NBA Injury Report: Betting, DFS Impact of Russell Westbrook, Kawhi Leonard Injuries
- The NBA Injury Report is a daily piece that runs through the slate's key injuries and their betting and DFS impact.
- There are two key injuries to analyze on Wednesday night: Thunder PG Russell Westbrook and Raptors SF Kawhi Leonard.
There are 10 NBA games tonight and two key injuries to monitor before the slate begins at 7 p.m. ET.
Below I’ll detail the most important news of the day and how it affects the DFS and betting markets.
Thunder PG Russell Westbrook (ankle) is out.
Injury background: Westbrook was helped to the locker room in the third quarter of Monday’s win after landing on Anthony Davis’ ankle. He was officially diagnosed with a sprained left ankle, and the team will wait to see how it responds before providing a timetable for return.
DFS/Betting impact with Westbrook out: Dennis Schroder has experience this season as the starting point guard, and he provided a 28.4% usage rate in the two previous games without Westbrook.
Paul George will also benefit, as he averaged a team-high 41.13 DraftKings points in those two contests. Despite a salary increase of $900 on FanDuel, Schroder still makes for one of the strongest value options on the slate.
The matchup for both players is phenomenal, as the Cavs rank dead last in Defensive Rating this season by a considerable margin.
The Thunder are currently six-point favorites and are receiving a slate-high 87% of spread bets. The Cavs have lost by double digits in four of their five home games this season, and Sam Dekker’s ankle injury leaves them with a thin frontcourt.
That said, the Thunder have struggled offensively without Westbrook this season, posting a 97.9 Offensive Rating with him off the court vs. 112.8 with him on.
Raptors SF Kawhi Leonard (ankle) is questionable.
Injury background: Leonard has already been absent for four games this season after missing the team’s recent back-to-back set due to a sore left ankle. He’s officially questionable for Wednesday’s matchup against the Kings.
DFS/Betting impact if Leonard is ruled out: Kyle Lowry has been the primary beneficiary without Leonard this season and has led the team with a +4.7% usage rate differential. He is already off to the best start of his career with double-digit assists in nine consecutive games, and he would enter the cash-game conversation on FanDuel at $8,800 if Leonard is unable to suit up.
Pascal Siakam would also benefit from an increased role. He has averaged a FantasyLabs +14.6 Plus/Minus on DraftKings in 31.3 minutes per game without Leonard.
The Raptors proved how deep they are without Leonard after winning back-to-back games in Utah and Los Angeles by double digits.
If Leonard is ruled out, look for the Kings to continue to push the tempo, as they already rank second in the league in pace this season. Leonard’s absence would negatively impact the team’s defense, and the over would be in play despite 63% of the current bets on the under.