Sunday, February 25, 2024

Fantasy basketball tips and betting picks for Monday

Must read

ESPN’s fantasy basketball and basketball betting tips cheat sheet is your pregame destination for basketball betting predictions and our best intel and data, featuring ESPN’s proprietary Basketball Power Index (BPI) to help you make smart fantasy and wagering decisions. NBA game odds for Feb. 13 are provided by Caesars Sportsbook, and fantasy advice is based on ESPN 10-team leagues.


What you need to know for Monday’s games

With football in the rearview and new-look NBA rotations developing in the days following the trade deadline, we’re entering the stretch run of the fantasy season. The deadline for trades in ESPN fantasy hoops leagues is this Friday, suggesting you take some time to assess your roster’s statistical shortcomings and surpluses ahead of making offers.

It’s time to target some rising names at reasonable pricing, such as Collin Sexton of the Utah Jazz (31% available in ESPN leagues) or his rookie teammate Walker Kessler, (60% available) who ranks fifth in BPG and second in the NBA in block percentage. Fellow rookie center Mark Williams (91% available) of the Charlotte Hornets is another free agent of interest.

Sexton is rostered in most competitive 10-team formats, but is worth considering in deals. He has averaged 19.7 points and 9.3 combined rebounds and assists on strong scoring efficiency over his past three games, all starts in the wake of Mike Conley and Malik Beasley being dealt. These young Jazz players are poised to produce against an Indiana Pacers team that sits 25th in defensive rating over the past 10 games. With Utah’s defense ranked 29th over this stretch, this game has potential to cruise past the total.

This could just be hunch, but it’s possible we see a significant post-All-Star-break surge from Tyrese Maxey. The experiment with him coming off the bench hasn’t been very fruitful for the team or him individually. With the Philadelphia 76ers hosting the reeling Houston Rockets this evening, Maxey, at just $5,200 on DraftKings, is a strong DFS play and remains a target for trades in season-long leagues.

After this Friday’s trade deadline, it will just be the waiver wire and free agency as the means of roster improvement. With so many rotations adapting to recent transactions, it’s a good time to capitalize in the fluidity of the fantasy market.

— Jim McCormick


Breaking down Monday’s slate

Atlanta Hawks at Charlotte Hornets
7 p.m. ET, Spectrum Center, Charlotte, North Carolina

Records (Against the Spread)
Hawks: 29-28 (26-29-2)
Hornets: 15-43 (23-33-2)

Line: Hawks (-5)
BPI Projection: Hawks (120.1-117.3)
Money Line: Hawks (-210), Hornets (+175)
BPI Projected winner: Hawks (59.9%)
Total: 240 points BPI Projected Total: 237.4 points

Injury Report:
Hawks: Bogdan Bogdanovic, (GTD – Hip); Bruno Fernando, (GTD – Coach’s Decision); Garrison Mathews, (GTD – Not Injury Related); John Collins, (GTD – Hip); Saddiq Bey, (GTD – Not Injury Related); Trae Young, (GTD – Shoulder)
Hornets: Kai Jones, (GTD – Ankle); Svi Mykhailiuk, (GTD – Coach’s Decision); Cody Martin, (OUT – Knee); Kelly Oubre Jr., (OUT – Hand)
Note: BPI numbers factor players who are ruled out but assumes GTD players will play

Fantasy streamer: De’Andre Hunter (rostered in 18.5% of ESPN leagues) Hunter is an excellent streamer whenever he hits shots, since his fantasy production is based mainly on points and triples. Hunter scored 43 fantasy points against the Spurs last Saturday and is well positioned to replicate that performance against a Hornets team that ranks 24th in points allowed per 100 possessions. Charlotte also allows opponents an effective field goal percentage of 55.8%. — Eric Moody

Best bet: Dejounte Murray over 5.5 rebounds. Murray has always been one of the best rebounding guards in the league. He has averaged 6.1 RPG over his past eight games and grabbed 6 or more in five of them. He faces a Hornets squad on Monday that has allowed the 10th-most rebounds to opposing shooting guards and opposing point guards, putting Murray in a position to thrive on the glass again. — Andre Snellings


San Antonio Spurs at Cleveland Cavaliers
7 p.m. ET, Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, Cleveland, Ohio

Records (Against the Spread)
Spurs: 14-43 (23-34-0)
Cavaliers: 37-22 (32-25-2)

