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Matchups and Correlation: Min @ Por and Ind @ Den 1/25

These are two of the most interesting games of the night from both a fantasy and NBA perspective. Denver plays at a blistering pace and given Indiana’s struggles on this road trip, they are only a 2.5 point favorite. Minnesota @ Portland has an over/under of 219, and although it doesn’t look to be as close of a game as Pacers-Nuggets, it will be an exciting one.

My picks in these games will be based on matchup numbers as well how the individual players correlate to those numbers, as well as performance in previous matchups.

Min @ Portland

The Great Plays

Damian Lillard – Lillard is not a player that has very strong correlations but Minnesota happens to do badly in every stat where he does correlate. He correlates to DvP v PG, Minnesota is one of the worst teams against PGs. He correlates with rim protection (an NBA.com stat measuring FG% at the rim of big men), Minnesota is the worst team at protecting the rim in the NBA. In Lillard’s last matchup with Minnesota, he had a ridiculous line of 36/6/6/3/1, a total of over 55 fantasy points on most sites. When the correlations match up well and a player has done well in a previous matchup, it’s safe to say he’ll have a good game again. Lillard’s salary on FanDuel is laughable at only $7,500, and still reasonable at $8,000 on DraftKings. I like him a lot of FanDuel.

The Hmmmms

Kevin Love – Love had a very good game in their last matchup, one assist away from a triple double scoring 29/15/9, but I’m worried about Love for a few reasons. First off, Love doesn’t have any correlations to anything, really, which means it’s hard to predict when he’s going to have a good game. The previous matchup was also at home in a game the Wolves won handily. Bigs usually do better in games where their team wins, since they will continue to feed the post throughout the game. Tonight, they are 7.5 point dogs and you can bet Love probably won’t see as many touches when they’re down. His salary is also around $10,800 on FanDuel and DraftKings. I usually don’t spend on big money players unless I have so many value plays that they’re easy to afford, and tonight I don’t see a compelling enough reason to spend on Love. He may have a 50+ FP game but I’m not gonna bank on it.

Nikola Pekovic – Pek, like Love, had a great game last time around with a 30/9 line and in only 29 minutes! He correlates highest with DvP C and Portland is in the upper tier of fantasy points allowed to that position. I think he’s a solid play, but my concerns are similar to Loves, this was a game where Minnesota crushed and especially for Pek, who’s a pure post up player, he’s going to be hurt most when Minnesota is down. His salary is in the mid $7,000s, I’ll probably be spending that money on another player.

Ignoring the Past

LaMarcus Aldridge – Lamarcus Aldridge has a poor game against Minnesota in December, with a subpar 15/14/3 line. But I’m not dismissing him tonight for several reasons. His highest correlation is with possessions per game, and Minn is top 3 in the league with 101.6. This was also a game where Portland was down 30 at halftime, meaning Aldridge was effectively taken out of the game in the 2nd half leaving most of the scoring in Lillard’s hands. He also took 22 shots, only making 7. In a close game, this number may be closer to 30, and I don’t expect him to shoot that poorly again. His salary is a very reasonable $10,300 on DraftKings, but $11,100 on FanDuel. I like him a lot on DraftKings.

For GPPs Only

Kevin Martin – Martin had a reasonable game at 22/5 in Min’s last matchup with Por. But in the same way I think a game where the Wolves are down will effect their big men negatively, I think it will effect Martin positively. Martin doesn’t have high correlations to anything but the Wolves scoring has to come from somewhere and I think there’s a chance Martin is a big part of it. His salary is low enough on FanDuel at $5,700 where I think he warrants some consideration in a GPP.

Ind @ Den

I’m not going to be fooled by Indiana’s recent stretch of bad D and recommend a ton of Denver players, my focus will be on Indiana’s players. However, there are some reasonable value plays like Foye and Mozgov who could be intriguing in GPPs. There is no previous matchup some I’m going to have to go with feel and correlations here.

Lance Stephenson – Stephenson surprisingly has a reverse correlation to possessions a game, something that’s unfortunate because that would be ones strongest argument for choosing a player vs Denver. In fact, he’s sort of reverse correlated to every stat related to Denver. This completely shocks me but that being said the over under is 199 (high for Indiana) and they need scoring from somewhere, and Stephenson is the true 2nd option to George. He also played well against a similar Denver team last year. He’s cheap enough on DraftKings where I still would want to play him but the stats tell me that he shouldn’t be a priority.

Paul George – On the other hand correlates to pace of play well. He had a great game against Denver last year filling up the stat sheet with a 23/10/5/4/1 line. He’s also reasonably priced on DraftKings and FanDuel at $8,900 and $8,600 respectively. I can’t recommend him enough tonight, he’s a must-play.

David West and Roy Hibbert – My gut told me that Hibbert would do worse in a high paced game but the correlations tell me otherwise. Both West and Hibbert correlate somewhat to DvP but not pace. Denver gives up a lot of fantasy points to big men but that’s mostly due to how fast they play and how little they turn it over, resulting in a ton of rebounds. I think both are good plays if you can get them at the right price.

George Hill – Had a bad game against Denver going up against Lawson last year. I see no reason to play him.

Good Luck Tonight!

View all posts by Max J Steinberg
Max J Steinberg

About the Author

Max J Steinberg Max Steinberg is a professional poker player and a top Daily Fantasy player who uses his creativity and mathematical abilities he cultivated as a poker player to win money on both DraftKings and FanDuel. He already has several big tournament scores to his name including the Victiv Bowl and countless MLB Monster wins. Follow him on twitter @maxjsteinberg.

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