Whereas last night was a less busy Friday than usual in the Association, Saturday night makes up for it with a giant 10-game ledger. We have totals on the board for each game as of early Saturday morning, but in following with this season's larger trend thus far, we have plenty of suppressed offensive expectations, with only two games clearing the 220-point mark outright. We don't have an excessive number of big names in terms of short-term injuries/absences, giving us a relatively stable outlook in terms of trying to predict minutes, roles and outcomes for players across the board.
Orlando Magic at Detroit Pistons (O/U: 207.0 points)
New York Knicks at New Orleans Pelicans (O/U: 215.0 points)
Toronto Raptors at Indiana Pacers (O/U: 215.5 points)
Atlanta Hawks at Philadelphia 76ers (O/U: 218.5 points)
Utah Jazz at Chicago Bulls (O/U: 217.5 points)
Miami Heat at Memphis Grizzlies (O/U: 217.5 points)
Denver Nuggets at Minnesota Timberwolves (O/U: 222.0 points)
San Antonio Spurs at Milwaukee Bucks (O/U: 224.5 points)
Oklahoma City Thunder at Golden State Warriors (O/U: 220.0 points)
Cleveland Cavaliers at Phoenix Suns (216.0 points)
The heavy presence of the league's top defensive teams on a points-per-game-allowed basis in the early going help heavily guide the aforementioned moderate scoring expectations for the night. The top seven teams in that regard – the Heat, Jazz, Nuggets, Bulls, Raptors, T-Wolves and Hawks – are all in action, as is the No. 10-ranked squad, the Cavaliers.
Some of the league's poorest defensive squads will also be taking the floor, which should make for an interesting night overall and could lead to some lopsided results. Indiana, Memphis, Orlando and Oklahoma City have all of six wins between them thus far, are all ranked in the bottom 10 in points per game allowed. Interestingly, so too are last summer's Finals participants, the Bucks and Suns, yet each is favored at home by seven and 10 points over the Spurs and Cavaliers, respectively.
Injury Situations to Monitor
Joel Embiid, PHI (knee)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
Embiid has already played through this designation on multiple occasions this season. Were he to sit out Saturday, Andre Drummond would draw a spot start at center, and the remaining members of the starting five would be in for significant bumps in usage.
Malcolm Brogdon, IND (hamstring)/ Status: GTD
If Brogdon were to miss a second straight game, T.J. McConnell would likely be in for another spot start at point guard, while the usage of the remainder of the starting five would bump up to varying degrees as well.
Jrue Holiday, MIL (ankle)/ Status: OUT
Mike Conley, UTA (knee)/ Status: OUT
Caris LeVert, IND (back)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
If LeVert's season debut were to be delayed again, rookie Chris Duarte would draw another start at shooting guard.
Other notable injuries:
Pascal Siakam, TOR (shoulder)/ Status: OUT
Zion Williamson, NOP (foot)/ Status: OUT
Brook Lopez, MIL (back)/ Status: OUT
Dillon Brooks, MEM (hand/thigh)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
Jerami Grant, DET (oblique)/ Status: PROBABLE
Bogdan Bogdanovic, ATL (ankle)/ Status: PROBABLE
Bobby Portis, MIL (conditioning)/ Status: OUT
Hassan Whiteside, UTA (hand)/ Status: PROBABLE
Damion Lee, GSW (shoulder)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
Doug McDermott, SAN (knee)/ Status: OUT
Nerlens Noel, NYK (knee)/ Status: OUT
Antetokounmpo will continue to take the floor without Jrue Holiday (ankle) and Brook Lopez(back), and he's sporting a 35.0 percent usage rate and averaging a whopping 65.2 DK points per 36 minutes with his teammates off the floor this season. The big man has also had two full days of rest between games and is coming off having scored a season-high 78.5 DK points against the Timberwolves on Wednesday.
Curry is averaging 56.1 DK points per contest and just put up 59.8 DK points on the Grizzlies on Thursday night. It's also worth noting the opposing Thunder are ranked in the bottom 10 in three-point percentage allowed (36.3).