Line: Cavaliers (-14.5)
BPI Projection: Cavaliers (129.3-109.1)
Money Line: Spurs (+800), Cavaliers (-1400)
BPI Projected winner: Cavaliers (96.7%)
Total: 224.5 points BPI Projected Total: 238.4 points

Injury Report:
Spurs: Charles Bassey, (GTD – Foot); Doug McDermott, (GTD – Achilles); Jeremy Sochan, (GTD – Back); Keldon Johnson, (GTD – Ankle); Romeo Langford, (OUT – Thigh); Tre Jones, (OUT – Foot); Devin Vassell, (OUT – Knee); Khem Birch, (OUT – Knee)
Cavaliers: None reported
Note: BPI numbers factor players who are ruled out but assumes GTD players will play

Fantasy streamer: Devonte’ Graham (rostered in 6.8% of ESPN leagues) is a solid streamer with an opportunity to play sizeable minutes due to Tre Jones already being ruled out due to left foot soreness. In two consecutive games, Graham has scored 34 or more fantasy points. — Eric Moody

Best bet: Jarrett Allen over 26.5 points + rebounds. This season, the Spurs have surrendered the second most points per game and the ninth most rebounds per game to centers. Jakob Poeltl‘s trade to the Raptors makes San Antonio an even better matchup for Allen. In the last five games, the Cavaliers center has averaged 20.8 points and 11.6 rebounds. — Moody

Best bet: Darius Garland over 29.5 points + assists. Despite averaging 21.8 points and 8.0 assists per game this season, Garland has underwhelmed in his last four contests. Over that time period, he averaged 19.3 points and 6.3 assists. Garland has a very favorable matchup against the Spurs who rank 30th in points allowed per 100 possessions. San Antonio also allows an effective field goal percentage of 58.1%, the highest in the league. — Moody


Utah Jazz at Indiana Pacers
7 p.m. ET, Gainbridge Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, Indiana

Records (Against the Spread)
Jazz: 28-30 (31-27-0)
Pacers: 25-33 (30-28-0)

Line: Pacers (-1)
BPI Projection: Jazz: 129.3-120.8
Money Line: Jazz (+105), Pacers (-125)
BPI Projected winner: Jazz (54%)
Total: 237.5 points BPI Projected Total: 242.7 points

Injury Report:
Jazz: Micah Potter, (OUT – Elbow); Russell Westbrook, (OUT – Not Injury Related)
Pacers: Daniel Theis, (GTD – Knee); George Hill, (GTD – Not Injury Related); Jordan Nwora, (GTD – Not Injury Related); Myles Turner, (GTD – Back); Tyrese Haliburton, (GTD – Thigh)
Note: BPI numbers factor players who are ruled out but assumes GTD players will play

Best bet: Collin Sexton over 21.5 points + assists. For the remainder of the season, Sexton will be Utah’s starting point guard. Over the last three games with the starters, he’s surpassed 21.5 PA. The Pacers rank 25th in points allowed per 100 possessions. Indiana also allows an effective field goal percentage of 55%. — Moody


Houston Rockets at Philadelphia 76ers
7 p.m ET, Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Records (Against the Spread)
Rockets: 13-43 (22-31-3)
76ers: 36-19 (30-24-1)

Line: 76ers (-14.5)
BPI Projection: 76ers (126.4-112.5)
Money Line: Rockets (+800), 76ers (-1400)
BPI Projected winner: 76ers (89.5%)
Total: 226 points BPI Projected Total: 238.9 points

Injury Report:
Rockets: Kevin Porter Jr., (GTD – Foot)
76ers: Joel Embiid, (GTD – Foot); Shake Milton, (GTD – Eye)
Note: BPI numbers factor players who are ruled out but assumes GTD players will play

Fantasy streamer: Kenyon Martin Jr. (rostered in 15.2% of ESPN leagues) remains on the streaming radar due to Kevin Porter Jr.’s injury and Eric Gordon‘s trade to the Clippers. Martin Jr. has scored 30 or more fantasy points in three consecutive games. — Moody


Denver Nuggets at Miami Heat
7:30 p.m ET, FTX Arena, Miami, Florida

Records (Against the Spread)
Nuggets: 39-18 (30-26-1)
Heat: 32-25 (21-33-3)

Line: Heat (-1.5)
BPI Projection: Nuggets (126.4-112.4)
Money Line: Nuggets (+105), Heat (-125)
BPI Projected winner: Nuggets (62.9%)
Total: 223.5 points BPI Projected Total: 228.3 points

