This article is part of our DFS College Basketball series.
DraftKings has what figures to be a relatively low-scoring 10-game slate Thursday. Things tip off over in Big Ten country starting at 6:30 p.m. EST before we get a five-game night slate in the Pac-12 that opens at 9:00 p.m. EST. The four games with 140+ point totals are split evenly between the two slates, so we'll be dipping into both for our value-focused picks today.
Oumar Ballo, F, Arizona ($8,200)
This game has the highest total on the slate at 151.5. Arizona is one of the best teams in the country, so it's no surprise to see this No. 11-ranked squad favored by eight points on its home court. The Wildcats are far and away led by big men Azuolas Tubelis and Oumar Ballo. While the Trojans rank 174th in adjusted tempo and 44th in adjusted defensive efficiency, they haven't faced the toughest slate of opposing offenses (151st in average adjusted offensive efficiency of opposing offenses), per KenPom. USC is also 182nd in total rebounding percentage, per TeamRankings. A slower-paced, halfcourt game should lead Arizona to play more through Tubelis and Ballo, and, since Ballo slots in $2,200 cheaper, we'll roll with him.
Matthew Mayer, F, Illinois ($7,700)
This is probably the best overall game on the slate. Both teams rank among the top 80 in adjusted tempo, per KenPom, and, while both the Hoosiers and Illini have high defensive marks, this over of 144.5 is too hard to resist. Mayer is the third-highest-priced player in this matchup, and I like how this game favors his strengths. Mayer is second on the team in three-point attempts per game this season (5.1), and he's converted 41.4 percent of his 5.8 three-point tries per game over the last five contests. Indiana ranks 211th in three-point attempt percentage allowed. There's also a good chance Illinois runs its offense more from the perimeter with star Indiana forward Trayce Jackson-Davis patrolling the interior. Mayer's 4.8 rebounds per game also gives him a solid floor in what should be a fast-paced, high-scoring tilt.
Jaykwon Walton, F, Wichita State ($6,600)
Walton is amidst a career-best season in 2022-23. The 6-foot-7 wing has been one of Wichita State's top scoring options since transferring from Georgia last offseason, as he's put up a consistent 8.9 field-goal attempts per game this season. Walton has hit a rough patch over his last six games, shooting 39.3 percent overall, but his 6.1 rebounds per game still pace the Shockers this season. The junior has also averaged 31.1 minutes over his 15 starts this season. He could be in line for even increased usage and playing time with numerous key reserves either out or questionable to play against Memphis. This provides enough confidence to bet on a solid return for his moderate $6,600 pricing.
Fletcher Loyer, G, Purdue ($6,300)
Minnesota doesn't stack up to Purdue by nearly any metric, including on the defensive end where the Gophers ranks 161st in adjusted defensive efficiency and 211th in three-point percentage allowed, per KenPom. This bodes well for red-hot freshman Loyer. The shooting guard has quickly emerged into a major role for the Boilermakers this season. That's continued into Big Ten play, as he's converting 47.2 percent of his 10.6 field-goal tries and 51.5 percent of his 6.6 three-point tries over the past five games. Loyer doesn't provide any value outside of his scoring, but he's averaged 30.2 minutes per game during this span, including back-to-back 34-minutes outings in double-digit blowouts against Penn State and Nebraska. This could be important for Thursday's matchup since the Boilermakers are favored by 14 points against the 7-9 Gophers.
Lars Stefanovic, F, Utah ($5,800)
Stefanovic started the first five games of the season before remaining in a significant offensive role as the team's sixth man. The sophomore wing is third on the team in field-goal attempts per game (8.9) while shooting a respectable 38.2 percent overall. Over the last five games, Stefanovich ranks second on the Utes in usage rate (25.4) while playing an average of 27.8 minutes. He's also logged 2-to-3 steals in all but one of these five contests, which should provide some additional value against a Washington State team that ranks 257th in turnover rate this season (19.8), per KenPom.
Noah Williams, G, Washington ($5,600)
Fantasy markets may not have caught up to Williams following his 12-game absence due to a knee injury. The Washington State transfer stepped into a starting role during the season opener, and he's reprised this spot over the Huskies' past five games. The 6-foot-5 senior is second on the team in usage rate (24.2) while also converting 43.8 percent of his 9.6 field-goal attempts over this span. This also includes a six-minute outing Jan. 12 against Stanford, which immediately preceded a season-high 22-point performance against California on Jan. 14. Washington and Colorado also rank 96th and 47th in adjusted tempo, respectively, per KenPom. This 142.0-point total could lead to plenty of opportunities for Williams to continue building upon his increased role.