Friday’s NBA kicks off what should be a string of two-game slates, with all of the series now underway. Tonight contests lock at 7:30 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 for DraftKings and FanDuel lineups, including Devin Booker, Kevin Durant, Nikola Jokic and more.
NBA DFS Picks Today: Friday, May 5
Core Play of the Day — Devin Booker: Phoenix Suns-Denver Nuggets
- Stokastic’s Preliminary Point Projections: DraftKings: 50.43 | FanDuel: 49.31
- Stokastic’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: DraftKings 27.2% | FanDuel: 35.9%
- DFS Salary: DraftKings: $9,500 | FanDuel: $10,000
Devin Booker and Kevin Durant are getting a lot of love in the fantasy world, with Chris Paul sidelined tonight. Each projects for nearly 50 fantasy points, and this duo is at similar salary levels across the DFS industry. Illness, injuries and suspensions have created an unusually robust set of value for this iteration of the playoffs, which in turn has allowed for more realistic decisions about differentiation — as opposed to making a fairly substandard play and “crossing our fingers” that it works out.
Because this dynamic duo is so similarly priced, yet assigned entirely different sets of positional eligibility, we can hope for less full roster overlap. Both players should see north of 20 field goal attempts tonight and each has a baseline projection for 10 to 12 combined rebounds and assists.
Cameron Payne will be the punt du jour, though he has been recovering from a back issue and only played in three postseason tilts so far. In Game 1, he came off the bench for five minutes, and in Game 2 he saw 17 minutes. As such, it would seem that something in the 20- to 25-minute range is realistic. If he starts, that reasonable range extends to the mid- to upper-20s. Pay attention to any hints or clues about a minutes cap heading towards tipoff.
Nikola Jokic: Denver Nuggets-Phoenix Suns
- Stokastic’s Preliminary Point Projections: DraftKings: 62.45 | FanDuel: 58.72
- Stokastic’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: DraftKings 48.7% | FanDuel: 29.4%
- DFS Salary: DraftKings: $10,900 | FanDuel: $11,500
Yes, once again Nikola Jokic is leading both DraftKings and FanDuel as the best fantasy point-per-dollar option. Even on DraftKings, where gamers can roster two center-only players, he rates out a full standard deviation ahead of Jayson Tatum when accounting for positional eligibility.
Denver is heading into Game 3 with a 2-0 advantage, and even though the Suns are 4.5-point home favorites, they are going to be hard-pressed to win, with Paul slated to miss the next week after injuring his groin in Game 2.
Joel Embiid (knee soreness) and Deandre Ayton are the alternative center-only options, and it would take a horrible game from Jokic and a great game from Embiid to even make this a close decision.
Of course, that is how the field is reacting as well on FanDuel, with Embiid (15.6%) coming in with half of the popularity of Jokic. Ayton (36.1%) is likely to be equally represented in tournaments, but he is also $4,800 cheaper, which allows gamers taking that path to significantly upgrade two other roster slots.
This should be a fun one tonight, with plenty of decisions to be made and no clear and obvious path at the center position.
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Additional NBA DFS Building Blocks Pick — Sports Betting Opportunities
Durant is a strong DFS option, and we can also give him a gander in the sports wagering arena. Currently he has a 2.5 made 3-pointers prop. In Game 1 of this series, Durant attempted a trio of triples — however, in Game 2, that number jumped to an even dozen. Now that Paul is out, even more of the scoring load is going to land on Durant, with Booker likely picking up some extra facilitation duties.
NBA Bet Pro currently has Durant projected for 43.9 minutes and 2.14 made 3-point attempts. Though this wager has just a 45% expected success rate, it is currently at +130 on BetMGM , which still gives this wager a reasonable 3.7% expected ROI. Of course, that will take a longer time horizon to realize, but it is still a decent wager to put in for a little action and rooting interest for Friday’s nightcap.
Bruce Brown Jr.: With his ability to slot in across multiple positions, Brown has several paths to 28 to 30 minutes and a solid 24- to 26-minute baseline, with around a fantasy point per minute due to his ability to do a little of everything.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope: Similar assessment as Brown, though Caldwell-Pope has a higher minutes projection but lower fantasy efficiency.
Derrick White: The first player from the Celtics-76ers tilt, White currently projects to be one of the three most popular options on FanDuel ($4,900), with his dual-guard eligibility and “spend-up” options all across the frontcourt positions. Even though he starts, in his last six games he has more than 23 fantasy points on just one occasion, and he has been below 20 in each of the last three.
Marcus Smart: By far a better play on DraftKings ($5,200) than FanDuel ($6,200). Hope for 30 fantasy points, expect something in the low-20s unless he is dialed in from downtown.
Final Thoughts on NBA DFS Picks & Building Blocks Today
Other than Embiid (knee) carrying a questionable tag, there are no other pending situations. Of course, there were none on Thursday until there was word of Kevon Looney’s illness. That type of unforeseen happenstance is always lurking just around the corner. The only other wild card would be one of the teams getting blown out and then the benches getting most of the fourth quarter run, much like we have already seen with Miami and then again last night with Los Angeles.
Be sure to let us do the heavy lifting for you by tuning into the Stokastic NBA Deeper Dive and Live Before Lock shows at 5:30 p.m. ET on YouTube, brought to you by Underdog — new customers sign up by going through this link and r an initial deposit match up to $100.