What’s up everyone. Alex here, and I am back with my DraftKings NBA picks for March 8th, 2018. Tonight, we get a smaller slate of only five games. Be sure to follow all of the injury news tonight, all the way up until the 7:00PM EST lock, to see if any new injury news comes up. As always if any of these picks help you win or if you need any advice, let me know on Twitter. @Hunta512.
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C: Karl-Anthony Towns: (9,300) It was no surprise to see Towns have a bad game in Utah last Friday night (20 DK points), with the game being on the road, as the second night of a back to back, coming off a tough loss to The Blazers, vs one of the best defenses in The NBA, in their home arena. Tonight, he heads back home, where he is averaging 5.1 more DK points a game compared to when he is on the road, taking on The Celtics, with a notable six days of rest in his favor. Before the inevitable down game vs The Jazz, Towns was balling, averaging 54.2 DK PPG in his prior seven. The Celtics are tough defense as a whole, but their main weakness is defending opposing big men.
They currently sit at a decent 2.82 opponent +/- for starting centers and Towns’ first matchup vs this club this season, he dropped 61.3 DK points in 42.2 minutes. He only played 20 minutes in the loss to The Jazz, clearly for rest, as he wasn’t dealing with foul trouble, but tonight, with him not playing a game in almost a week, Towns should get right back to logging his 35-40 minute role, with The Wolves still fighting for their playoff lives. 50+ DK points is a fair expectation for him in this spot and he is currently the strongest value on DraftKings, based on his Vegas prop implied projection of 48.95 points. He is going to be a very chalky play (36-40% projected ownership via Fantasy Labs), but Towns is a hard player to ignore on Thursday night, that should be locked into your lineups.
SF/PF: T.J. Warren: (6,500) Before having his minutes limited last game due to a 22 blowout loss to The Heat (32.6), Warren had logged over 40 minutes in three straight competitive games. Even though the spread is ten points in favor of The Thunder tonight, I think The Suns keep this game close enough that Warren gets back to approaching 40 minutes. The Suns really have been playing better as of late and they just faced this Thunder team last week, and kept the game close, only losing by eight points. Also, The Thunder have been struggling and playing down to weaker opponents as of late, losing two straight games, and only beating The Mavs, The Suns, and The Magic by single digits in the three prior contests.
So with the 35-40 minutes I am expecting, Warren has a good chance of meeting five times value vs this Thunder defense that has slipped to the 7th worst rated defense over their last three games, compared to being the 9th best for the year. (2.28 opponent +/-) He currently has DK implied score of 31.5 points based on his Vegas props and I think he is one of the most reasonable ways of getting exposure to this Suns Thunder matchup, that has the highest total of the night, by a large nine points. (229.5)
PG/SG: D’Angelo Russell: (6,700) Outside of an ugly game vs The Clippers, where he only played 20 minutes in the loss (16.25 DK points), Russell has been looking his old self, topping 39 DK points in three of his last four games. His usage has been over 20% in four straight and he should play over 30 minutes tonight, with this matchup vs The Hornets having a decently tight spread of 6.5 points. He is scoring 0.96 DK PPM in his last four games as a starter and with 30-35 minutes of work, Russell should score 35+ DK points, with solid upside vs this Hornets defense that has allowed over 100 points in five straight games and is the fourth worst rated defense over their last three.
Russell already has a solid game vs this Hornet team under his belt, scoring 33 DK points in 32.2 earlier this season. Finally, his current Vegas prop implied score is 33.55 points, which is exactly what we need him to score to meet value. The $6,700 price tag is correct, but Russell is the kind of player we need to take a gamble on, with only five games to target tonight.
SG: Jamal Crawford: (3,900) With the lack of punts for tonight’s slate, Crawford is in play at only $3,900. In the absence of SG Jimmy Butler (knee), Crawford has been logging 26.5 MPG in the last four and is posting a 20.5% usage rate during this time. He has been really struggling with his shot, shooting 33% from the field in these contests, but he has still managed to score 18.8 DK PPG, which is right around value for him at his price tonight.
Hopefully, with him not playing in six days, he can somewhat breakout of this shooting slump tonight vs The Celtics. This a difficult spot (1.59 opponent +/-), but the minutes and usage will still be there with Butler out. I am not thrilled about recommending him, but Crawford at this cheap of a price is one of the better pure punts of the night and has decent upside if his shot is back.
Also Consider: Josh Richardson (averaging 27.6 DK PPG in his last four, is slightly too cheap at $5,300), Kyrie Irving ($8,000 is a nice price for Kyrie, who is coming off five days off rest), Justice Winslow (averaging 31.8 DK PPG in these last four with Wayne Ellington out. Ellington is probable for tonight, but I think Winslow still has a chance to meet value if they keep riding him and limiting Ellington in his first game back), Dante Cunningham (lacks upside, but is a viable punt at only $3,400. He is averaging 17.9 DK PPG and 22.2 MPG in his last three), Kelly Olynyk (is back and healthy averaging 30.3 DK PPG in his last three), Ben Simmons (very tough matchup vs The Heat, but he has a 42.2 implied prop score, which is right over five times value for him at this salary), Dwight Howard (minutes have been lower, which is concerning, but this a tremendous spot vs The Nets who are a high 7.2 opponent +/-), Andrew Wiggins (usage has been up without Butler and he has topped 30 DK points in five straight games, but this isn’t an ideal matchup vs The Celtics, who are 0.53 opponent +/-), Caris LeVert (27 DK PPG in last four and he should he log close to 25 minutes), Draymond Green. (just too cheap. He is averaging 40.2 DK PPG vs The Spurs this season in two games and has a 36.15 implied score via his Vegas props. Oh, and The Warriors will be without SF Andre Iguodola, PF Jordan Bell, and PF David West, which should keep Green’s minutes safe around 35), and Javale McGee (he should play close to 15 minutes with this Warriors front court thin tonight. He scored 23.75 DK points in 15 minutes last game, but the floor is extremely low)