Written by Corey Fishman - DF Insider on December 19, 2017

We’re very excited to be hosting a free contest on PlayLine today where all 750 entries win free money! We want to help you set your lines, so this article will detail how we plan to set ours. With this in mind, we will jump right in to analyzing the three players on this slate: Giannis Antetokounmpo, John Wall, and Lebron James.
The first player we will dive into is Giannis Antetokounmpo. Giannis, also known as the Greek Freak, has been nothing short of incredible this season as he is averaging 29.8 PPG, 10.5 RPG, and 4.5 APG. Giannis has proven to be one of the most matchup proof players in the NBA as he excels no matter who is guarding him. For a normal player, a strategy of ours would be to analyze their individual matchup. However, because Giannis essentially plays every position on the court, his individual matchup often proves to be irrelevant in predicting his statistical performance. One thing we did take note of in our research is how much success the Greek Freak has had when going against Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the past two seasons. He’s averaged 27 PPG, 9.3 RPG, and 5.6 APG in an eight-game sample size. Giannis has come out and said he loves the challenge of facing Lebron which draws our attention to his stellar history against him. Milwaukee is projected to score three points higher than their season average, and we believe Giannis to contribute anywhere from 28-35 points. For his peripheral statistics, the only true big man on the Bucks roster is John Henson who has only averaged 24 minutes a game this season, opening up ample rebounding opportunities for the Greek Freak. We would project anywhere from 10-13 rebounds for him in this fast-paced game. Lastly, we’d project 4-6 assists, but they are harder to project due to the reliancy on his teammates to hit their shots.
Moving on to John Wall, we have a tricky situation. Since coming back from an injury three games ago, Wall has yet to eclipse the 32 minute mark and record over six assists. Your average PlayLine user may see Wall’s season statistics of 19.4 PPG, 3.7 RPG, and 8.5 APG and project him around his averages against the Pelicans. However, Wall has looked very rusty since returning to the court as he hasn’t been as aggressive and he is yet to shoot over 40% from the floor. It appears that the Wizards are still monitoring his minutes in order to work him back slowly, so we don’t suggest projecting him over his season averages in points and assists. The Wizards do get a +2.5 uptick in pace as the Pelicans play at an incredibly fast speed. This is perfect for Wall’s game as he thrives in transition. We project Wall to see a maximum of 35 minutes, limiting his upside, but the pace certainly helps. The Pelicans have struggled guarding the shooting guard position this year, so we believe Bradley Beal may take this game into his own hands. It is also important to note that one of the Wizards’ lock down shooters, Otto Porter, is questionable with a hip injury at the time we are writing this article. If he is unable to go, Wall’s assists will likely take a hit. Our strategy here would be to peg Wall anywhere from 12-20 points, 3-5 rebounds, and 5-9 assists. Generally, the crowd projects players too high, so if you want to differentiate yourself you should project Wall in the lower range of each category.
Last but certainly not least, we have Lebron (I get better with age) James. Lebron has been an absolute monster this season with averages of 27.8 PPG, 8.6 RPG, and 9.3 APG. Without Derrick Rose and Isaiah Thomas available, Lebron has taken on the role of point guard for the Cleveland Cavaliers, and as you can tell, he has thrived. Lebron has recorded a triple double in four of his last five games and we believe this is likely to continue tonight as he should eclipse the 37 minutes mark today due to the close projected spread of 1.5. If you want to go highly contrarian, you can project Lebron for 6-8 rebounds and assists. However, given Lebron’s correlation of racking up a triple double when he plays above 37 minutes as the primary ball handler, this is not a strategy we recommend. Our projection for Lebron is 25-32 points, 9-12 rebounds, and 9-12 assists.
Good luck and enjoy our free DFI PlayLine contest tonight!

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