Injury Report:
Nuggets: Aaron Gordon, (GTD – Ribs); Jamal Murray, (GTD – Knee); Zeke Nnaji, (OUT – Shoulder)
Heat: Bam Adebayo, (GTD – Knee); Gabe Vincent, (GTD – Ankle); Haywood Highsmith, (GTD – Elbow); Max Strus, (GTD – Shoulder); Tyler Herro, (GTD – Knee); Udonis Haslem, (GTD – Personal); Victor Oladipo, (OUT – Ankle); Duncan Robinson, (OUT – Finger); Kyle Lowry, (OUT – Knee); Nikola Jovic, (OUT – Back)
Note: BPI numbers factor players who are ruled out but assumes GTD players will play

Trend: The Miami Heat are a lot of things … in a hurry is not one of them. They are likely to finish bottom-5 in pace for a fourth straight season and that can be to their advantage in many spots, just not this one. The Denver Nuggets are 6-1 ATS in their past seven against bottom-10 pace teams and the lone failure to cover came in a game in Philadelphia that they were covering with five minutes to go (47 points and 18 rebounds from Joel Embiid can be tough to overcome, as can 18-of-35 shooting from 3). The Heat are 3-8 ATS in their past 11 games and those struggles could well continue through tonight. – Kyle Soppe


Brooklyn Nets at New York Knicks
7:30 p.m. ET, Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, New York

Records (Against the Spread)
Nets: 33-23 (30-26-0)
Knicks: 31-27 (30-27-1)

Line: Knicks (-2)
BPI Projection: Knicks (115.9-111)
Money Line: Nets (+110), Knicks (-130)
BPI Projected winner: Knicks (58.3%)
Total: 223.5 points BPI Projected Total: 224.1 points

Injury Report:
Nets: Seth Curry, (OUT – Thigh)
Knicks: Mitchell Robinson, (OUT – Thumb)
Note: BPI numbers factor players who are ruled out but assumes GTD players will play

Fantasy streamer: Cam Thomas (rostered in 50.5%) is still available in a high percentage of leagues. His starting spot was ceded to several newcomers last Saturday. After three consecutive games of 56 or more fantasy points, Thomas has only scored 21 fantasy points and 17 fantasy points over the last two games. Thomas should receive plenty of minutes with Seth Curry already ruled out due to left abductor tightness. — Moody

Best bet: Jalen Brunson over 25.5 points. Over the last 10 games, Brunson has averaged 28.2 points per game. This season, he has scored 30 or more points in 14 games. Prior to this season, Brunson had only scored 30 or more points in three regular season games. His usage rate this season is 28.3% and he has become one of the Knicks’ top offensive playmakers. — Moody

Best bet: Mikal Bridges over 18.5 points. If you ever watch Bridges play, when he makes a 3-pointer he does this silly little celebration where he points with three fingers and bounces his head to the side while spinning around like a ticking clock. Well, I’ve been seeing that celebration a LOT of late, because Bridges has been on fire for weeks now. In his last seven games, going back to before he was traded, Bridges has averaged 24.3 PPG while scoring 21 or more points in all seven outings. He currently looks like a, if not then, primary scoring option for the Nets and should get his opportunities again on Monday. — Snellings


Orlando Magic at Chicago Bulls
8 p.m. ET, United Center, Chicago, Illinois

Records (Against the Spread)
Magic: 23-34 (32-23-2)
Bulls: 26-30 (30-26-0)

Line: Bulls (-5)
BPI Projection: Bulls (117.2-114)
Money Line: Magic (+175), Bulls (-210)
BPI Projected winner: Bulls (61.6%)
Total: 226.5 points BPI Projected Total: 231.2 points

Injury Report:
Magic: R.J. Hampton, (OUT – Not Injury Related)
Bulls: Alex Caruso, (GTD – Foot); Javonte Green, (OUT – Knee); Lonzo Ball, (OUT – Knee)
Note: BPI numbers factor players who are ruled out but assumes GTD players will play

Best bet: Nikola Vucevic over 30.5 points + rebounds. Vucevic has had eight consecutive double-doubles. Over that period, he averaged 21.0 points and 13.8 rebounds per game. In two games against the Magic this season, Vucevic has also surpassed 30.5 PR. — Moody


