NBA DFS Picks & Building Blocks: The Joker is Wild! (April 20)

Saturday brings the first day of the NBA playoffs, with the DFS action beginning at 1 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 and Jalen Brunson, with variety of secondary players as premium targets.

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NBA DFS Picks & Building Blocks Today: Saturday, April 20

NBA DFS Picks: Building Blocks

Nikola Jokic: Nuggets vs. Lakers

Stokastic’s Fantasy Point Projections
DraftKings: 63.74 | FanDuel: 60.96
Stokastic’s Rostership Projections
DraftKings: 16.9% | FanDuel: 23.1%
DFS Salary
DraftKings: $11,600 | FanDuel: $12,100

There is no salary discount when it comes to Nikola Jokic, nor should there be for the two-time NBA MVP as he leads the World Champion Denver Nuggets back into the postseason to defend their title.

Looking at the median DraftKings fantasy projections, only Joel Embiid is within a dozen points of the Joker. On FanDuel this duo is separated by five points, which makes sense as there are no double-double or triple-double bonuses on the blue site.

This will be a spicy series, with the Los Angeles Lakers and their future hall of famers LeBron James and Anthony Davis looking to make one big push for a second title together. They do have one of the better supporting casts in years, and though there is a major talent dropoff from this duo to Austin Reaves, Rui Hachimura and D’Angelo Russell, it is still a ferocious first five. Trusting anyone outside the starting unit is folly, but you probably already knew that. On the four-game slate, do not expect the entire Los Angeles bench to account for more than 5% of the featured tournament player population.

Michael Porter Jr., Aaron Gordon, Jamal Murray and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope will be well served with the trimmed-down rotation, with each player expected to see minutes in the mid-30s. Second-year man Christian Braun had a few moments when called on during the last playoffs and he should see around 20 minutes of action per game, making him a solid discount dandy.

Jalen Brunson: Knicks vs. 76ers

Stokastic’s Fantasy Point Projections
DraftKings: 48.59 | FanDuel: 46.51
Stokastic’s Rostership Projections
DraftKings: 28.2% | FanDuel: 26.8%
DFS Salary
DraftKings: $9,200 | FanDuel: $10,000

It’s a shame that Julius Randle is out, but that means more responsibilities for Jalen Brunson. Anything less than 40 minutes per appearance in this series will be surprising, outside of a blowout scenario.

Brunson should flirt with the 50 fantasy point plateau in this matchup as the 76ers do not have any lockdown defenders, not that there are many in the league these days.

Donte DiVincenzo will continue to be the long-distance threat who gets kick-outs from Brunson’s drives, and the former Villanova Wildcat will be tasked with spacing the floor so Embiid does not have much help in the paint. DiVincenzo should see a baseline of 15-ish field goal attempts, with most coming from beyond the arc. Josh Hart is the third member of the Villanova trio and his “do a little bit of everything” style of play always gives him tournament upside. Yes, it is predicated on scoring, which is not his forte – but with the massive minutes he receives game in and game out, he could be a slate-breaker at any time.

Saturday’s action is dominated by center options, which makes things interesting from a strategy standpoint. Embiid is clearly not at 100%, but this will be about as fresh as we see him for the next month. Tyrese Maxey was outstanding this season, making the “loss” of James Harden a non-event and helping keep Philadelphia in contention during the many missed games of Embiid. Things thin out after this duo, and, frankly, the entire team is unlikely to have anyone crest over the 15% level in tournaments on the four-game slate.

It is a tough matchup against New York, but most of the postseason matchups feature that caveat — well, except for maybe the Dallas-Los Angeles series in the West and Indiana-Milwaukee in the East, but that is an issue for tomorrow’s slate.

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Today’s Top Sports Betting Pick

Jamal Murray is a tremendous player and will be a major part of Denver’s title defense. However, we can look to the under on his 2.5 made 3-pointer prop, which is currently +135 on bet365.

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.

Per the true odds of +121 (how OddsShopper measures the potential expected ROI of a given wager), this opportunity has a solid 6.5% positive expected ROI as a function of the inefficient line.

NBA Bet Pro currently has Murray projected for 33.5 minutes and 3.02 made 3-pointers, which is above the 2.5 threshold. Of course, this is a median projection and does not account for variable outcomes, but the 45% probability for Murray for Murray to fail to convert a trio of triples should cement the fact that this wager must be taken with odds of +121 or better.

Hopefully, things will be a little slower tonight, as the teams try to figure out how to best exploit one another. Additionally, with everyone healthy for the Nuggets, there is less for Murray to do on his own. Over the last two regular seasons, he is averaging 6.2 3-point attempts, with a 41.0% conversion rate for 2.6 per game. In the playoffs last year, he averaged 7.5 attempts and 3.0 made troikas, so this is likely going to be a nip-and-tuck wager down to the wire.

In 20 playoff games last year, Murray had more than three triples eight (45%) times and had two other games with three. That means he had two or fewer in 10 (50%) of his games, which makes this NBA player prop worthy of our consideration.

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Final Thoughts on NBA DFS Picks & Building Blocks Today

Get all the latest news and updates for NBA DFS picks tonight on the Stokastic NBA Live Before Lock Show 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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