Picks for the FanDuel and DraftKings Thursday Night NBA Contests – January 18

Picks for the FanDuel and DraftKings Thursday Night NBA Contests – January 18

This may be a small four game slate, but it should provide plenty of action with four of the top seven scoring teams, and four of the top eight pace teams active.

Despite the top two teams in the East being active, the most intriguing game of the night has to be Minnesota at Houston. Minnesota is trending up in a big way, while Houston enters this game 5-5 in their last 10.

While they go about it much differently, both teams are in the top three in offensive efficiency, and somehow Minnesota is 6th in the NBA in scoring despite being 23rd in pace. The Wolves are 9-1 in division, but are an abysmal 11-11 on the road.

Boston gets the biggest pace boost against Philly, but it’s Cleveland that has the night’s top matchup if you look at pace + defensive efficiency.

All that being said, there are your typical defense vs position matchups worth exploiting: bigs vs Indiana, bigs vs Cleveland, anyone vs Isaiah Thomas… Keeping all that in mind, here are our favorite plays for tonight’s four game slate on FanDuel and DraftKings.

Point Guards

Elfrid Payton

FanDuel Price – $6,700
DraftKings Price – $6,400

Payton has to be licking his chops at this matchup. He put up 33 FanDuel points against the Cavs in a game where Thomas only played 21 minutes last week, so expect him to top that number tonight. For whatever reason, Payton has actually shot the ball significantly better on the road this season so the game being in Cleveland could actually be a positive for him.

Terry Rozier

FanDuel Price – $4,000
DraftKings Price – $4,700

It’s no secret that Rozier has been killing it over the past month, and that has been with a full arsenal of Celtics players around him. If either Smart or Irving (or both) are limited tonight, Rozier could see an uptick in minutes which he has proven fully capable of parlaying into a 8x+ performance. The matchup is obviously appealing as the 76ers are in the bottom half of the league vs both PG and SG, and play at the second highest pace in the league.

Shooting Guards

Andrew Wiggins

FanDuel Price – $6,200
DraftKings Price – $5,800

Wiggins has obviously taken a backseat to Butler this season, but we expect him to pick up his productivity in a game with the uptempo Rockets, who will be rolling out their ‘B’ group of wings with Trevor Ariza and Gerald Green both suspended and Harden on a minutes restriction. When Harden is in the game, it will likely be Butler that draws the assignment, hopefully keeping Wiggins out of foul trouble.

Dwayne Wade

FanDuel Price – $5,200
DraftKings Price – $4,800

This obviously a great matchup, the Magic gave up over 61 PPG to the SG position in their last two games, and Wade has looked particularly spry in January picking up both his rebounding and assist output. He’s only played once in the past 7 days so expect him to see his full 25 minutes tonight. At just $5,200, he’s hit 5x in 3 of his last 4 games and 7 of his last 10.

Small Forwards

Lebron James

FanDuel Price – $12,500
DraftKings Price – $11,300

Lebron doesn’t generally make our articles, but he has actually hit the 60 point mark, which would be our target for him tonight, in roughly 50% of his last 20 games. With Harden on a minutes restriction, James is clearly the top player in the slate.

Jaylen Brown

FanDuel Price – $5,700
DraftKings Price – $5,900

Brown has been on fire as of late, hitting 5x value in 4 of 6 games. He is contributing across the board, picking up his points/rebounds/assists while adding multiple steals and blocks in four of his last six games as well. He put up 36 DraftKings points against the 76ers last week, a game where he had just 4 rebounds and 2 assists. I think he tops 40 tonight, and like Rozier could benefit from a limited Irving and/or Smart.

Power Forwards

Aaron Gordon

FanDuel Price – $7,500
DraftKings Price – $7,500

Gordon was hurt, then benched for disciplinary reasons, but has played back to back 38 minute games and appears ready to get back to the form we saw him in earlier in the year. No better time than the present as he matches up with a Cavs team that is in the bottom 6 in DvP against opposing SF/PF/C this season.

Luc Mbah a Moute

FanDuel Price – $3,500
DraftKings Price – $3,200

Mbah a Moute returned to action and immediately saw 26 minutes of playing time on Monday, and should see even more PT and usage with both Ariza and Green out and Harden limited. I expect to see high ownership % for Gordon and Tucker, but will have my shares of Mbah a Moute who is way more active on the glass and defensive end than either Gordon or Tucker.


Jusuf Nurkic

FanDuel Price – $6,500
DraftKings Price – $6,400

The Pacers have been atrocious against opposing centers all season, and I don’t expect that to improve anytime soon with Turner out for at least another week. Nurkic’s production has been matchup-dependent all season, and there isn’t a better matchup than the one he has tonight.

Top Punts for Tonight

Amir Johnson
Mario Hezonja
Jerryd Bayless
PJ Tucker
Cory Joseph

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