NBA DFS Picks & Building Blocks: Look to Donovan Mitchell and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander! (January 3)

Wednesday marks the midpoint of the week with a 10-game featured slate, tipping 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: Wednesday, January 3

Donovan Mitchell: Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Washington Wizards

Just how bad are the Wizards? Well, they are nearly double-digit road dogs against a team missing their best point guard and power forward, who are each fringe All-Star candidates when healthy. Washington has allowed a league-worst 123.3 points per 100 possessions over the last 15 games and is averaging 104.3 possessions per 48 minutes, which is also the fastest pace during this timeframe.

Donovan Mitchell missed four games with an illness, but he has been back for two. In these outings he has averaged 37.0 minutes and 22.0 field goal attempts with a 50.0% conversion rate. That has culminated in 30.0 points, 6.5 rebounds, 8.0 assists, and 3.5 combined blocks and steals. In this matchup he is all but assured of clearing 50 fantasy points, with a little luck having him cresting towards a 60 spot.

Sam Merrill (wrist) is a deep discount dandy, though he is more of a placeholder for now and will likely slide down the popularity projections as additional injury reports are released and better values appear. Keep in mind that he is mostly scoring-dependent for his fantasy production, but he is very effective from beyond the arc. Jarrett Allen is in the mix today, particularly on FanDuel where he has power forward eligibility, and anything less than a double-double and a couple blocks tonight will be disappointing.

Max Strus is another tournament option, though his inconsistency from a fantasy perspective can be very frustrating to say the least. He will get minutes, but for every game he gets into the 40-fantasy-point range, he seems to be stuck in the 20s multiple times.

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Shai Gilgeous-Alexander: Oklahoma City Thunder at Atlanta Hawks

Tonight Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is in the sweet spot, not having the same fantasy-point-per-dollar ratio as Mitchell and, of course, not being in the Pacers-Bucks matchup. Quick, can you name the top-3 potential NBA MVPs according to the futures market? Well, not so tricky since we are talking about SGA, but he currently is behind Joel Embiid (+200) and Nikola Jokic (+225) while being just ahead of Luka Doncic (+400). Check out the rest of the list on OddsShopper.

Over the last 10 games, the Hawks have a 121.5 defensive efficiency rating, which is the fifth worst in the league. They should have enough offensive firepower to at least hang with the Thunder on their home court, which in turn means more secure minutes for Gilgeous-Alexander. Currently the 25-year-old is having the best season of his career, and he has increased his fantasy production by 12% over last year. He is among the league leaders with 31.4 points per game while also topping the steals list with 2.6 per outing. Do not lose sight of the budding superstar when things start to get crazy closer to tipoff.

Milwaukee Bucks at Indiana Pacers

Tonight is the fifth and final time this season that the Bucks and Pacers will square off, outside of the playoffs, of course. Through the first four matchups, Indiana has averaged 129 points per game and Milwaukee is at 120.5 per tilt, with the Pacers holding a 3-1 advantage. Over the last 15 games, these two squads have been in the top 4 for both pace of play and offensive efficiency, with Indiana also being a bottom-6 team from a defensive efficiency perspective.

We just saw this matchup on Monday, but do not let those results overly influence your decisions. Giannis Antetokounmpo has averaged 70 fantasy points in these matchups, while Tyrese Haliburton has been in the mid-50s and Damian Lillard in the upper-30s. While Antetokounmpo is above, Haliburton at and Lillard below their respective season-long averages, any one of this trio could be great, average or disappointing tonight.

Khris Middleton is dealing with a sprained left wrist (non-dominant hand) and a sore knee, so he could get the night off. If he does, then Bobby Portis, Malik Beasley and Pat Connaughton will see the biggest trickledown impacts. Brook Lopez has slightly underperformed in the four matchups, though that could easily swing in the other direction with a multi-block game. Bruce Brown Jr. is questionable after missing the last five games with a knee injury, and his return would dampen the fantasy prospects for the vast collection of Indiana wings.

Myles Turner had his worst game of the series on Monday, but he also has a 50 burger on his resume, courtesy of the Bucks. Though, that could be rectified with Andrew Nembhard (back) being out tonight after playing just over eight minutes on Monday.

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

Ja Morant looks good in the sports wagering market with the under on his 5.5 rebounds prop, which is currently available at odds of +105. Per the true odds of -108 (how OddsShopper measures the potential expected ROI of a given wager), this opportunity has an outstanding 7% 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 -113 — a number that is downright punitive by comparison.

NBA Bet Pro has Morant projected for 34.6 minutes and 5.75 rebounds. In seven games since returning from suspension, Morant has six or more rebounds on three occasions, coincidentally landing on six each time. Toronto is an average rebounding team, though the Grizzlies are one of the worst. Morant will get his by being active, but this still is a daunting task for the high-flying guard. In his limited action, he is averaging five boards per game, though the last two seasons he averaged 5.8 across 118 games.

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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