New Orleans Pelicans at Oklahoma City Thunder
8 p.m. ET, Paycom Center, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Records (Against the Spread)
Pelicans: 29-28 (27-29-1)
Thunder: 27-28 (35-20-0)

Line: Thunder (-2.5)
BPI Projection: Thunder (119.8-117.8)
Money Line: Pelicans (+118), Thunder (-140)
BPI Projected winner: Thunder (57.4%)
Total: 236.5 points BPI Projected Total: 237.6 points

Injury Report:
Pelicans: CJ McCollum, (GTD – Ankle); Dyson Daniels, (GTD – Ankle); Josh Richardson, (GTD – Not Injury Related); Zion Williamson, (OUT – Hamstring); E.J. Liddell, (OUT – Knee)
Thunder: Dario Saric, (GTD – Not Injury Related); Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, (GTD – Ankle); Aleksej Pokusevski, (OUT – Lower Leg); Chet Holmgren, (OUT – Foot)
Note: BPI numbers factor players who are ruled out but assumes GTD players will play

Fantasy streamer: Jose Alvarado (rostered in 4.8% of ESPN leagues) is on the streaming radar with C.J. McCollum questionable to play due to a right ankle sprain. This season, Alvarado averages 17.0 points and 5.8 assists per 40 minutes. — Moody

Trend: With all of this Kevin Durant talk over the past 10 days, has his former team’s strong play flown under the radar? The Oklahoma City Thunder are 13-5 ATS at home since Thanksgiving, a trend that works nicely alongside the fact that the New Orleans Pelicans are 10-16-1 ATS on the road this season. Toss in the fact that overs are 13-3 when the Pelicans fail to cover a road game and you have yourself a nice script to work with if you’re building out a Same Game Parlay. — Soppe


Minnesota Timberwolves at Dallas Mavericks
8:30 p.m. ET, American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas

Records (Against the Spread)
Timberwolves: 30-29 (28-31-0)
Mavericks: 31-27 (21-34-3)

Line: Mavericks (-7.5)
BPI Projection: Mavericks (126.2-120.7)
Money Line: Timberwolves (+240), Mavericks (-305)
BPI Projected winner: Mavericks (68.8%)
Total: 231 points BPI Projected Total: 246.9 points

Injury Report:
Timberwolves: Kyle Anderson, (GTD – Back); Rudy Gobert, (GTD – Groin); Karl-Anthony Towns, (OUT – Calf)
Mavericks: Tim Hardaway Jr., (GTD – Hamstring); Maxi Kleber, (OUT – Hamstring); Davis Bertans, (OUT – Calf)
Note: BPI numbers factor players who are ruled out but assumes GTD players will play

Fantasy streamer: Jaylen Nowell (available in 97.8% of leagues) is being called upon to score for the TImberwolves with Karl-Anthony Towns still out, D’Angelo Russell traded away and Rudy Gobert (groin) still ailing. Nowell ahs scored 51 points with 9 3-pointers, 7 assists and 6 rebounds in 53 total minutes over the last two games, and could be in for another strong effort on Monday. —Snellings

Trend: The gut instinct is to take overs when high upside offenses take on struggles defenses, but don’t forget that sportsbooks have the same knowledge you do on that front and adjust accordingly. Maybe over adjust? Unders are 15-8-1 when the Minnesota Timberwolves play a bottom-10 defense, 9-3 when the ‘Wolves cover in such a spot. The addition of Kyrie Irving for the Dallas Mavericks is obviously another moving piece, but while their offensive efficiency is up 5% in his three games, the pace remains slow. Be careful about getting sucked in by the offensive potential on both sides. — Soppe


Washington Wizards at Golden State Warriors
10 p.m. ET, Chase Center, San Francisco, California

Records (Against the Spread)
Wizards: 26-29 (26-28-1)
Warriors: 28-28 (25-30-1)

Line: Warriors (-4)
BPI Projection: Warriors (126.2-117.3)
Money Line: Wizards (+143), Warriors (-170)
BPI Projected winner: Warriors (50.5%)
Total: 231.5 points BPI Projected Total: 234.7 points

Injury Report:
Wizards: Kyle Kuzma, (GTD – Ankle)
Warriors: Andrew Wiggins, (GTD – Ankle); Andre Iguodala, (OUT – Hip); Stephen Curry, (OUT – Lower Leg); Gary Payton II, (OUT – Abdomen); Ryan Rollins, (OUT – Foot)
Note: BPI numbers factor players who are ruled out but assumes GTD players will play

