Sunday, February 25, 2024

Fantasy basketball tips and betting picks for Tuesday

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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 Tuesday, March 14 are provided by Caesars Sportsbook, and fantasy advice is based on ESPN 10-team leagues.

What you need to know for Tuesday’s games

Even in the era of load management, this stage of the season is unique in how often we must adjust to significant absences. Some teams are sitting stars with an eye on lottery luck, such as the Indiana Pacers recently, while others are merely getting offensive engines ready for a grueling postseason, such as the Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers.

The games, and the emergent names, still go on. Surging two-way wings such as Trey Murphy III and Jalen Williams are widely available in free agency ahead of Tuesday’s slate, while deeper leagues can appreciate Devonte’ Graham, Killian Hayes, and Eugene Omoruyi set to play big roles for their respective teams. Last night saw rising rookie Jabari Smith Jr. produce against a strong Boston Celtics defense.

Graham is the lone available point guard for the San Antonio Spurs this evening, earning him a projection around 30 DraftKings points. Scoring and shooting props could also make sense given Graham has lofted 42 3-pointers across his past four outings. Murphy has made himself integral to the Pelicans while Williams has the potential to shift matchups in the fantasy playoffs with his triple-double skill set. Make room on your roster for such young talents, as they will prove pivotal in the coming weeks.

— Jim McCormick

Game of the Night

Milwaukee Bucks at Phoenix Suns
10:00 p.m ET, Footprint Center, Phoenix, AZ

Records (Against the Spread)
Bucks: 49-19 (37-26-5)
Suns: 37-31 (36-30-2)

Line: Bucks (-1.5)
BPI Projection: Bucks: 132.1-128.7
Money Line: Bucks (-125), Suns (105)
BPI Projected winner: Bucks (59.6%)
Total: 232.5 BPI Projected Total: 260.2

Injury Report:
Bucks: Joe Ingles, (GTD – Kneecap)
Suns: Landry Shamet, (OUT – Foot); Kevin Durant, (OUT – Ankle)
Note: BPI numbers factor players who are ruled out but assumes GTD players will play

Best bet: Chris Paul over 9.5 assists. The Bucks are solid defensively and ball movement will be important for the Suns, so Paul is in a great spot. In four of his last five games, Paul has nine or more assists. -Moody

Breaking down the rest of the slate

Cleveland Cavaliers at Charlotte Hornets
7:00 p.m ET, Spectrum Center, Charlotte, NC

Records (Against the Spread)
Cavaliers: 43-27 (36-32-2)
Hornets: 22-48 (31-37-2)

Line: Cavaliers (-6)
BPI Projection: Cavaliers: 127.6-118.5
Money Line: Cavaliers (-250), Hornets (205)
BPI Projected winner: Cavaliers (80.2%)
Total: 219.5 BPI Projected Total: 246.1

Injury Report:
Cavaliers: Jarrett Allen, (OUT – Eye)
Hornets: Kelly Oubre Jr., (GTD – Back); Cody Martin, (OUT – Knee); Mark Williams, (OUT – Thumb); LaMelo Ball, (OUT – Ankle)
Note: BPI numbers factor players who are ruled out but assumes GTD players will play

Fantasy streamer: Dennis Smith Jr. (rostered in 21.2% of ESPN leagues) has scored 30 or more fantasy points in three consecutive games. For managers in need of a point guard, Smith Jr. remains a viable streamer. -Eric Moody

Fantasy streamer: Nick Richards (rostered in 7.1% of ESPN leagues) is on the streaming radar against the Cavaliers. Mark Williams has already been ruled out due to a sprained right thumb. Richards has scored 38 or more fantasy points in three consecutive games. -Moody

Best bet: Evan Mobley over 31.5 points+rebounds. Jarrett Allen has already been ruled out of Tuesday night’s game due to a right eye contusion. Mobley will move to center and has a very favorable matchup against the Hornets. This season, Charlotte allows the fourth most points and most rebounds per game to centers. -Moody

Detroit Pistons at Washington Wizards
7:00 p.m ET, Capital One Arena, Washington, DC

Records (Against the Spread)
Pistons: 16-53 (31-37-1)
Wizards: 31-37 (31-35-2)

