Indiana Pacers forward Oshae Brissett
Indiana Pacers forward Oshae Brissett (12) in action during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Washington Wizards, Sunday, March 6, 2022, in Washington. The Wizards won 133-123. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)


Mike Shara

Computer malfunction yesterday forced me to take a day off from betting and DFS and this morning I’m currently typing this from my teenage daughter’s laptop. How long she’s able to actually function without it in her hands remains to be seen, so I’m going to race through this so that she doesn’t absolutely wig out. I have not tried the “I paid for it” defense, but I’m saving that for when I need it. Her computer is newer and works more efficiently anyway, so that may help. 7 evening games to choose from for tonight. That lucky number and a more efficient internet machine have got to make this a good day for us. I can feel it.


DE’ANTHONY MELTON, SG/PG, Memphis ($5,300 on FanDuel and DraftKings)
Apparently, Grizzlies superstar and down-ballot MVP candidate Ja Morant’s wonky knee is going to keep him out for at least 2 more weeks, meaning his teammates will have to take up the reins and roll without their leader for a while. Melton has been among the players stepping up to the fore in his absence. In the last two games without Morant, Melton has averaged 21 points, 5 rebounds and 1.5 assists in just 24 minutes. The numbers would be even higher, but he rested late in Memphis’ blowout win vs. Indiana on Thursday. Tonight, I wouldn’t bet on him resting as much – they are facing a tough Milwaukee team at home. Strangely, the one position the Bucks don’t defend particularly well is shooting guards, especially if All NBA level defender J’rue Holiday is out tonight as well.  If Melton can get to the 28-30 minutes, he’d normally get with Morant out of the lineup, he should be a strong value at his low salary on both formats.

BROOK LOPEZ, C, Milwaukee ($4,700 on FanDuel and DraftKings)
Another value pick who is exactly the same price on both formats today. Lopez’s return from a back injury has been a boon for the Bucks late in the long season. He has played in six games since returning and his minutes have been slowly ramping up as Milwaukee heads towards the playoffs, where he figures to be a big part of their rotation. With Giannis out last game, Lopez reached 28 minutes of court time and while he didn’t contribute as much as you’d like him to, the playing time is encouraging – there won’t be many nights when he’ll miss all of his three-point attempts going forward. Once a few of those start falling, his price will go higher. With several key Bucks players out again tonight vs. Memphis, he’ll get plenty of chances tonight again and he’s too cheap still in my opinion for someone with his ceiling.

OG ANUNOBY, SG/SF, Toronto ($5,500 on DraftKings, $5,600 on FanDuel)
Pretty close to the same price here on both formats, too and with a ripe opportunity to again be a big minutes rotational guy in Toronto. Overall, this season before his finger injury forced him to miss five weeks, Anunoby was averaging 36 minutes per game and was almost a point-per-game DFS player. Against Indiana, his numbers have been much better, where he has averaged 1.15 DFS points in their two previous meetings. Tonight, Toronto may be without Gary Trent Jr. as well, so Anunoby may well be forced to return to his usual high 36 minutes level. His positional flexibility, low salary, contributions throughout the statsheet and soft opponent make his salary today on both platforms very accommodating.

OSHAE BRISSETT, SF/PF, Indiana ($5,700 on DraftKings and FanDuel)
It’s getting weird how similarly priced all of the players I’m recommending are today. Indiana’s lineup has been in a state of perpetual mayhem all season long, with the Pacers trading away big names like Domantas Sabonis and suffering lengthy injuries to Myles Turner and Malcolm Brogdon. There hasn’t been a ton of predictability, but lately one of the beneficiaries of the roster shuffling has been Brissett, who has averaged over 30 minutes per game and been a DFS point-per-game player over his last four games. Tonight, he returns to his hometown of Toronto and will be looking to make a statement in front of friends and family. Kids who grew up in The Six look forward to playing in the Scotiabank Arena against the team they grew up watching. That extra boost and determination, the Pacers’ big lineup holes at PF (Isaiah Jackson is out and Jalen Smith and Goga Bitadze are questionable) makes him a great combo platter today.

NIKOLA JOKIC, C, Denver ($12,000 on DraftKings, $11,600 on FanDuel)
Having The Joker play at home against a deeply shorthanded Oklahoma City Thunder team tonight has the potential to be an atrocity exhibition. In his three previous games vs. OKC he has been a 1.5 DFS points per game producer and the Thunder are currently less cohesive and healthy than they were in those three games. It’s difficult to say he is a value play tonight because he’s the most expensive salary on the docket, but sometimes you have to realize that his salary is the highest for a reason. For him this matchup could end up looking like when an NBA player visits a Boys and Girls Club after school and plays against a group of 7- and 8-year-olds.

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