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NBA DK Picks 07/31/20

Games to Target

Mavericks (-1.5) vs. Rockets O/U: 228

This game has the highest line in this slate, which isn't surprising considering it features two of the league's top three offenses prior to the shutdown. Houston ranked second with 118.1 points per game, while Dallas was third at 116.4. While there's obviously no shortage of star power — James Harden ($11,000), Luka Doncic ($10,500) and Russell Westbrook ($9,400) are three of this slate's four most expensive options — this game also offers some enticing value plays all over the price spectrum.

Suns (-7) at Wizards O/U: 224.5

Washington is by far the worst defensive team in the bubble, as the Wizards' 119.7 points allowed per game had them tied with the Hawks for worst in the league at the time of the pause. The Suns also rank among the 10 most generous defenses league-wide with 113.9 points allowed per game, and the Wizards should offer some nice value options with the team's best player not participating in the restart.

Games to Fade

Magic (-7) at Nets O/U: 211.5 The Magic slowed opponents to a snail's pace this season, scoring the fourth-fewest points per game (106.4) while also allowing the fourth-fewest (107.3). Considering the Nets possess a below-average offense at 110.8 points per game and are missing a slew of rotation players, this is shaping up to be the night's lowest-scoring affair.

Bucks (-5) vs. Celtics O/U: 218.5 While both of these teams dress plenty of enticing fantasy options, there's little reason to challenge these prolific defenses with plenty of less daunting matchups to choose from. Both Milwaukee (107.4) and Boston (106.8) rank among the five stingiest defenses league-wide in points allowed per game. Positional Breakdown Point guard has the most top-end talent; five players at the position are priced at $8,800 or more, while no other position has more than two such options. The other four positions are all roughly balanced, as each feature between four and six options priced above $7,000.

Injury Situations to Monitor In addition to being without Bradley Beal (shoulder), the Wizards will also be missing Davis Bertans, who opted out of the restart to preserve his health for the upcoming free agency period. The Nets' roster is significantly depleted. In addition to Kyrie Irving (shoulder) and Kevin Durant(Achilles), the team will also be without a number of contributors who tested positive for COVID-19. That group includes Spencer Dinwiddie, DeAndre Jordan and Taurean Prince. San Antonio's LaMarcus Aldridge (shoulder) is done for the season. Kemba Walker (knee) is expected to be limited to 20 minutes of court time at most as the Celtics take it easy with the point guard's injuries. Since Boston's not in jeopardy of missing the playoffs, the team can afford to bring Walker along slowly during the season restart. The Celtics rested some other prominent contributors along with Walker on Tuesday, but the other guys should be ready to fill their usual roles Friday. Aaron Gordon has been nursing a groin injury, but the Magic power forward practiced Wednesday and is expected to play against the Nets. Jonathan Isaac (knee), who hasn't played since Jan. 1, is expected to be available Friday but will likely face a minutes restriction. Dario Saric (ankle) was labeled day-to-day earlier in the week and is questionable to suit up for the Suns. Mikal Bridges ($5,600) would likely carry a heavy load if Saric can't go, as Kelly Oubre will remain out due to the knee surgery he underwent in early March.

Elite Players Luka Doncic ($10,500) is a nightly triple-double threat, and his counting stats should get gaudy against a Houston team that likes to push the pace. The undersized Rockets had no answer for Doncic's combination of size and skill, as he came away with 41 points, six assists and 10 rebounds in his lone appearance against Houston this season back on Nov. 24. Devin Booker ($8,800) should have no problem dissecting the porous Wizards defense, as he leads the Suns with 26.1 PPG. The high-scoring guard also boasts respectable averages of 4.2 RPG and 6.6 APG, so it's not just about putting the ball in the basket for Booker. Damian Lillard ($9,300) has battled some foot soreness recently, but that shouldn't prevent him from taking on a massive workload in the biggest game of Portland's season. As one of three teams currently sitting 3.5 games back of Memphis for the eighth seed, the Blazers can ill afford to lose to the Grizzlies here.

Expected Chalk While Booker does most of the scoring, nobody on the Suns has the ball in their hands more than Ricky Rubio ($7,300), and that should lead to plenty of opportunities for the veteran point guard to rack up both points and assists against the lowly Wizards defense. Rubio is especially valuable when his inconsistent shot is on, and he'll have plenty of confidence in his stroke after going 4-for-6 from deep in his team's final scrimmage Tuesday. Jusuf Nurkic ($5,900) hasn't played in a meaningful game all season due to a leg injury, but he looked healthy and effective during the scrimmages in Orlando. Portland's standout big man averaged 15.5 PPG and 10.5 RPG in the first two tuneup games before seeing his minutes dialed back to 16 in the third scrimmage. If Nurkic is anywhere near full health, he should be a steal at his current price in a critical game for Portland. With Aldridge sidelined, DeMar DeRozan ($7,700) will be tasked with carrying San Antonio's offense against a middling Kings defense. He'll likely surpass his season average of 22.2 PPG and can be relied upon to chip in solid totals in both rebounds (5.6 RPG) and assists (5.6 APG).

Key Values The Wizards are missing 45.9 PPG with the absences of Beal and Bertans. Rui Hachimura ($7,400) and Troy Brown ($4,700) are the best candidates to fill those scoring gaps. While Hachimura is the better bet to lead the team in points, Brown's likely to provide better bang for the buck at $2,700 cheaper. Danuel House ($3,800) should be a nice cheap filler for those who lean into some of this slate's more expensive players. The Houston forward has a high playing time floor with Eric Gordon(ankle) out in what should be a high-scoring contest.

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