NBA Thoughts 12/13/16 (Premium)

A few of my favorite plays for tonight’s 6-game slate.

Russell Westbrook — There are issues with playing Russell Westbrook tonight, as there is not, as of this writing, a ton of great value plays on the board. But the matchup here is truly ideal for Westbrook as the Thunder take on a terrible defensive Blazers team in what is expected to a closely contested game in Portland. Vegas has this game set with a healthy total of 218 and the Blazers’ installed as one point favorite. Westbrook has a massive history against Portland and has performed better against the Blazers than perhaps any other team in the NBA. With the Blazers’ defense on the decline and the Blazers lacking defenders who have any chance of slowing Westbrook down, this is a spot where I am willing to pay up for him, assuming at least a little bit of value opens up as the day progresses.

Damian Lillard — With Russell Westbrook required to do so much offensively for the Thunder, his defense (which was never great) has fallen off and opposing point guards have found a lot of success against OKC. We also love that this game has a high total and close spread, and of course Lillard has a strong history playing at home. Lillard’s price on DraftKings is particularly absurd at just $8,300, and as of this writing he’s my absolute favorite play on the entire slate, even over Mr. Westbrook himself.

Jimmy Butler (contingent on Rajon Rondo’s absence) — Bulls PG Rajon Rondo has been declared questionable for tonight’s matchup with the Timberwolves, and if he misses out Jimmy Butler becomes a near must play. His usage and stats climb across the board during his minutes on the court when Rondo is not present, and certainly the numbers bump makes sense intuitively — Rondo acts as the primary ball handler for the Bulls when on the court, and when he is not there, much more of that responsibility fall to Jimmy Butler, who is having a fantastic season. Dwayne Wade also gets a bump here if Rondo sits, though it is not as substantial as Butler’s increased numbers.

Tyson Chandler — A player that many DFSers seem to have written off this year, Chandler has turned in some big games recently, gets a fantastic home matchup against the Knicks tonight who have been bottom-5 in the league at defending the Center position, and the Suns may also be missing Alex Len who can at time steal a decent chuck of Chandler’s minutes as both players have similar skill sets and coach Earl Watson often will give more run to whoever is performing better on that particular night. We likely will not have clarity on Len’s situation prior to lineup lock, but Chandler makes for a decent play at his price point ($4,900 on DraftKings) regarldess of Len’s status, and becomes a fantastic play should Len miss out. He is a better play in GPPs, where if we do not have any more news on Len’s availability, Chandler should go underowned.

Good luck out there tonight! #LetsGetIt