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The NBA has been harder than ever to predict considering the injuries/absences this past week. With that said, I have two pretty major calls tonight. The Charlotte Hornets and the Houston Rockets. Both teams are approaching full health with the returns of Wood and Gordon for Houston and LaMelo for the Hornets. Let’s talk about the Hornets first. The Jazz are coming off of a loss to the Washington Wizards two nights back. LaMelo has been back for two games now (the third being tonight) and he’s in fine form. The matchup isn’t that bad. The Utah Jazz have had problems with Ball in the past, allowing him to average 27.5 PPG in two games against them last season shooting 46.3 % from the field. Ball could carry Charlotte to a win at low roster percentages. If this happens, the sky’s the limit for Ball in DFS tonight. GPP play of the night.
Other PG Option: Marcus Smart
The Houston Rockets will have Wood and Gordon back on the court tonight. The Bulls will be without Zach LaVine again. They haven’t had him since 12/11 when they faced the Miami Heat. Since then they’ve had one game which was against the Lakers. In order to compete vs. LA, DeRozan needed to go for 38 actual points. I don’t think that DeMar will be able to do that tonight against Tate and/or Wood. Assuming he can’t, the Bulls are in for a rough night. Gordon, Wood, and Tate will benefit from this narrative. These Rockets carry massive DFS ceilings/potential in this one (at hopefully low roster percentages). This Bulls team is leaning too heavily on DeRozan’s ability to score. Love the Rockets tonight, for DFS and conventional gambling.
Other SG Option: Jordan Clarkson
The Rockets seem to be getting healthier with Gordon and Wood back in the starting five. I expect them to compete with a LaVine-less Bulls squad tonight. Chicago’s biggest absence tonight will be Zach LaVine. As I mentioned above, they haven’t had him since 12/11 when they faced the Miami Heat. Since then they’ve had one game which was against the Lakers. They were able to win on the back of DeMar DeRozan. Well, DeRozan has a tougher matchup against Tate, one that I think Tate wins easily. Many will flock towards Bulls exposure as they’ll be without LaVine, making DeRozan a very popular play. Well, assuming the Bulls cannot function without LaVine and DeRozan unable to score 38 points (which is what they needed out of him to beat the Lakers in their only game without LaVine), the Bulls could be in for a rough night. Who benefits? Tate, that’s who. Expecting big nights from Tate, Gordon, and Wood in this one!
Other SF Options: Kelly Oubre Jr.
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The Utah Jazz are coming off of a bad loss to the Washington Wizards two nights ago. Charlotte matches up very well against Utah. Ball is now back for his thrid consecutive game. He looked great in his return and I expect that to continue against the Jazz tonight. Miles Bridges has played very well this season, when given the opportunity, he performs and the same goes for Oubre Jr. Oddly enough, I think the (likely) absence of Gordon Hayward is a good thing for Charlotte tonight. We’ve all seen Oubre’s potential offensively and Rozier has proven to have the defensive skills to limit Mitchell. Plumlee should start at center tonight, making him a great GPP play if Charlotte does what I expect them to do which is beat the Utah Jazz. Pointsbet.com has the Hornets at +560 which looks good to me. Lock em’ in!
Other PF Option: Darius Bazley
Monitor the Celtics lineup leading up to lock. Tatum is currently questionable with an ankle sprain while Horford, Richardson, and Williams are already confirmed out. Schroder and Langford are likely going to be scratched prior to lock due to CO-VID protocol and many other role players are up in the air. So, what do we do? In times like these, we look towards the most certain options. Brown and Smart are looking like they’re good to go tonight. These two should be extremely chalky. How can we fade them? Good question. Williams is a big-bodied center that Boston will need on the court tonight to compete with Embiid. If the Celtics are going to keep up with the 76ers, Williams will need to step up. Over his last four games, Williams has averaged 24.7 FPPG over 27.2 MPG. I expect increased usage for Williams tonight against a 76ers who have many absences of their own including Drummond, Korkmaz, Milton, Niang, while Green, Embiid, and Maxey have been tagged questionable.
Other C Option: Mason Plumlee
SG Damion Lee