Fantasy streamer: Donte Divincenzo (available in 88.8% of leagues) had a down effort in his last outing, but in the four before had averaged 14.8 PPG, 4.0 3PG, 3.0 APG, 2.5 RPG and 1.5 SPG in 26.0 MPG. He has a good chance to bounce-back on Monday, with Andrew Wiggins listed as questionable on the first night of a back-to-back. — Snellings

Best bet: Klay Thompson over 4.5 three-point field goals. Thompson faces the Wizards, who have allowed many triples to shooting guards this season. Over the last three games, he averaged 16.0 three-point attempts and 7.3 three-pointers made. Against the Wizards, Thompson should continue to be successful from beyond the arc for a Warriors team without Stephen Curry. — Moody

Best bet: Wizards +3.5. As odd as it sounds to say, the Wizards have been just playing better than the Warriors right now. The Wizards have won eight of their last 11 games, with an average scoring margin of +5.7 PPG during that stretch. The Warriors have lost four of their last six, or over a larger span they’ve lost 10 of their last 18. Their scoring margin over that span, as well as for the season, is right around 0. They are even 4-5 in their last nine home games, and that was supposed to be their refuge this season. According to our BPI estimates, this game projects as a pick ’em, so I’ll take the team that’s playing better with the points. — Snellings


Los Angeles Lakers at Portland Trail Blazers
10 p.m. ET, Moda Center, Portland, Oregon

Records (Against the Spread)
Lakers: 26-31 (25-30-2)
Blazers: 27-29 (28-27-1)

Line: Blazers (-2.5)
BPI Projection: Blazers (125.7-124.9)
Money Line: Lakers (+118), Blazers (-140)
BPI Projected winner: Blazers (52.9%)
Total: 238 points BPI Projected Total: 250.6 points

Injury Report:
Lakers: Anthony Davis, (GTD – Foot); Davon Reed, (GTD – Not Injury Related); LeBron James, (GTD – Ankle)
Blazers: Jerami Grant, (GTD – Concussion); Justise Winslow, (GTD – Ankle); Keon Johnson, (GTD – Ankle); Kevin Knox II, (GTD – Not Injury Related); Matisse Thybulle, (GTD – Not Injury Related); Trendon Watford, (GTD – Ankle); Jusuf Nurkic, (OUT – Calf)
Note: BPI numbers factor players who are ruled out but assumes GTD players will play

Fantasy streamer: Cam Reddish (available in 97.2% of leagues) is one of the players I’m watching most after the Trade Deadline. Reddish has always been a huge potential player, and at various times in his career he has flashed star potential. He’s getting a new opportunity in Portland after falling out of the rotation in New York, and scored 11 points with 2 treys, 2 assists and 2 rebounds in 17 minutes of his debut. He has the chance to potentially start again, and maybe play more minutes in his second game with Jerami Grant still in the concussion protocol. — Snellings

Best bet: Anthony Davis over 40.5 points + rebounds. Davis has been up-and-down as a scorer in the last week, averaging only 16.3 PPG, but he has a great chance to get back on track Monday against a Trail Blazers defense that allows the most points in the NBA to opposing centers. Davis’ rebounding has never gone anywhere, and he’s grabbed at least 14 boards in four of his last five games. If his scoring gets back to even his season average of 26.2 PPG, he has a good chance to go over the 40.5 total in P+R on Monday. — Snellings

Best bet: Damian Lillard over 49.5 points + assists + rebounds. The Lakers continue to be a very favorable matchup for point guards this season. Los Angeles gives up the second most points per game to the position. In two consecutive games, Lillard has surpassed 49 PAR. He should have a very high usage rate in this game since Jerami Grant is unlikely to play due to a bruised right eye. The Lakers are also likely to be without LeBron James. — Moody

Trend: The Los Angeles Lakers are a team with roster deficiencies, and they try to cover that by playing at warp speed. With or without LeBron James in the lineup, that is going to come with some risk and we’ve seen some of that against top-10 offenses like they face tonight in the Portland Trail Blazers. For the season, the Lakers are just 9-13-2 ATS against such teams, with the thought being that more possessions for strong offenses is not an optimal game plan for them. They want a high scoring game and that might be even worse … the Blazers are 17-10 ATS in games that go over the total compared to 10-17-1 when games go under. — Soppe

Latest article