NBA DFS Picks & Building Blocks: Shai and Luka in a Showdown! (May 9)

Thursday brings a two-game featured slate as the second round of the NBA Playoffs continues. Tonight the action tips 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. Let’s dig into the NBA DFS picks and core plays like Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Luka Doncic, facilitated by ample frontcourt value options.

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NBA DFS Picks & Building Blocks Today: Thursday, May 9

NBA DFS Picks: Building Blocks

Shai-Gilgeous Alexander: Thunder vs. Mavericks

Stokastic’s Fantasy Point Projections
DraftKings: 51.84 | FanDuel: 52.52
Stokastic’s Rostership Projections
DraftKings: 47.1% | FanDuel: 44.1%
DFS Salary
DraftKings $9,500 | FanDuel: $10,400

Oklahoma City was in control for most of the game, even when the score was still close through the first three quarters of the game. In the final frame, Dallas waved the white flag, pulling the key players with about five minutes remaining in the game in the midst of a 17-2 run by the Thunder.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led all scorers with 29 points, including splashing 11 of 13 (84.6%) from the charity stripe. The team as a whole was on point from downtown, going 16 of 35 (45.7%) from behind the arc. Gilgeous-Alexander is the only player who projects within 10 median fantasy points of Luka Doncic. Despite playing 41 minutes, Doncic scored just 19 points, converting on a measly 6 of 19 (31.6%) from the field, missing 8 of 9 from 3-point range. This was the first time Doncic failed to top 20 points in this postseason and only the second time in 38 total playoff games.

Clearly Luguentz Dort had a major fantasy impact on this game, but it was manifested by him keeping Doncic in check, rather than the Canadian putting up his own production. Expect more of the same tonight, though as we saw with the minutes trajectory, Doncic was on pace for 45-plus had the game been closer. That makes it a tough choice between him and fellow NBA MVP finalist Gilgeous-Alexander.

Maximilian Kleber (shoulder) remains out, so Daniel Gafford and PJ Washington top the projected popularity lists on DraftKings and FanDuel, respectively. Washington had an odd rotation, not playing at all in the second quarter, though it was likely more of a strategy ploy by coach Jason Kidd than the starter picking up two fouls. If we see that pattern transpire again tonight, then we should be worried about the start of a trend and his defensive shortcomings against the Oklahoma City frontcourt being more impactful than his offensive presence.

Gafford, of course, is a staunch defender, so he only has foul trouble as a governor for his minutes, and in a close game he will be on the court over rookie Dereck Lively II. This trio is very much in play across all the main DFS sites, though it is clear that gamers are price sensitive. Derrick Jones Jr. is a fine discount dandy on FanDuel ($4,300) but not quite as appealing on DraftKings ($4,700), where he projects for half of the popularity.

Kyrie Irving is actually the fifth-most popular Maverick on both sites, though in turn that increases his tournament differentiation appeal.

Rounding out the Thunder, Jalen Williams and Chet Holmgren are the most fantasy friendly but have commensurate salaries. Aaron Wiggins, Isaiah Joe and Cason Wallace are the salary savers, with Jaylin Williams being a cheap lottery ticket.

The expensive lottery ticket is Josh Giddey, who saw the court for a scant 17 minutes in Game 1, down from his 29, 31, 26 and 20 minutes he saw in Games 4 through 1 of the opening series. It will be interesting to see what transpires with Coach of the Year Mark Daigneault calling the shots tonight. Giddey did play in each quarter, but those were his only four stints.

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Al Horford: Celtics vs. Cavaliers

Stokastic’s Fantasy Point Projections
DraftKings: 26.64 | FanDuel: 26.46
Stokastic’s Rostership Projections
DraftKings: 40.5% | FanDuel: 59.6%
DFS Salary
DraftKings: $5,700 | FanDuel: $5,700

Game 1 was one-sided as the Celtics held a 12.15 average lead for the game, pulling ahead midway through the first quarter and never looking back. The final four minutes of the game were mainly played by reserves from both teams, as Boston led by 25 points at that juncture.

Al Horford is not quite the same discount dandy he was in the opener, but he still is one of the best fantasy point-per-dollar options on the slate.

Kristaps Porzingis left behind a big void, and while it is being filled by a variety of players, Horford does get the direct minutes boost. The 37-year-old should get at least 25 minutes in most scenarios, with another three or four within reach if the Cavaliers make this a closer game than on Tuesday. Horford does a little bit of everything, giving him a secure floor, though he does have the potential to crest over 30 fantasy points if he gets lucky with a couple extra stocks, or rebounds, or even by being efficient on his few field goal attempts.

Derrick White has been on a heater, which continued as he was 7-for-12 from downtown, tallying 25 points. In the last three games, he has splashed 20 of 37 (54.1%) from 3-point range, which is unsustainable, but that doesn’t mean the wheels will fall off the wagon tonight. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are solid selections, though there are better fantasy point-per-dollar plays up and down the salary list. Jrue Holiday is in a similar category, as defense and facilitation will be his primary responsibilities, making it harder for him to crack 25 fantasy points.

Payton Pritchard is the most productive reserve because he sees enough run to not be reliant on mop-up duty, though it helps that he dominates usage in that scenario. Sam Hauser should get minutes with Porzingis out, so do not be dismayed by his one rebound in Game 1. He played 17 minutes and the team was +17 while he was on the court, but he took just one shot.

Jarret Allen (ribs) remains questionable, having missed the last 10 days. If he returns, it squeezes things a bit, as he has been gone long enough for salaries to adjust to his absence. Donovan Mitchell will continue to be the offensive engine, with Evan Mobley and Darius Garland chipping in where they can, but Boston showed just how strong it is on defense, holding the Cavaliers to 95 points in the opener. In the Orlando series, the Cavaliers topped 100 points only twice, with 104 and 106, so do not expect fireworks to appear tonight.

The first five can be trusted for minutes, though things get dicey for the reserves. Caris LeVert had 26.4 minutes, but 12 of those came in the fourth quarter, putting him in a precarious position. Tristan Thompson, Sam Merrill and Marcus Morris Sr. all had minutes in the first and second quarter, so they should see similar run tonight, as well as potential mop-up duty — though they will collectively lose around 20 minutes if Allen is available.

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Today’s Top Sports Betting Pick

In a rare recommendation, there is some value on an over for Josh Giddey. This is likely an anomaly in the market, so it is one to act on quickly. The over for his 2.5 assists prop is currently available on FanDuel at -215, while the over for 3.5 is listed at +136 on DraftKings and just +118 on FanDuel. That has the DraftKings number standing out above the rest of the books, which means it is likely to slide back to the +125 range before too long.

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 +101 (how OddsShopper measures the potential expected ROI of a given wager), there is a terrific 17.6% expected ROI.

NBA Bet Pro has Giddey projected for 21.8 minutes and 3.76 assists, which is higher than his last two games, but also reasonable.

This is a situation that rarely occurs in playoff basketball, but looking to ladder these wagers together is not a bad way to go. Essentially, look to put one unit on the over 2.5 assists and then half a unit on the over 3.5 assists. That would basically mean a neutral day if the first leg hits and a nice payday if both do. Yes, there would be a 1.5-unit loss if neither outcome occurs, but more often than not there should be a “net zero” day when doing two rungs on this ladder, compared to just one unit on the higher target.

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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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