NBA DFS Picks & Building Blocks: Trae Young + Tyrese Haliburton = 262 Game Total! (January 5)

Friday wraps up the work with some terrific NBA matchups, creating a fun-filled featured slate that tips off at 7 p.m. ET on DraftKings and FanDuel. There are several options in the player pool worth analyzing to find the top NBA DFS building blocks and NBA DFS picks, including some intriguing playing time situations that provide steady value options. Let’s dig into the NBA DFS picks and core plays.

NBA DFS Picks & Building Blocks Today: Friday, January 5

Trae Young: Atlanta Hawks at Indiana Pacers

It would appear that 260-plus point total games are now de rigueur for the Eastern Conference, and tonight we have the Atlanta Hawks heading into Indianapolis to take on the Pacers in a game with a 262 projected total. Indiana is currently on a five-game winning streak, having knocked off the Milwaukee Bucks in the last two tilts to complete the regular season series with a 4-1 edge. Let that sink in for a moment, remembering that each of the last two seasons the Pacers have not been sure if they should be tanking or fighting for the No. 8 seed and a first-round postseason exit.

Trae Young is having the best fantasy season of his career, averaging nearly 50 FanDuel points and 53.3 DraftKings points per appearance. He is among the league leaders with 11.3 assists and 28.2 points per game while also averaging a career-best 1.5 steals per game – which, of course, do not mean he is good at defense, but they are a nice boost for DFS gamers. When these teams met in mid-November, the Pacers won in Atlanta 157-152 for 309 total points in regulation. While that is by no means likely to happen again tonight, these teams each project to score around 130 points.

Tyrese Haliburton projects for the best fantasy-point-per-dollar ratio on DraftKings, and he is third on FanDuel. Jalen Johnson is in the spotlight on the blue site. Bogdan Bogdanovic and Saddiq Bey are each projected to be on just over 20% of all FanDuel tournament lineups, with both grading out as solid plays on DraftKings. Enjoy!

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Joel Embiid: Philadelphia 76ers vs. New York Knicks

Even with both DraftKings and FanDuel shortening the main slate tonight, it is still an expansive player pool. That leaves reigning NBA MVP, and current frontrunner according to OddsShopper, Joel Embiid (+200) likely to be on around 5% of all tournament entries. Yes, there are ample center options, but the Cameroonian still has a top-3 fantasy-point-per-dollar ratio on FanDuel, and he is in the top 7 on DraftKings.

After missing four games and 11 days, Embiid returned in style on Tuesday, dropping 31 points, 15 rebounds, 10 assists, and three combined blocks and steals on his favorite foil, Andre Drummond. Though we should not expect a triple-double again tonight, Embiid had another 72 hours of rest, and this is just his second game in the last 14 days. Where there is a will, there is a way to have him strongly represented in the tournament portfolio of savvy gamers.

Portland Trail Blazers at Dallas Mavericks

The dust is going to have to settle on this one, but there could be some tremendous tournament targets from both sides. Portland will be without Deandre Ayton and now Moses Brown, while Jabari Walker is doubtful. Fortunately, Duop Reath should return, and he ordered up a 40 burger in his last healthy game the day after Christmas. He missed a couple games with a sore back and then was ejected due to a Flagrant 2 foul after playing just two minutes on Wednesday in Dallas.

Dallas is without Dante Exum, which is not a major deal since he was not even in the NBA the last two seasons, nor are the continued absences of Maximilian Kleber (toe) and Richaun Holmes (personal). However, Luka Doncic is questionable with a sore ankle, and Dereck Lively II has an ankle sprain of his own. If they are in, this is a great game environment; if they are out – well, Kyrie Irving just dropped 53 fantasy points on the Blazers in just 29 minutes two days ago with Doncic, and he will have a clear path to an even higher fantasy threshold if he is on his own.

Keep tabs to see who joins Reath, Josh Green and Anfernee Simons as core fantasy options tonight.

Looking for more NBA DFS picks and advice? You’ve come to the right place. Sign up for our NBA DFS Premium Package for access to our player projections, ownership projections and our state-of-the-art NBA DFS simulation tools.

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Additional NBA Building Blocks Pick — Sports Betting Opportunities

Jalen Green looks intriguing in the sports wagering market with the under on his 18.5 points prop, which is currently available at odds of -110. Per the true odds of -123 (how OddsShopper measures the potential expected ROI of a given wager), this opportunity has an solid 5% expected ROI as a function of the inefficient line.

It is crucial to take advantage of OddsShopper to look at all the available lines since that can easily be worth another 2% to 3% for your ROI, even on perfectly neutral bets, based on how the different books value things. To demonstrate this very concept, look below — you can see that several books are offering this bet in the plus money, while Pinnacle, a sharp book, is at -147 — and then the -105 at SuperBook seems similar to the ESPNBet offer until looking closer and realizing it is for a full point lower at 17.5.

NBA Bet Pro has Green projected for 31.6 minutes and 18.74 points. That median outcome is slightly higher than the threshold we need to stay under, and there could be more shots for Green with Dillon Brooks and Tari Eason both out. However, Minnesota has been one of the best defenses all season. Green is a streaky shooter who relies heavily on the 3-pointers, and while he is converting a career-high 35.1%, he has a career-low 40.5% success rate overall from the field, scoring 19 or more points in 14 of his 32 (43.8%) games this season.

Rooting for unders may not be as fun as rooting for overs, but that is where the line value is more often than not when it comes to player props, as the sportsbooks look to use psychology against casual bettors.

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Final Thoughts on NBA DFS Picks & Building Blocks Today

Be sure to get all the latest news and analysis by tuning into the Stokastic Deeper Dive and Live Before Lock Shows at 5:00 p.m. ET on YouTube, brought to you by Betr Picks – new users, use this link to receive a first deposit match up to $500! Full details here.

Eric "EMac" MacPherson won the 2007 Fantasy Baseball grand prize (trip for two to the MLB All-Star game) in the Roto format on ESPN. He won again in 2008, this time in the H2H format. As one of the early adopters of daily fantasy sports, EMac has been providing content for baseball and basketball as well as both professional and college football since 2012 for a variety of websites including DraftKings Playbook, FanVice, RotoWorld, Daily Fantasy Bootcamp, and RotoGrinders. He is well into his third decade of fantasy sports and has a wealth of knowledge and experience. Follow him on Twitter @EMacDFS or contact EMac by emailing [email protected].

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