off.  


Kyrie Irving ($9,700)

Kyrie's salary has now reached its highest point in 10 games. $9,700 feels expensive for a player who's topped 50 fantasy points just once in seven postseason games. However, there's still some appeal, as he isn't likely to be overly popular. Therefore, he'd make for a good leverage option if you plan on targeting that game. Like Durant, I wouldn't roster him as a one-off unless you're predicting another Nets blowout.  


Kawhi Leonard ($9,600)

Kawhi is coming off an underwhelming performance as the Clippers lost Game 1 on Tuesday. He put up a 23/7/3 line in 36 minutes that resulted in only 38.75 DK points. He is no longer the bargain he was in the Dallas series. The Jazz play better defense, and Rudy Gobert's presence in the middle makes it harder to score at the rim and grab rebounds. I'm not saying Kawhi can't succeed in this matchup – of course, he can – but I prefer spending up elsewhere tonight.  

Expected Chalk 

Mike James ($3,800)

James and Blake Griffin were the chalk on Tuesday's slate. Griffin's salary bump will temper his popularity tonight, but James is still under $4,000, and he's expected to see extended run off the bench again with the Nets still missing James Harden. He's attempted double-digit shots and scored 20+ fantasy points in both games of the series. I'd expect him to be the most popular player in that cheap range tonight and rightfully so based on the minutes and usage he's seen.

Value Picks

Donovan Mitchell ($8,900)

I mentioned on Tuesday that it wouldn't be long before Mitchell's salary hit $9,000, and now he's seen a $700 bump for tonight after torching the Clippers for 45 real points and 61.75 DK points in Game 1. He's still a bit of a bargain tonight, especially if Mike Conley is out again. I'll have interest regardless.   

Paul George ($8,500)

George shot just 4-17 from the field and scored only 37.5 fantasy points in 37 minutes on Tuesday. After three consecutive games valued at $9,000, he's seen a $500 drop for Game 2 tonight. I'd expect him to be relatively popular based on that discount and his considerable upside.  

Bojan Bogdanovic ($5,900)

Bogdanovic put up 29.25 fantasy points in 38 minutes on Tuesday. His salary has dropped to its lowest point in 10 games. If Conley is out, he'd be one of the top value plays on the slate. The discounted salary makes him viable either way. 

Bruce Brown ($4,200) 

Brown got the start in Game 2 for James Harden and played well as he put up 27 DK points in 26 minutes. He would've seen more minutes, too, had the game stayed competitive. The salary is very affordable, and I'd expect him to be relatively popular in this range. 

Joe Ingles ($4,700), if Mike Conley is out

Ingles ended up being one of the chalkier plays on Tuesday when he started in place of the injured Mike Conley. He played 32 minutes but shot just 3-12 from the field and finished with a disappointing 22.25 fantasy points. If he starts again, I don't expect he'd be quite as popular, and that would increase his appeal. 

Luke Kennard ($3,300)

Kennard played well in Game 7 against Dallas and then surprisingly saw 29 minutes in Game 1 against Utah. He shot 7-9 from the field and made four three-pointers on his way to 22.5 DK points. Those numbers should guarantee him another chance tonight, and for just $3,300, it's not too big of a risk. 

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire.
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Ryan Belongia
Ryan has a background in accounting, finance and poker. He's been playing DFS full-time since 2018. A multiple-time King of the Pitch finalist, Ryan's been ranked inside the Top 5 on the RG Soccer Leaderboard for three years running. Originally from Wisconsin, he moved to London in 2019 for the futbol.
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