NBA DFS Picks & Building Blocks: Nikola Jokic Is The Man! (April 25)

Thursday NBA Playoff action tips off at 7:00 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. Let’s dig into the NBA DFS picks and core plays like Nikola Jokic, Jonathan Isaac and Anthony Davis, along with a variety of secondary players as premium targets.

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NBA DFS Picks & Building Blocks Today: Thursday, April 25

NBA DFS Picks: Building Blocks

Nikola Jokic: Nuggets at Lakers

Stokastic’s Fantasy Point Projections
DraftKings: 63.59 | FanDuel: 61.27
Stokastic’s Rostership Projections
DraftKings: 18.7% | FanDuel: 21.1%
DFS Salary
DraftKings $11,500 | FanDuel: $12,200

Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets were on the ropes, and it appeared that the Los Angeles Lakers were going to steal Game 2 in Denver. Early in the third quarter, Anthony Davis, LeBron James and D’Angelo Russell had pushed Denver into a 20-point deficit. That lead was still a strong 10 points at the end of the third quarter, but then a miracle in the mountains occurred.

The series is resuming in Los Angeles after a 72-hour respite, and the Lakers are installed as 1-point favorites. Jokic, of course, has the highest median fantasy point projection for Thursday, but Joel Embiid is only trailing by a handful of points. And now the 76ers are at home with their backs against the wall after the reigning NBA MVP just dropped 34 points, 10 rebounds and five assists against New York. In a fun twist, the popularity projections currently have Jokic and Embiid at the same level on both DraftKings and FanDuel, with the 10% discount for Embiid seemingly outweighing the lower median fantasy points projection.

Davis and LeBron will be well served with the 72 hours between games and should have been stewing on the loss for three days now. Not that these future Hall of Famers need any more motivation, but it certainly can’t hurt. Salary caps are real, but with three games on the docket, working in two superstars per roster is doable. The aforementioned quartet are on the short list, while Jalen Brunson is on the outside looking in.

Russell, Rui Hachimura and Austin Reaves are the three most popular players from this matchup on DraftKings, with each projecting to be on just over one-third of all rosters. Russell and Hachimura are joined by Kentavious Caldwell-Pope on FanDuel as the most rostered players from this matchup, and Hachimura (59.6%) is actually the most popular overall on the blue site.

Jamal Murray, Aaron Gordon and Michael Porter Jr. are middling options, with each having a potential ceiling of 40 fantasy points, but good luck figuring out which is the best play prior to the final horn sounding tonight. Christian Braun and Payton Watson are the desperation discount dandies on both sites and round out the viable options for this battle.

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Jonathan Isaac: Magic vs. Cavaliers

Stokastic’s Fantasy Point Projections
DraftKings: 49.33 | FanDuel: 50.01
Stokastic’s Rostership Projections
DraftKings: 38.7% | FanDuel: 37.9%
DFS Salary
DraftKings: $9,400 | FanDuel: $10,600

Jonathan Isaac went from DFS hero to goat between Games 1 and 2, with Gary Harris outperforming him. Which will be the DFS darling tonight?!

There is nothing stopping the savvy gamer from playing both on the same lineup, other than worries about the tricky matchup.

Paolo Banchero rates out well on DraftKings with the third-best Boom/Bust ratio, trailing only Embiid and Jokic, and coming in slightly ahead of James and Davis. The second-year star clearly is in need of some seasoning, but getting a home game could help buoy his fantasy prospects and help propel his backers up the tournament leaderboards.

Franz Wagner is in the tertiary tier overall, but he has a similar trajectory as Banchero without as high of a ceiling or probability of success. Anything can happen in a one-game sample size, and he is another player who would not be a surprise to see sliding inside the top 5 rankings for fantasy points.

Jalen Suggs and Moritz Wagner round out the Magic options, with both being worthy of consideration in all formats. Suggs projects to be on nearly half of all FanDuel lineups, while the elder Wagner brother has the edge on DraftKings, though not to the same extent.

Max Strus looks like he may be the only Cavalier with double-digit popularity on DraftKings (18.3%), making the other starters all in play for differentiation. FanDuel sees each of the starters projecting to be on between 10% and 20%, which is a function of the varied salary cap, scoring formats and position requirements between the two biggest DFS platforms.

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Today’s Top Sports Betting Pick

Tonight we can look to the under on Joel Embiid’s 11.5 rebounds prop.

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.

The under on the 11.5 for this wager is currently available at -115 on Caesars Sportsbook, and with true odds of -131 (how OddsShopper measures the potential expected ROI of a given wager), there is a steady 6.1% expected ROI with the current line.

Move quickly as it is unlikely this line will last. Though that is the beauty and power of OddsShopper find the best lines at any point in the day.

NBA Bet Pro has Embiid projected for 36.3 minutes and 11.6 rebounds, which is just above the threshold for tonight’s under. Of course, that does not account for variable actual outcomes, which is where the 57% win probability becomes a useful data point.

Those who tailed the recommendation for Embiid’s under 10.5 rebounds on Monday know just how accurate this range is as Embiid had 10 rebounds at the end of the third quarter, yet somehow the Cameroonian did not corral a single carom in the final frame. Similarly, this happened the next night with under 5.5 rebounds for Anthony Edwards, who had five rebounds at the end of the third quarter, but he too did not surpass the over.

Now, that has nothing to do with tonight’s wager, nor should it, but it is just a reminder of how tight things can be for available wagers when there are a limited number of games. It is OK to sit out a slate or dial back on wager size — there will always be new opportunities tomorrow.

Updating Monday’s analysis: This season, Embiid averaged 33.6 minutes and 11.0 rebounds, which was his second-highest total for that category in the last four years. Keep in mind that the playoffs are slower and more methodical, with key players getting more minutes but also fewer overall possessions. New York has no problem muddying things and making this a slog of a matchup, plus the Knicks have one of the best rebounding frontcourts in the game. In his last 32 playoff games, Embiid has averaged 36.1 minutes and 10.3 rebounds. To reiterate on the final sentence from Monday’s analysis: This will not be a fun wager to sweat out as it is likely to again be nip and tuck down to the wire, but the numbers indicate it is still a savvy selection at -115.

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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 6:00 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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