NBA DFS Picks & Building Blocks: The Battle of Titans (May 4)

Saturday kicks off the second-round of the NBA Playoffs with a 7:00 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 Nikola Jokic and Anthony Edwards, along with a variety of secondary players as premium targets.

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NBA DFS Picks & Building Blocks Today: Saturday, May 4

NBA DFS Picks: Building Blocks

Nikola Jokic: Nuggets vs. Timberwolves

Stokastic’s Fantasy Point Projections
DraftKings: 63.85 | FanDuel: 61.37
Stokastic’s Rostership Projections
DraftKings: 69.7% | FanDuel: 67.6%
DFS Salary
DraftKings $13,800 | FanDuel: $17,500

Minnesota last played on Sunday, when they finished off a first-round sweep of the Suns in Phoenix. Denver needed five games to handle the Los Angeles Lakers, but the Nuggets also have been resting since Monday. That one day difference should not be much to overcome and the oddsmakers have the reigning World Champions as -4.5 home favorites.

The biggest question today isn’t whether or not to play Nikola Jokic, it is how many lineups to make before he is not in the multiplier slot. There of course is some hyperbole in that statement as leverage is a consideration, though only Anthony Edwards is within 20 median fantasy points of Jokic on DraftKings, with that margin sliding to 15 fantasy points on FanDuel, though there is no salary tax to pay no the blue site.

In the first round, Jokic and friends knocked off the Lakers, who of course are powered by a pair of future hall of famers in LeBron James and Anthony Davis. The series also cost coach Darvin Ham his job. In these five games, Jokic averaged 40.0 minutes and 18.6 field goal attempts, with a 59.1% conversion rate, with the first and third figures being personal-highs. He also leads the playoffs with 16.2 rebounds and 9.8 assists, averaging 28.2 points. We know what we are getting here, so there is not much else to add.

Jamal Murray was dealing with a calf issue for most of the first round, so the four-plus day layoff will be good for him. He led the team with 24 field goal attempts per game, but only converted on 40%, which is well below his regular season and career playoff success rates of 48.1% and 46.5%. If his shots are falling, he could break the slate – if we are early to the party it will be frustrating, but will it be more frustrating than missing the boat entirely? Caveat Emptor.

Michael Porter Jr. picked up the slack from Murray, averaging 22.8 points in the first round, converting on 55.3% of his field goals and a spectacular 48.8% from behind the arc on 8.2 3-point attempts per appearance. He is going to draw the attention of Edwards, but that should not dissuade anyone from taking the budding star.

Aaron Gordon provides a slight discount from Porter and while he has upside, he does not always realize it, since he and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope spend most of their energy on defense and doing the little things that keep the big three focused on offense.

Reserves Christian Braun, Peyton Watson and Reggie Jackson should each see between 12-and-15 minutes, with a little upside available based on performance or potential mop-up duty. The core four will approach 40 minutes, but likely end up in the high-30s, unless this is a particularly close game as both teams feel each other out for weaknesses in the opener.

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Anthony Edwards: Timberwolves at Nuggets

Stokastic’s Fantasy Point Projections
DraftKings: 46.4 | FanDuel: 45.26
Stokastic’s Rostership Projections
DraftKings: 36.6% | FanDuel: 46.4%
DFS Salary
DraftKings: $11,400 | FanDuel: $15,000

Edwards was sublime in the first round, averaging 39.5 minutes 31.0 points, 8.0 rebounds, 6.3 assists and 2.8 combined blocks and steals. He and Jokic are going to be the most popular combination, which of course means differentiation elsewhere is going to be key in the first one-game slate that DFS aficionados have seen in a while.

Sunday is also a one-gamer, then we get a pair of games on Monday and Tuesday.

Karl-Anthony Towns saw his minutes increase over the course of the first round, with 26.6, 23.5, 23.8 and then 37.8 in Game 4. The team is going to need him and of course Rudy Gobert do help offset the imposing will of Jokic. The teams split the four-game regular season series, each winning at home and on the road. Jokic was held below his season averages, though not by much. The same can be said of Gobert and Towns, which is what is going to make this such a fascinating chess match between the players on the court and the coaches making moves and countermoves from the sidelines.

Naz Reid did not top 20 minutes in the first round, but he also played at least 17 minutes in each game. His best path to fantasy success would be for foul trouble or injuries to the starting frontcourt. Ineffectiveness from either Towns or Gobert is unlikely to have them bench in the first couple of games.

Mike Conley is at a reasonable salary and he will see minutes in the low-30s, with close to a fantasy point per tick. Kyle Anderson has a more tenuous role, though the jack of all trades could see more action than he did in the first round. Nickeil Alexander-Walker is going to need to make his open shots or he could lose out to Anderson.

Jaden McDaniels will be on the court for close to 30 minutes for his defense, but he defers to pretty much everyone except the ball boy on offense. Monte Morris is a “Remember Me?!” candidate, though it would likely only be in a lopsided game.

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Today’s Top Sports Betting Pick

Nikola Jokic is a core play tonight in the DFS world, but we can also look to exploit the under on his 49.5 points + rebounds + assists (PRA) prop. This is currently available on DraftKings at +114.

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 +102 (how OddsShopper measures the potential expected ROI of a given wager), there is a reasonable 5.7% expected ROI with the current line. In turn, the -115 on Fliff is putative by comparison. Be a savvy shopper.

NBA Bet Pro has Jokic projected for 39.6 minutes, 28.06 points, 12.63 rebounds and 9.20 assists for 50.14 PRA. That is right above the milestone; however, it does not account for variable outcomes, which can be semi-quantified by the 49% win rate for the under. Getting this wager at plus money is also paramount to sustained success.

The hope here is that Jokic gets scoring help from Murray, finally, which has the big man getting more assists, which of course are better for the under on this wager than him dropping 30-plus points.

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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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