NBA DFS Picks & Building Blocks: Value Abounds Tonight, Courtesy of Trades + Injuries (January 18)

Thursday has a five-game featured slate tipping off at 7:30 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 like Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

NBA DFS Picks & Building Blocks Today: Thursday, January 18

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Shai Gilgeous-Alexander: Oklahoma City Thunder at Utah Jazz

This will be the third game in four days for Oklahoma City, as the Thunder are on the third tilt of their four-game road trip. OKC lost to each of the Los Angeles teams, though Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and company still have the second-best winning percentage in the Western Conference. SGA played 34 minutes in each of the two proceeding games, which is right in line with his typical run. He has made another leap forward this season, with a near-7% increase in his fantasy production over last year, despite playing one fewer minute per game. He is converting a career-high 55.2% of his field goal attempts and posting another career high with his 6.3 assists per game, and he is leading the league with 2.3 steals per appearance.

Chet Holmgren also stands out on both DraftKings and FanDuel, being projected to populate around 20% of all tournament lineups. Foul trouble over the last two games had him somewhat tentative, and it has been four games since his last trip to the 40-fantasy-point plateau. This is a good opportunity for Holmgren to end that skid, as he has a median fantasy projection of just over 40 fantasy points tonight.

Keep tabs on the injury news for the Thunder as they currently have four players on the team listed as questionable due to an illness. Currently the list includes Luguentz Dort, Tre Mann, Keyontae Johnson and Ousmane Dieng.

Marvin Bagley III: Washington Wizards at New York Knicks

Tonight both Marvin Bagley III and Isaiah Livers are expected to make their debut for Washington. Daniel Gafford is in the concussion protocol, so things are lining up for Bagley to likely draw the start and potentially play north of the 24.3 minutes that Stokastic currently has for his projection. The second-overall selection in the 2018 NBA Draft has never quite panned out as expected, but he is moving to a less crowded frontcourt than where he was with Detroit. In his time with the Pistons and his first stop with the Sacramento Kings, Bagley has always been a strong per-minute fantasy producer. Injuries, foul trouble and inconsistent effort have combined to keep him from ever quite breaking through into a steady contributor.

The trade with Detroit saw two second-round picks accompany Bagley and Livers for a return of Mike Muscala and Danilo Gallinari. This was a move designed to create some extra cap space for the Pistons in anticipation of a larger move while giving the Wizards a chance to kick the proverbial tires on a couple of young players. Bagley is in the middle of the three-year deal he signed with the Pistons, so it is likely the Wizards will keep him around as part of the frontcourt rotation. Livers is a restricted free agent next year, so it is unlikely he will be in Washington after this year and hard to envision him really breaking out much as a 25-year-old, though he could be the fourth guard and injury depth.

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Toronto Raptors vs. Chicago Bulls

Yesterday the Raptors and Pacers completed a trade that is moving Pascal Siakam to Indiana, while Bruce Brown Jr. and Jordan Nwora head north to Toronto, along with a trio of first-round picks.

Yesterday the Raptors demolished the Miami Heat 121-97, with Scottie Barnes playing 34 minutes, RJ Barrett getting a team-high 36, Gary Trent Jr. 31 and Immanuel Quickley 30. Jontay Porter drew the start, but he played only 18 minutes, and on Monday in his first career outing with the first five, he had just 15 minutes of run. Fouls have been a bit of an issue, so it makes sense to also consider veteran Thaddeus Young off the bench as another value option. Dennis Schroder should also see 26 to 28 minutes running the second team and potentially making the closing lineup if the game is close down the stretch. Toronto splashed 20 of 38 (52.6%) from beyond the arc, while Miami was just 6-for-28 (21.4%), otherwise this would have been a much closer game.

The top 6 for Chicago look good tonight, with this being the third game in four days for the Raptors. Patrick Williams (ankle) is a decent option if he suits up, while Nikola Vucevic, Coby White, DeMar DeRozan, Zach LaVine and Alex Caruso all are neutral to secondary targets, depending on your DFS site of choice.

Indiana Pacers at Sacramento Kings

Tyrese Haliburton (hamstring) is out, while Obi Toppin (calf), Aaron Nesmith (shin) and Benedict Mathurin (ankle) are questionable. The latter two did at least practice, so there is a reasonable chance they will be available tonight. The team did run out 14 players in the last game, so there will be bodies available, but this included Nwora (who was traded) and James Johnson (who was released) but not Brown (who was out).

Sacramento is still just an 8-point favorite, but this, of course, could end up being a lopsided game. Though, as we saw with the Raptors and Heat, variance of any type can strike at any time. Sadly, we will not get to see De’Aaron Fox go against his protege Haliburton, but for those looking for a little extra motivation, Domantas Sabonis is taking on his most recent former team. Setting that aside, he is a near-lock for a double-double every night and a triple-double threat as well. The rebound king is leading the league for a second straight season, this time with a career-high 12.7 caroms per contest.

Fox looks good on both sites, with Keegan Murray (hip) and Malik Monk joining him on DraftKings.

Additional NBA DFS Pick — Sports Betting Opportunities

Gilgeous-Alexander is a premium option tonight in the DFS world, but we can still look to the under on his 31.5 points prop tonight. The line is currently available at +100, and per the true odds of -112 (how OddsShopper measures the potential expected ROI of a given wager), this opportunity has a stellar 6% 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 sharp book Pinnacle is coming in at -128 on under 31.5 points, which is far shorter than the “even money” odds BetRivers and Tipico are currently offering.

Gilgeous-Alexander is averaging 31.0 points per game, which is the fourth most in the league, and last year he held the same spot with 31.4 points per game. The budding superstar has tallied 32 or more points in 21 of his 39 (53.8%) games this season. That is why it is imperative to get the +100 line, which should prove out as advantageous over a long-term time horizon.

NBA Bet Pro currently has SGA projected for 34.1 minutes and 30.83. That median projection is a little below the minimum threshold, though obviously there is a chance he could obliterate the over in three quarters or the game could be lopsided and he may not get his full run. The models indicate there is a 53% win probability on this wager, which accounts for a varied range of outcomes.

Here is a terrific video from Dave “Loughy” Loughran on OddsShopper breaking down why it is important to consider wagering on unders.

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 5:30 p.m. ET on YouTube, brought to you by BetMGM– new users, use this link to receive $158 in Bonus Bets when you bet $5 ahead of Super Bowl 58! Full details here.0

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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