By: Eric Romoff
This Saturday the NBA is treating us to another perfect-sized slate as we’ve got five games on deck and several players I’m looking forward to investing in. Of the 10 teams playing, only two of them are playing on back-to-back nights and multiple teams are expected to see players returning from the health and safety protocols. Even with that being the case, I’m still viewing the betting lines as a bit less dependable an indicator of the game environment and will focus my attention on players with the best individual matchups. I’ll be taking a balanced approach to my portfolio tonight, but there is likely some value on the board by targeting returning players, though that does carry a fair amount of risk.
Giannis Antetokounmpo – PF – Milwaukee Bucks
Jock MKT Projection – 57.76 (1st)
Max IPO Bid – $17.7
Break-Even Rank – 3.15
Let’s not overthink this one. Giannis has the highest projection on the board by nearly 14 fantasy points and is one of the rare players whose floor is closer to 50 points. There would have to be several players all having the game of their life in order bump Giannis from the top five of scorers and on a shorter slate the odds of that happening are not great. Working in Giannis’s favor is the fact that the Bucks have been ravished by injury and COVID and are expected to be without several frontline starters yet again tonight. Looking back to last night, we saw Giannis’s usage explode en route to a 53.75 fantasy point performance. This was despite Giannis playing under 30 minutes for only the fifth time this season. You are going to have to spend up to acquire shares of him tonight but Giannis Antetokounmpo is simply the best play on the board and the overwhelming favorite to finish at the top spot.
Josh Hart – SF – New Orleans Pelicans
Jock MKT Projection – 31.87 (18th)
Max IPO Bid – $8.15
Break-Even Rank – 17.4
Cole Anthony returned from an ankle injury last Wednesday and picked up right where he left off. Despite only playing 26 minutes, Anthony turned in 26 points, five rebounds, seven assists and a steal on his way to a 42.75-fantasy-point performance. Anthony is still carrying an injury designation, though he is widely expected to play tonight. The injury tag really only works to drive his projection down and that creates an opportunity for us to take advantage. Anthony has only come in under his current projection in three of his last 12 games and has delivered a 252% ROI to his investors over that stretch. Tonight against the Pistons Anthony isn’t in the best spot in terms of pace but Detroit is the fifth-most favorable matchup to opposing PGs and are absolutely hemorrhaging secondary stats to ball-handlers. I’m hopeful the questionable tag will keep Anthony’s price down but he’s got the upside to turn a profit even if we have to pay a premium to acquire him.
Isaiah Stewart – C – Detroit Pistons
Jock MKT Projection -20.04 (53th)
Max IPO Bid – $3.90
Break-Even Rank – 43
Isaiah Stewart is one of the many players who recently returned from a stint on the COVID reserve and he needed a few extra “conditioning” days to take the court. In his first game back, Thursday against Memphis, he was clearly playing on a minutes restriction and saw only 20 minutes of playing time. Despite the limited opportunity, Stewart scored six points, collected eight boards and blocked two shots. That put him at nearly a point per minute and the expectation out of Detroit is that Stewart sees closer to a full compliment of minutes tonight against the Magic. This should find him finishing the night in the mid-to-high 20s in scoring with the upside to get well into the 30s with some extra defensive stats. On a price tag of less than $4, that clears the path for a considerable return on this investment and I’ll be prioritizing multiple shares of Stewart tonight on JockMKT.