This article is part of our DraftKings NBA series.
Basketball is back! Tonight's six-game slate gives us a full complement of elites along with some decent values that got lost in the shuffle right before the All-Star break.
MIL (-13) @ DET, O/U: 225.5
MIA (-6.5) @ ATL, O/U: 231
PHI (-8.5) vs. BKN, O/U: 215.5
CHI (-5) vs. CHA, O/U: 210.5
SAC (-0.5) vs. MEM, O/U: 229
HOU (-10) vs. GS, O/U: 233
Four of the six games have excellent implied totals tonight, with the HOU/GS taking the top spot. I'm high on both sides of that matchup, and also like options in Philly and Miami. While I won't mention many Kings, there are a few worth considering beyond De'Aaron Fox, who makes an appearance below.
INJURY SITUATIONS TO MONITOR
Aside from ongoing injury situations that were already present before All-Star break, the slate is mostly free from any pressing news worth mentioning. If you need a refresher on worthwhile pivots for these spots, our player notes will assist you.
This should be a very exploitable situation for the Rockets, so you should consider exposure to these guys despite the heavy price tag. The glaring difference between the two players is their recent history against the Warriors. While Harden has been his usual self against Golden State (66 DKFP average over two games), Westbrook has struggled by his standards, with a two-game average of 46 DKFP. Most of his struggles came from going a dreadful 1-for-11 from beyond the arc across the two games, so we should expect a bit of a course correction in that department. Tonight I think the usual price gap between the two won't make up for the production dip in Westbrook's case, so I ultimately favor spending up for Harden.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, MIL ($11,100) @ DET
While Giannis' two-game average against the Pistons dips well below value, Detroit is a vastly different squad without Andre Drummond in the fold. The team has given up big games to the likes of Aaron Gordon, Julius Randle and Danilo Gallinari in their most recent contests, which is an indication that Christian Wood and Thon Maker aren't cutting the mustard defensively, especially against opposing power forwards. I would proceed with a hint of caution because the price tag is just a bit too high in relation to Giannis' baseline, but I'm fine with him as a GPP upside candidate in this matchup.
Joel Embiid, PHI ($9,000) vs. BKN
Even though the Sixers and Nets have squared off three times, Embiid has miraculously managed to avoid all three of these contests, although two of them occurred while Embiid was sidelined with a hand injury. A new report that he is shedding the splint from his finger moving forward is an encouraging sign, and Embiid's presence should help turn the tide against the Nets, who convincingly beat the Sixers twice. Let's just hope he shows a bit more interest in this game than he did during the festivities in Chicago – his lack of hustle and overall demeanor during the game left a bit to be desired.
EXPECTED CHALK AND OTHER TARGETS
Bam Adebayo, MIA ($7,800) @ ATL
The Hawks can't wait to get Clint Capela in the lineup, but in the meantime they'll settle for Dewayne Dedmon, who has some familiarity with Atlanta's system. Dedmon and John Collins will have their work cut out for them against Adebayo, whose three-game average against the Hawks comes just under a value-crushing 50 DKFP. The Heat are favored and the O/U sits at a surprisingly high 231, making Bam one of the most appealing centers on the slate tonight.
Andrew Wiggins, GS ($7,600) vs. HOU
Houston is an offensive juggernaut but they still can't play defense. The way to beat them is to outscore them, and while that's no easy task, I think Wiggins presents them with the best chance at a surprise victory. The Rockets rank an abysmal 30th against Wiggins' position, and while his numbers as a Timberwolf weren't spectacular against them, Wiggins is now the Warriors' centerpiece on both ends of the ball – at least until Steph Curry comes back. I expect a heavy workload and a good dose of production from Wiggins tonight.
De'Aaron Fox, SAC ($7,400) vs. MEM
Fox definitely likes playing the Grizzlies. Fox put up two of his best games of the season against Memphis, and I see no reason for a deviation from continued success. I'll admit that I tried to take myself off the Kings but I kept coming back to Fox on a night where value guards seem a bit hard to come by (at least ones to rely on). At this price, we don't even need him to break 40 DKFP to meet value, and based on his totals against Memphis, there's cause to expect far more than 40.
Marquese Chriss, GS ($6,200) vs. HOU
Lest we forget, it's now the small-ball era in Houston, so in the remaining months of the season we should give opposing centers a serious look when the Rockets are playing. Chriss has been given the green light in San Francisco, and he's responded extremely well to his new digs in the starting five. Although he's had a couple of clunkers, he's averaging a solid 14.3 points, 6.7 rebounds and 2.0 blocks through nine games as the starter. He's also a complete size mismatch for the Rockets, who have essentially abandoned a desire to protect the rim.
Robert Covington, HOU ($5,500) @ GS
I needed to check my eyesight on this one, but my prescription was on point – Covington is actually this low. His spike into the 6k range was all too brief, so it seems that a couple of mediocre outings have slid him into a price range that's difficult to ignore. He's especially attractive in a fast-paced game where the Rockets may be without Eric Gordon (leg), and even if Gordon plays, his minutes will likely be curtailed. Covington's defensive superiority shines in the secondary categories, with averages of 6.3 rebounds, 1.8 steals and 1.8 blocks since becoming a Rocket. I also would consider exposure to Danuel House ($4,600) in a similar capacity.
Josh Richardson, PHI ($4,200) vs. BKN
Richardson still hasn't gotten his due salary-wise since returning from injury. His 21/5 line against the Clippers only moved the needle $400 more right before the All-Star break, so it's reasonable to assume that the Sixers want to get him back to normal production as they make a run for the playoffs. Shake Milton is not the answer in Philly, but the Simmons/Richardson backcourt is the correct formula.
Jordan Poole, GS ($4,000) vs. HOU
The battle for the starting point guard spot in the wake of D'Angelo Russell's departure is still in flux, but for now it appears that Poole is the favored choice over Ky Bowman. Poole will likely hold down the fort until Curry returns, so at this price Poole could be worthwhile if he can generate enough assist totals to be relevant. He only needs 20 DKFP to reach 5x value, and he's exceeded that number in four straight games.
Luke Kornet, CHI ($3,700) vs. CHA
This pick is not without risk, and you might have an equally easy time moving over to PJ Washington ($4,500) or Cody Zeller ($4,500) on the opposite end of this matchup, but it's the sheer lack of competition at center that keeps me on the Chicago side of this game. With Chandler Hutchison (shoulder) and Wendell Carter (ankle) still sidelined, the Bulls' interior is owned by Kornet in the short term, and since it's only necessary for Kornet to post a DKFP number in the high teens to beat value, he appears to be a great value against a team with a weak frontcourt game.