NBA DFS Picks & Building Blocks: Giannis + Haliburton = 260.5 Point Total! (January 1)

Monday welcomes a new calendar year with a six-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. Tonight boasts a game with the highest point total seen outside of All-Star Games and a second glorious matchup between Dallas and Utah that trails by 15 points, with “only” a 245.5 game total. Let’s dig into the NBA DFS picks and core plays.

NBA DFS Picks & Building Blocks Today: Monday, January 1

Giannis Antetokounmpo: Milwaukee Bucks vs. Indiana Pacers

Tonight Giannis Antetokounmpo has the best fantasy-point per dollar ratio on DraftKings and the third best on FanDuel. It feels crazy to see a mid-60s fantasy point projection, but he has crested just over 60 in each of the three most recent games, and this is a fantasy-friendly matchup. In December both Milwaukee and Indiana played at a top-4 pace and boasted top-4 offensive efficiency, with the Pacers allowing 121.0 points per 100 possessions for the fifth-worst defensive efficiency rating. Enjoy!

Tyrese Haliburton has tallied 55-plus fantasy points in each of the last four games, and he had a team-record 23 assists against the Knicks, one game after he dished out 20 helpers. The 23 tied a franchise record set by Jamaal Tinsley back in 2001 during his rookie season. Haliburton joined Magic Johnson and John Stockton as the only players to have 20-plus assists in consecutive games. Even more impressive, if possible, he had two total turnovers in these games. Tonight he could become the first ever player to have three straight 20-point, 20-assist games.

Khris Middleton looks good, and he has now played between 32 and 33 minutes in each of the last four games, which leaves some profit potential on his rising salary. Andrew Nembhard is getting a lot of projected popularity with his multi-positional eligibility, and he is likely to start a fifth straight game. Moving off Nembhard to Aaron Nesmith or even Buddy Hield at a fraction of the popularity is an interesting move.

Myles Turner and Brook Lopez should thrive in this game, and, of course, Damian Lillard is always a tournament option. This game has the highest-projected point total outside of some All-Star Games with a 260.5 mark, which is 15 points higher than the Mavericks-Jazz matchup … unreal.

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Alperen Sengun: Houston Rockets vs. Detroit Pistons

Currently the Stokastic projections have Alperen Sengun with the best fantasy-point per dollar ratio on FanDuel. He is likely to be on one-in-three tournament rosters tonight on the blue site. Sengun has reached the 60-fantasy-point plateau twice in the last four games, and at some point he is going to pop off for a triple-double.

With Isaiah Stewart (toe) out for Detroit tonight and Houston’s Jabari Smith (ankle) a game-time decision, having last played on Dec. 27 and struggling with rebounding, Sengun should be in line for a 30-15 game, even with Jalen Duren patrolling the paint for the Pistons.

Dallas Mavericks at Utah Jazz

Luka Doncic is questionable with a sore quad, and he has missed two of the last six games. Considering the Mavericks are 3.5-point favorites, it seems reasonable to proceed as if he will play. Kyrie Irving has been listed as questionable for a couple games before being ruled out with his heel injury, so he could be returning at some point. Dante Exum is also questionable with a sore foot in this “Remember Me?!” spot. If Irving returns, things could get shaken up a little, as he has missed the last 12 games. Regardless, if Doncic plays, he is a target for tournaments in this glorious matchup. Dereck Lively II is yet another center for tournaments.

Lauri Markkanen is the best option from the Jazz from a DFS perspective, with Keyonte George and Collin Sexton being neutral plays on the featured slate, and savvy gamers will definitely have the duo with great frequency on the late slate.

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Portland Trail Blazers at Phoenix Suns

This is a back-to-back for the Suns, who dispatched the Magic in Phoenix Sunday night. The starters all played heavy minutes, though the expectation is that Bradley Beal (35 minutes) will play tonight. Eric Gordon has sat out the last two back-to-back sets, but the 35-year-old played both sides of the first two this season. If either is out, it just solidifies the offensive opportunities for the remaining starters, as the Suns have an incredibly thin bench consisting of barely replacement-level talent. That, of course, is the impact of having three players take up nearly the entire salary cap.

Deandre Ayton (knee) is out for a fourth game, so we will miss him taking on Jusuf Nurkic in the paint. The former Portland and Denver pivot man has posted a pair of 40-fantasy-point games in his last two appearances, and he should have no trouble against the undersized options the Blazers will be utilizing tonight.

Jabari Walker played 29-plus minutes in each of the two weekend games against the Spurs and while he has been coming off the bench, he did start the second half of the last game at center. He is a strong option tonight, even if he remains in a reserve role and gamers will be better off skipping Moses Brown and Ibou Badji as they will probably play a combined 15 minutes and they will be entirely out of the rotation when Duop Reath (back) returns to action.

Anfernee Simons (illness) has missed the last two games and is not expected to play tonight. That means more minutes for Scoot Henderson and Malcom Brogdon, both of whom look good across the various DFS sites. Shaedon Sharpe (adductor) is slated to return tonight after missing nearly two weeks, but he may not slide back into a heavy workload, so proceed with caution and the expectation that 28 to 30 minutes is realistic. Another three or four are potentially there, depending on conditioning and effectiveness. Finally, Jerami Grant is a tertiary option on the full slate but someone to target on the late slates.

Additional NBA Building Blocks Pick — Sports Betting Opportunities

Pascal Siakam looks good in the sports wagering market with the under on his 23.5 points prop, which has an intriguing -110 line. Per the true odds of -121 (how OddsShopper measures the potential expected ROI of a given wager), this opportunity has a steady 4% 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, below you can see that the -130 line is posted at several books, and even FanDuel dropped down to a 22.5-point threshold while barely improving the odds to -104.

NBA Bet Pro has Durant projected for 37.1 minutes and 21.42 points. The current available wager has a 55% win probability, which makes getting the best line available key since this wager is likely to come down to the wire.

Cleveland is still a decent defensive team, even with Darius Garland and Evan Mobley out, plus Toronto is going to be working in RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley into the lineup for the first time after trading starter O.G. Anunoby. In his last 17 games, Siakam has produced 23 or more points on seven occasions (41.2%), and though he surpassed this threshold in each of the last two games, he played north of 39 minutes in each tilt.

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 5:30 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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