NBA DFS Picks & Building Blocks: Joel Embiid + Jalen Brunson (May 2)

Thursday brings a two-game featured slate with an early 6:30 p.m. ET lock time 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. Let’s dig into the NBA DFS picks and core plays like Joel Embiid, Jalen Brunson and Aaron Nesmith, along with a variety of secondary players as premium targets.

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NBA DFS Picks & Building Blocks Today: Thursday, May 2

NBA DFS Picks: Building Blocks

Joel Embiid: 76ers vs. Knicks

Stokastic’s Fantasy Point Projections
DraftKings: 65.68 | FanDuel: 64.59
Stokastic’s Rostership Projections
DraftKings: 47.7% | FanDuel: 30.4%
DFS Salary
DraftKings $10,700 | FanDuel: $11,900

The 76ers managed to push the series back to Philadelphia with a wild 112-106 overtime victory in New York on Tuesday. The Sixers still face elimination tonight, but they are 3.0-point favorites at home.

Four of the five games thus far have had margins of 7 points or fewer. Each team has won and lost on their respective home courts in this pitched matchup.

Joel Embiid has been amazing in this series, with a positive plus/minus in each outing, including three of +14 or better. On offense he has a 50-point game, and in the last matchup he messed around with a triple-double. Oh, and he created five stocks (steals + blocks) twice. Balky knee and all, he has risen to the occasion.

Jalen Brunson has been amazing as well, scoring 39 or more points three times, including setting a franchise playoff record with 47 in Game 4. He leads the postseason with 34.4 points per game and is averaging an eye-popping 29.6 field goal attempts. He and Embiid have been locked in a point/counterpoint battle for five games, and it will continue tonight.

Tyrese Maxey posted a 60-fantasy point game, and while that was in overtime, he had a similar effort in Game 2 with 63.3 DraftKings and 56.8 FanDuel fantasy points. DraftKings has assigned a series-high $8,400 salary, while he dropped $100 to a still lofty $9,200 on the blue site. This is keeping his projected popularity lower than it has been, but he should still be considered a core play.

Tobias Harris, on the other hand, has seen his salary sliding down to a series low after producing more than 21 fantasy points only twice. This is artificially boosting his representation in tournaments since he is now more appealing from a fantasy point-per-dollar perspective. Veteran Nicolas Batum remains a strong discount dandy across the main DFS sites, as is Kelly Oubre Jr. Elder statesman Kyle Lowry is looking at single-digit popularity on both sites, which makes him intriguing with the shallow four-team player pool.

Josh Hart continues to get massive minutes, which allows him to pile up the counting stats. Donte DiVincenzo has remained in the starting lineup, and he likely will be going forward, but he is losing in-game minutes to Miles McBride. New York went with a seven-man rotation on Tuesday, with Mitchell Robinson being the only other reserve aside from McBride to get minutes. He basically split the center minutes with Isaiah Hartenstein as their size is needed to match Embiid. O.G. Anunoby popped off for 17 points, making his supporters happy, but that is a rare occurrence for the defensively minded wing.

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Aaron Nesmith: Pacers vs. Bucks

Stokastic’s Fantasy Point Projections
DraftKings: 28.47 | FanDuel: 28.07
Stokastic’s Rostership Projections
DraftKings: 54.7% | FanDuel: 50.0%
DFS Salary
DraftKings: $5,100 | FanDuel: $5,800

Aaron Nesmith is currently projected to be the most popular player on both DFS sites, though that is likely to change once official news on Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard becomes available.

Bobby Portis is likely to move ahead, as is Khris Middleton if Antetokounmpo is ruled out.

Nesmith has been solid in this series, though his minutes have been all over the place, going from 36, to 36, to 42, to 37 and then just 26 in the last game. Depending on how things shake out closer to tipoff, it may be worthwhile to pivot to teammate Aaron Nembhard, who is less popular with the field but has a similar baseline and upside projection.

Myles Turner and Pascal Siakam are both strong plays, but going this route tends to eliminate Embiid from those rosters. Tyrese Haliburton seems to be over the back spasms that had him questionable two games ago, and this would be the perfect time for him to author a statement game and end the season for Milwaukee.

If Lillard and Antetokounmpo remain out, we know that Portis and Middleton are core plays. If one returns, they are neutral options, and if both Milwaukee stars are available, we have some serious decision points, as the effectiveness of Lillard and Antetokounmpo will be in question. Patrick Beverley remains a core play if Lillard is sidelined again, and it seems that Danilo Gallinari — who has played in just two games this series — well, against all odds (and I can’t believe I am typing this), he seems to have supplanted Jae Crowder, who did not leave the bench on Tuesday. Nothing about this is predictable, nor is pretty much anything involving coach Glenn Rivers.

Malik Beasley made enough shots to stay on the court, but he is at risk of losing time to both Pat Connaughton and now Gallinari if he gets cold again. There are a lot of question marks with Milwaukee, but that uncertainty also means there is an edge available tonight, even with the thinned-out player pool.

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Today’s Top Sports Betting Pick

Jalen Brunson is a core play tonight in the DFS world, but we can also look to exploit the under on his 7.5 assists prop. This is currently available on BetRivers, SugarHouse and Unibet at -106.

By using OddsShopper to do the heavy lifting when researching favorable bets, we can quickly spot inefficient lines like this one, and having accounts at multiple sportsbooks allows us to pivot to the best number quickly.

Looking at the true odds of -113 (how OddsShopper measures the potential expected ROI of a given wager), there is an acceptable 3.1% expected ROI with the current line. In turn, the -135 on Fliff is dreadful by comparison. Be a savvy shopper.

NBA Bet Pro has Brunson projected for 42.5 minutes and 7.52 assists. That is right on the milestone; however, it does not account for variable outcomes, which can be semi-quantified by the 53% win rate for the under.

In his five postseason games this series, Brunson is averaging 43.8 minutes and 8.4 assists. Yes, there was overtime in the last game, but he is still going to play 43 to 45 minutes tonight if this game is close. In these games starting with the most recent, he has six, 10, 13, six and seven helpers, which have him below the 7.5 threshold in three of five games. The hope is that Brunson will be doing more scoring than passing tonight, but it is going to be a slim margin of error to thread the needle on this wager. It still looks positive on a long time horizon, though for those who like surer things — waiting for tomorrow is never a bad strategy, as there will always be more wagering opportunities available.

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Final Thoughts on NBA DFS Picks & Building Blocks Today

Get all the latest news and updates for NBA DFS picks today on the Stokastic NBA Live Before Lock Show at 5:30 p.m. ET on YouTube, breaking down all of the key elements for today’s slate. Brought to you by Sleeper – new users, use this link to receive a $500 first deposit match! 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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