AC+ NBA 5/24


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Today's Optimizers and Datasheets

 5/24 Excel Optimizer/Datasheet

(Note: Needs Excel Version 2010 or later)


- Today's main slate features 2 games. Nobody is on a back to back.

- As of this writing, the game with the highest over/under is DEN v POR at 228.5 points. The game with the lowest over/under is MIL v MIA at 223.5 points.


Welcome to our brand new section for the NBA Playoffs! This section will provide you with a full breakdown (or 'blueprint') of both players and strategies we like for tonight's games. Our goal is for this section to replace our usual 'Need to Know' and 'Core Plays' sections, as there is typically much less injury news in the playoffs and we want to focus in more on matchups and lineup construction! 

Tonight's Lineup Construction: 

This sub-section will briefly breakdown lineup construction strategies to consider for tonight's slate. Are there high tier must plays? Is there a ton of cheap value? Should you go Stars and Scrubs? Etc.

I’m really liking the top-tier tonight, and let me tell you why. Both POR and DEN play pretty poor defense (as we saw in game 1), so there really isn’t too much resistance in terms of Jokic and Dame’s offensive game. I expect some adjustments to be made, but I definitely don’t expect that stars to be limited in any capacity. I think both of them will continue to excel. In the MIA and MIL game, I think you have to expect MIA’s stars to come to play. Both Jimmy and Bam played very poorly in their game 1 loss, so the pressure will be on their shoulders tonight to bring them back. And finally, MIL is a very top heavy team, with very little of their production coming from guys outside of Giannis, Khris, and Jrue.

Tier 1 ($8,000+)

Each of the following tiers will provide our top 2-3 value plays (depending on how many games there are) of the night from within the specified price range.

Note: We will be using DraftKings prices for the price-range classifications. 

1. Bam Adebayo ($8,000)

I’m really liking Bam at the bottom end of this top tier. He had a rough game 1 (9-5-12), so I expect him to come out mighty aggressive tonight, and I expect the Heat to place an emphasis on getting him going early. Brook played super far off of him last game, and I think Bam will start to take advantage of that by making him pay on that mid-range jumper, a shot that he’s excelled at throughout the season. If the Heat want to be successful, you can make an argument that it’ll have to be Bam, not Jimmy, who’s their primary offensive threat. Either way, MIA will need to get Bam going if they want to have a chance, so I like him to have a bounce back game tonight. 

2. Damian Lillard ($9,500)  

I know it seems like I’m chasing a big performance here, but I’m really not; I think the way that Lillard was effective is fairly sustainable, so I expect him to have another big night tonight. As I had expected, POR put DEN (most notably Jokic) in TONS of pick and rolls in game 1 in an attempt to get Jokic to have to make a play on Lillard. It went well for POR, with Dame dropping 34 and 13. Unless the Nuggets make a huge adjustment, I don’t see them effectively defending this pick and roll, because they just don’t have the versatility to do so. I think POR will try to exploit the P and R once again, resulting in another big Dame night.

Tier 2 ($5,000-$7,900)

1. Jrue Holiday ($7,700)

Jrue and Khris, in my view, each have an extremely similar chance of performing well for MIL, and therefore should have similar dfs value. However, after Middleton’s huge game 1, Middleton is $500 more than Khris, meaning you’re getting great value on Jrue. I don’t expect Middleton to play as well as he did in game 1; he hit TONS of tough shots, and I expect the Heat to make some sort of adjustment in terms of limiting his mid-range pull ups (even if they don’t, I doubt he’ll shoot as well). So, I think the Bucks will have to rely a little bit more on Jrue instead, which obviously bodes well for his chances to return value on that high, mid-tier price tag. 

2. Jusuf Nurkic ($6,700)

I deliberated here between Nurkic and Powell for quite some time, because I think they both bring excellent value in this mid-tier. Nurkic is involved in most of the pick and roll actions that the Blazers are putting DEN in, so if DEN makes an adjustment tonight on their coverage of it, Nurkic should be the main beneficiary. I could envision the Nuggets throwing a trap at Lillard off of the pick and roll, which would most certainly result in 4 on 3 opportunities for Nurkic on that roll. Furthermore, Nurkic is clearly the significantly preferred big in POR. He played 33 minutes while Kanter played 15, and each of their performances in those minutes will probably only further differentiate their minutes tonight.

Tier 3 ($3,000-$4,900)

1. Monte Morris ($3,900)

Monte Morris’ minutes should only continue to increase as he goes through these playoffs. He’s one of the few remaining main pieces to the DEN team that made it to the conference finals last season, and he’s looked good in his return from injury. I wouldn’t be surprised if somewhere down the line he begins to take over the minutes of Compazzo, just because of his playoff experience and ability to create offensively. I think you really have to like Morris at only 3.9k, and I would be super surprised if you continue to find him in this low-tier throughout the first round, so get him here while you can!

2. Brook Lopez ($4,600)

Lopez is definitely flying under the radar in this low-tier at only 4.6k; he put up 18 and 8 in game 1, and I don’t even think he played as well as he can. After game 1, the Heat certainly aren’t worried about Lopez; their focus is definitely on the dominance of Middleton and the lack of offensive production of Bam and Jimmy, so I could see him putting up another solid performance. In addition to his ability to hit threes and get rebounds, Lopez is one of the league’s best shot blockers, so you get some opportunities for some of those along the way. Most importantly, Brook is locked in for 30+ minutes, which cannot be said for the majority of the low-tier players.


Jimmy Butler MORE than 21.5 Points

Jimmy had a DREADFUL game 1, and he still ended up with 17 points. I think he comes out a lot more polished tonight and has a more effective shooting night, which means he should pretty easily surpass 22. People are perhaps thinking of regular season Jimmy, who takes nights off and sometimes chooses more of a facilitator role; in the playoffs, though, he won’t let his team go down without a fight, and in what should be a close game, I’ll take my chances of Jimmy having a big 4th quarter scoring the basketball and therefore a big game. We’ve seen it before, and we’re definitely going to see it again.

Michael Porter Jr MORE than 2.5 three pointers made

Michael Porter Jr has absolutely no conscience when it comes to shooting the basketball, and that’s enough for me to take his over on made threes tonight. He went 1-10 last game, and I doubt the same happens tonight. POR didn’t do so much doubling of Jokic, which resulted in him scoring 34 points but only having 1 assist. Even though POR won, I could see them making a slight adjustment tonight on Jokic’s coverage, which could definitely result in more threes for Porter Jr.

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Each days newsletter will be posted no later than 2 hours before the main slate of games tips-off, see you tomorrow!