NBA DFS Picks & Building Blocks: Jayson Tatum and Joel Embiid Headline Tonight’s Action! (January 6)

Saturday brings a consolidated four-featured slate with a 7 p.m. ET tip-off 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, including Joel Embiid and Jayson Tatum.

NBA DFS Picks & Building Blocks Today: Saturday, January 6

Jayson Tatum: Boston Celtics at Indiana Pacers

Tonight the Celtics will be in Indianapolis to play the Pacers. This is a great matchup for Boston, as Indiana plays the league’s fastest pace and owns the fourth-worst defensive efficiency rating, allowing 119.9 points per 100 possessions. This is a team that just beat Milwaukee twice, wrapping up the season series between these squads with a 4-1 advantage. For their speed and shaky defense, the Pacers still have a +3.2 net rating, meaning they are outscoring the opposition. Let that bend your brain for a moment.

Jayson Tatum and company are still 7-point road favorites, but there is a good chance that Tyrese Haliburton can keep the offense humming and hang tough for four quarters. That means more minutes for Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Derrick White and Kristaps Porzingis, in this cherry matchup.

Haliburton is a solid tournament play as he won’t be the first, second or even fifth click for most gamers. Isaiah Jackson is working through a fractured little finger on his right hand, but he is once again listed as questionable. More likely to miss tonight are Andrew Nembhard (back), who has missed the last two tilts, and Aaron Nesmith, who sprained his left ankle and did not return to action in the last game. If Nembhard or Nesmith sit out, veteran guard T.J. McConnell should have a path to more minutes. Otherwise, he is essentially out of the rotation, just backing up Haliburton for the few minutes each game when the offensive maestro gets a break.

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Joel Embiid: Philadelphia 76ers vs. Utah Jazz

The only thing keeping the NBA MVP frontrunner — as listed on OddsShopperJoel Embiid (+200) from being the featured player in this article is that this is a back-to-back set and the third game in four days for Philadelphia. After missing 11 days and four games with knee soreness, Embiid returned in style over the last two games, averaging 30.5 points, 12.5 rebounds, 6.5 assists and 3.5 combined blocks and steals in a scant 34 minutes per game. Oh, and he also messed around against his favorite foil Andre Drummond for a triple-double.

Tobias Harris (ankle), De’Anthony Melton (back) and Furkan Korkmaz (illness) have all been ruled out, with Robert Covington (illness) also questionable on the injury report. Tyrese Maxey is also a core play, in this delightful matchup against the Utah Jazz, who have matched the Philly playing schedule over the last four days.

We will want to see what else shakes out, but Kelly Oubre Jr., Nicolas Batum, Marcus Morris Sr and Patrick Beverley are likely to be some of the more popular value options on this short slate.

New York Knicks at Washington Wizards

This is a back-to-back for New York, who cruised by the 76ers in Philadelphia last night by 128-92. OG Anunoby (36), Isaiah Hartenstein (35), Jalen Brunson (32) and Julius Randle (30) played standard “Tom Thibodeau” minutes, but that should not be a deterrent tonight. Washington is one of the faster teams in the league and is also playing a dreadful brand of basketball on defense, where they rank among the dregs.

The Wizards were outscored 254-191 in two games against the Cavaliers in Cleveland. The Wizards didn’t leave any of their starters in for more than 26 minutes last night, with a ridiculous 23-minute high on Wednesday. The hope is that between the pace, lack of defense and standard workload for the Knicks, their key players see something in the 30-34 minute range, which will be enough time to be fantasy-relevant.

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

Giannis Antetokounmpo looks intriguing in the sports wagering market with the under on his 51.5 points, rebounds and assists (PRA) prop, which is currently available at odds of -105. Per the true odds of -114 (how OddsShopper measures the potential expected ROI of a given wager), this opportunity has a decent 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, look below — you can see that several books are offering this bet almost a full point below DraftKings, while Pinnacle, a sharp book, is at -135 for the same under 51.5 PRA.

NBA Bet Pro has Antetokounmpo projected for 35.6 minutes and 35.85 points, 12.69 rebounds and 5.11 assists for a 49.60 PRA. That median outcome is two points lower than the threshold we need to stay under. Even though this PRA is a little above the 48.30 PRA that Antetokounmpo has produced this season, we need to remember just how much the Houston defense has improved, as well as considering that this game being on the road.

It is in Antetokoumpo’s favor that Dillon Brooks and Tari Eason are out for the Rockets, but the defense has still held up when these players have missed time recently. He could also see more usage if Khris Middleton rests, but aside from Middleton, the other variables are currently accounted for by Bet Pro, making this a wager to target.

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 Live Before Lock Show at 6:00 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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