This article is a breakdown of the three-stat contest on PlayLine tonight that includes the million dollar perfect line bonus. If you’re new to PlayLine, that means if you perfectly predict the stats of Anthony Davis, James Harden, and Russell Westbrook, PlayLine will give you a million dollars! You can click here to go to the contest. Now let’s dive into the projections you should make to potentially win that jackpot.
We’ll start with Anthony Davis who has become the focal point of the Pelicans’ offense now that Demarcus Cousins is out for the season with a torn achilles. Davis has been an absolute animal of late. In his last six games, he is averaging 41.5 PPG, 15 RPG, and 2 APG. Today he’ll receive a matchup against the San Antonio Spurs in what is a close projected spread of 4.5 points. So the big question here is, will Anthony Davis finally come back to Earth in a tough matchup? Well, today could be that day, but the matchup isn’t quite as bad as people think. Pau Gasol is doubtful which essentially leaves the trio of Davis Bertans, Lamarcus Aldridge, and Joffrey Lauvergne to try and slow down the big man. With Pau Gasol off the court, the San Antonio Spurs defensive rating drops from 100.9 to 103.3, which is much closer to league average. The only other player who affects the Spurs’ defense more than Gasol is DeJounte Murray. As we mentioned earlier, Anthony Davis has been averaging 41.5 PPG over his last six and he has been doing this by attempting 28 shots per game in this span. With a much weaker interior defense without Pau, and Davis seeing a usage rate of 40% in two of the past three games, we believe it is safe to assume the offense will still run through Anthony Davis. However, with this game being in San Antonio, the pace will likely slow down which will affect the upside of Davis. He has scored over 30 points once in his career against the Spurs and while he will be a usage monster, today may finally be the day where we can project him for closer to 29-33 points as we believe this game will be a low-scoring affair. As for his rebounds, a projection of 11-14 makes the most sense for us as he likely has a floor of 11 rebounds. And lastly, a projection of two assists is the safest way to go as he has been averaging two over his last seven games and it still allows us to get the bonus points if he gets one or three.
Next, we’ll move on to James Harden who has a juicy matchup against the Los Angeles Clippers. One quick thing to take note of is that Eric Gordon will likely be back from sitting out with an illness which will cut into the scoring upside of James Harden. Many people may look at Harden’s earlier 51 point game against the Clippers this year and assume he will do something similar. However, both Clint Capela and Chris Paul were unavailable for this contest. Another interesting note about this game is that we have a slight narrative situation as Chris Paul returns to LA. While by no means does that guarantee him to have a career night, we can assume he’ll want to put on a show in a “revenge” game. Moving back to Harden, in his last four games against the Clippers, he averaged 30 PPG, 7 RPG, and 8 APG. Interestingly enough, while this sample is a bit skewed, these numbers are right along the lines of his seasons averages this year. Tonight we believe Harden will score between 30-34 points, and accrue 6-8 rebounds as well as 7-9 assists. The Clippers allow the 3rd most rebounds to opposing SGs and the 7th most assists. For those of you who want to take a bold risk, last game between these two teams nearly ended in an all-out brawl. Tempers may flare up easily tonight and if you are multi-entering, it may be worth a shot at projecting Harden lower than usual should the game get chippy and something wild occur like a fight that involves the beard. That’s highly unlikely though and for a three-entry contest it’s probably not worth using an entry on that narrative.
Lastly, we will move on to Russell Westbrook who receives a matchup with the tanking (per Mark Cuban) Dallas Mavericks. Westbrook is having his usual dominant season with averages of 24.8 PPG, 9.6 RPG, and 10.8 APG. In three games against Dallas this season, Westbrook has absolutely crushed with 31 PPG, 11 RPG, and 8.3 APG. However, what sticks out to us is that Westbrook’s best performance against them was a 116-113 win where he went for 38 points, 15 rebounds, and 11 assists. In the other two games, he failed to record a triple double. The Mavericks have shown that they want to give their young guys extra minutes to close out games which limits the probability that this one stays a close game. Vegas does have this game projected at a 5 point spread which is likely due to the porous 14-17 record the Thunder have on the road. On the other hand, we do believe that Oklahoma City has a good shot to pull away late in the game given the circumstances. With that being said, we want to project Westbrook slightly lower than his season average against Dallas in points and put him at 23-27. As it pertains to rebounds and assists, we want to safely project him for 9-11 in each category. In the only game against the Mavericks where Westbrook did not record at least eight assists or rebounds, both Steven Adams and Carmelo Anthony did not play so Westbrook took on even more of a scoring role than usual.
Good luck tonight and enjoy the games! Hopefully one of you wins the million dollar prize!