Jokic corroborated the fitness of his previously ailing knee on Friday night against the Mavericks by logging 25 minutes and putting up 46.5 DK points in Denver's blowout win. Therefore, he should be set for a typical workload Saturday against a T-Wolves squad, allowing the highest offensive efficiency (45.5 percent) to centers.
Embiid is sporting his usual questionable designation, but if previous games are any indication, he'll play it through it again Saturday. The big man is averaging 45.2 DK points per contest and just scored a season-high 59.0 DK points against the Pistons his last time out. It's worth noting Clint Capela and the Hawks often proved to be a worthy foe for Embiid last season, however, limiting him to 19.7 points, 8.0 rebounds 1.0 assists and 1.7 blocks across 24.3 minutes in three games.
In addition to the players just mentioned in the prior section, other likely chalk plays include:
Karl-Anthony Towns, MIN ($9,900)
Towns is healthy and playing like it, averaging 51.3 DK points per contest and already hitting the 70-mark once in his first five games, but the matchup against Jokic and Aaron Gordon down low Saturday is a difficult one.
Julius Randle, NYK ($9,800)
Randle has been in a shooting slump the last three games yet has still scored 42.3 to 68 DK points in that span, figures that should keep him very popular Saturday.
Trae Young, ATL ($9,600)
Young has been more or less where one would expect – he's averaging 45.7 DK points per contest – and even though he's shot under 40.0 percent in three of five games, his name and upside should be more than enough to get him on plenty of rosters in a showdown with the Sixers.
Ja Morant, MEM ($9,400)
Morant is averaging 52.5 DK points per game, clearing the 50-mark on three occasions in five games already. His production will keep him heavily rostered despite a tough statistical matchup against a Heat team allowing the fewest points per game (95.8) and third-lowest offensive efficiency to point guards.
Domantas Sabonis, IND ($9,200)
Sabonis notched 40.8 DK points Friday night against the Nets without Malcolm Brogdon(hamstring) and could well be taking the floor without his teammate again Saturday, which would make him even more popular than usual.
Tyler Herro, MIA at MEM ($6,600)
Herro has opened the season locked in from the field, shooting a career-best 46.6 percent over his first five games. The third-year guard has already eclipsed 40 DK points thrice in five games and is more involved than ever offensively, putting up a career-high 17.6 shot attempts per contest, including 7.0 per game from distance. Meanwhile, the opposing Grizzlies check in allowing the second-highest three-point shooting percentage (39.3), and they've also yielded the fifth-highest offensive efficiency (50.0 percent) to backcourt players.
Wendell Carter, ORL at DET ($5,800)
Carter has scored well over 30 DK points in four of his first six games, and he's put up no less than 23.3 in any contest. The big man may finally be starting to find a long-term fit on a rebuilding Orlando squad, and he's notably already hit the double-double bonus on three occasions while falling just three total rebounds short of accomplishing the feat in two other contests as well. The Pistons could help facilitate another successful night Saturday, as Detroit is allowing a robust 56 rebounds per contest at home. Additionally, with both the Pistons and Carter's Magic ranked in the bottom 10 in team shooting percentage, there should be plenty of opportunities on the glass on both ends of the floor for Carter.
George Hill, MIL vs. SAN ($3,600)
As mentioned earlier, Hill will draw another start at point guard for Jrue Holiday (ankle) on Saturday night, facing one of his many former clubs in the Spurs. San Antonio has struggled to defend point guards early, allowing the 10th-highest offensive efficiency (26.0 percent) to the position. Hill's salary is just a few hundred dollars above minimum, and although he's not very involved offensively, he's still posted over 20 DK points in three straight games while drawing starts for Holiday. Another similar return in Saturday's favorable matchup will undoubtedly be more than adequate at his salary.
ALSO CONSIDER: Desmond Bane, MEM vs. MIA ($5,300)