NBA Injury Report (Oct. 23): Betting & DFS Impact of Jimmy Butler Absence

NBA Injury Report (Oct. 23): Betting & DFS Impact of Jimmy Butler Absence article feature image
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Photo credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Jimmy Butler

  • The NBA Injury Report details the slate's key injuries and their betting and DFS impact.
  • In this piece, we'll break down the impact of the injuries to Blake Griffin, Mitchell Robinson, Jimmy Butler and more.

Wednesday’s NBA slate features 11 games with a couple notable injuries and questionable players. We’ll hit on the following situations:

  • Detroit Pistons at Indiana Pacers: 7 p.m. ET
  • Memphis Grizzlies at Miami Heat: 7:30 p.m. ET
  • New York Knicks at San Antonio Spurs: 8:30 p.m. ET

Note: The information below is as of noon ET. For up-to-the-minute news and analysis, check out our live news feed and follow us on Twitter.

Detroit Pistons

Injuries: Blake Griffin (hamstring, knee) is out. Markieff Morris (back) will play. Reggie Jackson (back) is probable.

Injury background: Griffin is still rehabbing after arthroscopic knee surgery in the offseason and will not be available to start the year. The Pistons said they will reevaluate him the start of November.

Morris was questionable with back tightness, but the Pistons recently announced he would start Wednesday.

Tonight’s impact: There were rumblings that the Pistons might go super small with Luke Kennard getting the start, but they in fact will bring him off the bench and roll with Morris and Bruce Brown in the starting unit.

Current odds: Pacers -7.5; over/under 210.5 (via PointsBet — claim your 200% deposit match, an exclusive promotion for Action Network users)

There’s obviously a lot of uncertainty with rotations currently, but the Pistons do look like nice values on this slate given their salaries. Both Morris and Kennard stand out in our FantasyLabs models at $3,600 and $3,300, respectively, on DraftKings. They both are projected to outperform salary-based expectations by more than seven points, as is backup guard Derrick Rose ($4,400).

Morris will largely fill in at the PF spot, but Kennard could slide over in small-ball units, and Christian Wood, who is cheap on FanDuel at $3,900, is also likely in line for a few more minutes both at PF and backup center behind Andre Drummond.

Betting-wise, this line opened up at Pacers -5 and currently sits at a consensus number of -7.5. I bet it at -6.5, and I think the value is gone past -7. At this point, I’d get exposure to this situation in the DFS and props markets.

Miami Heat

Injuries: Jimmy Butler (personal), Dion Waiters (suspension) and James Johnson (conditioning) are out.

Injury background: From our FantasyLabs news feed: “Coach Erik Spoelstra confirmed Butler is not with the team for personal reasons, and Spoelstra doesn’t know if Butler will return before the next game. The Heat are already without Dion Waiters (suspended) and James Johnson (conditioning) for Wednesday’s season opener.”

Tonight’s impact: With Butler out, it’s likely that rookie sensation Tyler Herro, who has looked excellent in the Summer League and preseason, will fill in on the wing.

Current odds: Heat -7; over/under 212.5 (via PointsBet — claim your 200% deposit match, an exclusive promotion for Action Network users)

Herro was already a solid play in DFS, and this just absolutely bolsters his case to be a staple of DFS cash-game builds. He leads one of our best cash-game models in rating, and he leads all players on FanDuel with a +14.39 Projected Plus/Minus — a truly absurd number. He’s now projected for over 30 minutes of action and should use over 20% of the Heat’s possessions while on the floor.

There are a few other players to look at in tournaments, notably Goran Dragic and Justise Winslow, who should take on extra playmaking duties alongside Herro with Butler out of the lineup.

Betting-wise, I hope you follow our alerts on Twitter and in the app and were able to grab the Grizzlies at +8. That line no longer exists unfortunately. I think a fair line is about +6, so anything above that provides a little value.

New York Knicks

Injuries: Mitchell Robinson (ankle) is out. Taj Gibson (calf) will play.

Injury background: Robinson sprained his ankle in practice Monday, and after being questionable for tonight’s game, he’s been ruled out.

Tonight’s impact: With Robinson out, the Knicks on the road will likely start a unit of Dennis Smith Jr., RJ Barrett, Marcus Morris, Julius Randle and Bobby Portis. Yes, that’s right: Portis will be their primary rim protector against a Spurs team that will get point guard Dejounte Murray back and already ranked in the top five in field goal percentage at the rim last year.

Current odds: Spurs -10; over/under 214.5 (via PointsBet — claim your 200% deposit match, an exclusive promotion for Action Network users)

To be fair, the Spurs did rank last in the league in percentage of shots at the rim, although that could change with Murray back in the fold. In his main 2017-18 season, he ranked in the 94th percentile of all guards in percentage of shots at the rim.

The Spurs currently sit at -10.5 after the news at some of the sharper books, although there’s still a few 10s sitting out there at the time of writing. I wouldn’t go past 11 given the uncertainty of the first game of the season.

It’s a long year. Perhaps the better bet is the over/under, which I grabbed at 214. Robinson was the only good defender in that starting unit, and this Knicks team with Portis at center projects to be terrible defensively.

DFS-wise, Portis is somewhat standing out on FanDuel, where his $5,100 salary comes with a +4.32 Projected Plus/Minus. Still, this is a low total game on a big 11-game slate. Perhaps the more interesting side is the Spurs, who are pricey but obviously have nice upside in tournaments in this spot.