This article is part of our NBA Daily Games Strategy series.
Monkey Knife Fight is a prop- and parlay-based daily fantasy sports site that offers participants a unique way of "sweating" their favorite sporting events. Unlike conventional DFS sites, there is no salary cap to be concerned with and no other participants to compete against. Monkey Knife Fight contestants do not select a lineup of players, as is typically the case in traditional DFS contests.
Rather, each Monkey Knife Fight contest is based on real-world athletes from a given slate of games exceeding certain, predetermined statistical benchmarks. In certain contests, the athlete's performance in a certain category must exceed that of another pre-selected athlete in that same game. In others, the athlete is simply competing against a predetermined figure in a certain category (i.e., a specific number of points in an NBA game, a specific number of touchdowns in an NFL game, etc.).
As such, the success of each Monkey Knife Fight contest participant is fully dependent on the accuracy of their predictions, as opposed to their performance against other fellow players. Monkey Knife Fight offers a wide variety of contests for each of the sports it covers (currently NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, Soccer, and Golf). Among the most popular are Over/Under and Rapid Fire, which we will cover regularly in this column.
In Over/Under contests, participants win when they correctly predict if a certain number of pre-selected athletes will surpass a specified statistical milestone in that day's game. In Rapid Fire, participants attempt to predict the winner of site-determined head-to-head matchups between athletes in a certain statistical category for that day's game. In Rapid Fire contests, certain athletes that are considered the "underdog" in the statistical matchup may be afforded an extra built-in value boost. That is denoted by a "+" symbol and the specific additional amount -- both displayed in green -- that the athlete will be awarded above the total they actually accrue in that category during their game.
In today's article, you will find a prediction for each of those two contest types for one of Monkey Knife Fight's featured sports.
One additional aspect of contest logistics that's particular to Monkey Knife Fight is payout structure. For each contest, participants select from a wide variety of buy-in amounts, which are revealed once they make their athlete selections for that particular contest.
If a participant wins their contest, their payout is based on that buy-in amount and the preset multiplier the contest featured. The latter figure varies depending on the contest difficulty. For example, a Rapid Fire contest requiring only two correct predictions carries a 2.36x multiplier on the buy-in, while one requiring five correct predictions features a 17x multiplier.
NBA Finals Game 3 -- Over/Under and Rapid Fire Predictions
Over/Under (Pick 2 of 2 correctly to get 2.5x your buy-in)
Buy-in Amounts: $2-$500
Stephen Curry: OVER/UNDER 31.5 points
The Pick: OVER
Curry is average 28.5 points over the first two games of the series, and he hasn't even hit on all cylinders yet. The perennial All-Star is shooting just 39.8 percent overall, so efficiency has been considerably lacking. However, he'll be back in his home floor of Oracle Arena on Wednesday, where he shot 47.0 percent during the regular season, including 44.4 percent from three-point range. And, it appears he'll have a limited, at best, Klay Thompson (hamstring) accompanying him in the backcourt, while Kevin Durant (calf) will sit for yet another game.
Curry sports a team-high 32.1 percent usage rate in the seven full playoff games Durant has missed thus far. And, Curry has generated a massive 39.0 percent figure during the regular season when both Thompson and Durant were off the floor. There's a very real chance Curry's shot attempts get back into the 20s on Wednesday, just as they were in each game during the conference finals against the Trail Blazers. Given the amount of responsibility he figures to have on his shoulders and his track record at home, I see Curry exceeding the 31.5-point total.
Kawhi Leonard: OVER/UNDER 30.5 points
The Pick: OVER
Leonard managed to score a game-high 34 points in Game 2 despite going just 8-for-20 from the floor. A perfect 16-for-16 showing from the free-throw line helped propel him there, and if there's one sure thing in this series, it's that Leonard will remain highly aggressive as far and away the most consistent offensive weapon on his team. In the Game 2 loss, Leonard hit the 20 shot-attempt mark for the third time in the last four postseason games, and for the 13th time in these playoffs overall.
Leonard's 32.7 percent usage rate during the postseason is a tangible example of the massive role he enjoys in the Raptors attack. If Thompson is at least limited to some degree Wednesday -- which would appear almost certain -- Leonard has the ability to exploit those limitations and improve on his 40.0 percent shooting mark from Game 2 in the process. Much like Curry, Leonard will once again carry the team on his shoulders. He may even be a tick more involved than usual in enemy territory. That firmly leans me towards the Over on 30.5 points, a figure he's already exceeded in 12 games during the Raptors' current playoff run.
Rapid Fire (Pick 3 of 3 correctly to get 3.77x your buy-in)
Buy-in Amounts: $2-$250
The Pick: Curry
As alluded to earlier, both players are virtual locks to pace their respective teams in usage once again in Game 3. However, with fellow Splash Brother Klay Thompson essentially guaranteed to be at less than 100 percent if he does take the floor, I see Curry having to up his game even further with Kevin Durant (calf) also out. Both Curry and Leonard will naturally take plenty of three-point- and free-throw attempts while likely profiling as the most offensively aggressive players for their teams on the night. However, I give the slightest of edges to Curry on his home floor, as Leonard's 1.5-point built-in edge may essentially be offset by the fact he still has to contend with Andre Iguodala's stingy defense.
The Pick: Green
Green has been a monster on the glass throughout the majority of the postseason, especially since Durant went out with his calf injury in Game 5 of the conference semifinals against the Rockets. The versatile big man has 11 consecutive double-digit rebound games, and 12 overall this postseason. Cousins certainly performed admirably in his second game back from injury in Game 2, hauling in 10 boards over 28 minutes, but Green matched that total and is very likely to outpace Cousins in playing time by a wide margin again in Game 3. Even with the 2.5-point boost on Cousins' side, I see Green as the winner here, especially considering the Raptors are allowing the fifth-most rebounds (10.8) per game to PFs (including the postseason).
The Pick: Lowry
Green is the more renowned long-distance shooter of this pair, but the reality is that his production in that category this postseason has been hit or miss. Green has come up empty from distance in five playoff games thus far, and he's drained no more than a pair of threes in 11 other contests. He's shooting a middling 32.7 percent from behind the arc in the playoffs overall and even went a combined 0-for-9 from downtown over the last three games against the Bucks in the conference finals.
For his part, Lowry shot just 34.7 percent from three-point range during the regular season (compared to Green's 45.5 percent). However, Lowry is sporting a 35.3 percent success rate from distance in the playoffs and has three or more made treys in five of the Raptors' last eight postseason contests. Finally, there's the fact Lowry has been more aggressive than Green overall from three-point range during the current playoffs – the veteran point guard is putting up an average of 6.0 attempts from distance per game, as opposed to 4.9 for Green. Even with Green's built-in 0.5-point edge, I like Lowry to prevail in this matchup Wednesday.