This article is part of our NBA Daily Games Strategy series.
Monkey Knife Fight is a prop- and parlay-based daily fantasy sports site that offers participants a unique way of "sweating" their favorite sporting events. Unlike conventional DFS sites, there is no salary cap to be concerned with and no other participants to compete against. Monkey Knife Fight contestants do not select a lineup of players, as is typically the case in traditional DFS contests.
Rather, each Monkey Knife Fight contest is based on real-world athletes from a given slate of games exceeding certain, predetermined statistical benchmarks. In certain contests, the athlete's performance in a certain category must exceed that of another pre-selected athlete in that same game. In others, the athlete is simply competing against a predetermined figure in a certain category (i.e., a specific number of points in an NBA game, a specific number of touchdowns in an NFL game, etc.).
As such, the success of each Monkey Knife Fight contest participant is fully dependent on the accuracy of their predictions, as opposed to their performance against other fellow players. Monkey Knife Fight offers a wide variety of contests for each of the sports it covers (currently NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, Soccer, and Golf). Among the most popular are Over/Under and Rapid Fire, which we will cover regularly in this column.
In Over/Under contests, participants win when they correctly predict if a certain number of pre-selected athletes will surpass a specified statistical milestone in that day's game. In Rapid Fire, participants attempt to predict the winner of site-determined head-to-head matchups between athletes in a certain statistical category for that day's game. In Rapid Fire contests, certain athletes that are considered the "underdog" in the statistical matchup may be afforded an extra built-in value boost. That is denoted by a "+" symbol and the specific additional amount – both displayed in green – that the athlete will be awarded above the total they actually accrue in that category during their game.
One additional aspect of contest logistics that's particular to Monkey Knife Fight is payout structure. For each contest, participants select from a wide variety of buy-in amounts, which are revealed once they make their athlete selections for that particular contest. If a participant wins their contest, their payout is based on that buy-in amount and the preset multiplier the contest featured. The latter figure varies depending on the contest difficulty. For example, a Rapid Fire contest requiring only two correct predictions carries a 2.36x multiplier on the buy-in, while one requiring five correct predictions features a 17x multiplier.
NBA Finals Game 5 - Over/Under and Rapid Fire Predictions
Over/Under (Pick 2 of 3 correctly to get 1.69x your buy-in)
Buy-in Amounts: $2-$250
Kawhi Leonard OVER/UNDER 9.5 rebounds
The Pick: Over
Leonard has rightfully earned plenty of accolades for his offensive contributions thus far in the Finals, but his work on the glass has been worthy of high praise as well. Leonard already has a pair of double-digit rebound games in the series and eight overall this postseason. He's posted no less than seven rebounds in the last 14 postseason contests overall. With the Warriors likely to be in desperation mode and pushing the pace Monday, I see enough potential opportunity for Leonard to haul in at least 10 boards.
Draymond Green OVER/UNDER 8.5 assists
The Pick: Over
Green has underwhelmed from the offensive perspective on a couple of occasions during the Finals, but he's been excellent as a facilitator. The veteran forward has dished out double-digit dimes in two games and came just one assist short of hitting the mark in Game 2. He's handed out at least nine assists on 11 occasions over this postseason as well, so he's proven aptly capable of eclipsing the 8.5-mark. And, if Kevin Durant (calf) manages to make it back to the court for Game 5, that could help boost Green's assist opportunities even further by putting another talented scorer on the floor. Given the circumstances, I lean towards the Over on this prop.
Stephen Curry OVER/UNDER 32.5 points
The Pick: Over
This may be the trickiest of the three props to prognosticate, given the possibility Durant is still technically listed as questionable for Monday's contest. If he were to take the floor, Curry would naturally see his usage take a hit to some degree. However, it seems that a bit of gamesmanship may be at play in this situation, as Durant was described as being nowhere near ready to play early in the weekend. I'm going to assume there's a bit of a bluff going on here and Curry is once again charged with spearheading the attack. Although he fell short of 33 points with Klay Thompson returning in Game 4, I see Curry leaving absolutely everything on the floor in Game 5 and putting up as many attempts as possible, leading to the Over.
Rapid Fire (Pick 2 of 2 correctly to get 2.53x your buy-in)
Buy-in Amounts: $2-$250
The Pick: Leonard
While I see Curry enjoying an explosive offensive game, Leonard will be just as involved on his end. After doing an admirable job compromising Leonard's efficiency in Games 1 and 2, the Warriors haven't had a consistent answer for the MVP candidate over the subsequent pair of contests. Leonard put up 30 points in Game 3 on 9-for-17 shooting, and he followed it up with a game-high 36 points on a 50.0 percent success rate in Game 4. What's more, Leonard managed to hit 34 points in Game 2 despite going just 8-for-20 from the field, as 16 visits to the free-throw line helped him get there. Given that Leonard is likely to get slightly less offensive help than Curry – and the fact he has a built-in 1.5-point advantage – I give him the Raptors star forward the slightest edge in this head-to-head statistical battle.
The Pick: Lowry
These two players have put in above-average work as facilitators during the series. Green is averaging 8.8 dimes over the first four games, while Lowry is handing out 6.8 assists per contest during that span. As alluded to in the Over/Under prop, I see Green hitting at least nine assists in this contest, which means Lowry would need at least seven (when factoring in his built-in 2.5-assist boost) to surpass him. Lowry has already hit nine assists twice during the Finals. What's more, he's dished out at least seven helpers on 10 occasions overall during the postseason, with six of those coming on his home floor. Lowry has shown impressive chemistry with both Leonard and Pascal Siakam in terms of setting them up for scores, and with the extra 2.5 on his side, I give the Raptors veteran point guard the slightest of edges in this one-on-one matchup.