Line: Wizards (-13)
BPI Projection: Wizards: 136.1-121.1
Money Line: Pistons (600), Wizards (-900)
BPI Projected winner: Wizards (91.3%)
Total: 220.5 BPI Projected Total: 257.2

Injury Report:
Pistons: Alec Burks, (GTD – Foot); Bojan Bogdanovic, (GTD – Achilles); Jaden Ivey, (GTD – General Soreness); Marvin Bagley III, (OUT – Ankle); Isaiah Stewart, (OUT – Shoulder); Cade Cunningham, (OUT – Lower Leg); Hamidou Diallo, (OUT – Ankle)
Wizards: Kyle Kuzma, (GTD – Knee); Taj Gibson, (GTD – Illness)
Note: BPI numbers factor players who are ruled out but assumes GTD players will play

Fantasy streamer: Cory Joseph (rostered in 2.7% of ESPN leagues) remains an excellent streamer while Jaden Ivey remains sidelined. He’s had five consecutive games with 30 or more fantasy points. Joseph faces a Wizards team that ranks 21st in points allowed per 100 possessions. -Moody

Denver Nuggets at Toronto Raptors
7:30 p.m ET, Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Records (Against the Spread)
Nuggets: 46-22 (36-31-1)
Raptors: 32-36 (33-35-0)

Line: Raptors (-1)
BPI Projection: Raptors: 136.1-121.8
Money Line: Nuggets (-105), Raptors (-115)
BPI Projected winner: Raptors (56.4%)
Total: 226.5 BPI Projected Total: 245.3

Injury Report:
Nuggets: Jamal Murray, (GTD – Knee); Reggie Jackson, (GTD – Oblique); Zeke Nnaji, (OUT – Shoulder)
Raptors: Dalano Banton, (GTD – Thumb); Otto Porter Jr., (OUT – Foot)
Note: BPI numbers factor players who are ruled out but assumes GTD players will play

Trend: This spread likely sticks out to you when scanning the board, but the rested Raptors are 9-3 ATS in their past 12 games and the Nuggets are nothing more than average in this specific spot. Denver is 8-8 ATS in coin flip games (spread of three points or less) and 15-16 ATS when the total checks in under 230 points. The Nuggets might be your initial reaction, just be careful. – Kyle Soppe

Best bet: Jakob Poeltl over 8.5 rebounds and +152 double-double. Poeltl produced 18 points and 9 rebounds against the same Nuggets last week, falling one rebound shy of what would have been his fifth double-double in the past three weeks. He is averaging 9.2 RPG as a Raptor. – Eric Karabell

Los Angeles Lakers at New Orleans Pelicans
8:00 p.m ET, Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, LA

Records (Against the Spread)
Lakers: 33-35 (32-34-2)
Pelicans: 33-35 (31-36-1)

Line: Lakers (0)
BPI Projection: Pelicans: 126.9-122.4
Money Line: Lakers (-110), Pelicans (-110)
BPI Projected winner: Pelicans (66%)
Total: 226 BPI Projected Total: 249.3

Injury Report:
Lakers: Anthony Davis, (GTD – Foot); LeBron James, (OUT – Foot); Mo Bamba, (OUT – Ankle)
Pelicans: Brandon Ingram, (GTD – Ankle); Jose Alvarado, (OUT – Leg); Zion Williamson, (OUT – Hamstring); E.J. Liddell, (OUT – Knee)
Note: BPI numbers factor players who are ruled out but assumes GTD players will play

Fantasy streamer: Trey Murphy III (rostered in 29.7% of ESPN leagues) drained nine 3-pointers in Sunday’s game and scored a career-best 41 points (71 fantasy points), but he had been performing well prior to that as well, and now has five consecutive games in double-digit scoring. Murphy is averaging 18.8 PPG, 4.8 RPG and 4 3PG this month. -Karabell

Best bet: Anthony Davis over 39.5 points+rebounds. He’s had two suboptimal games in a row, but I expect him to rebound (no pun intended) against the Pelicans on Tuesday night. Davis surpassed 39.5 PR in his three previous games. Taking on the franchise where he spent his first seven seasons in the league, Davis returns to New Orleans. As of right now, Davis ranks 136th on the league’s all-time scoring list with 15,502 points. He only needs 29 to pass Bob Dandridge (15,530) to move up to 135th. -Moody

Fantasy streamer: Herbert Jones (rostered in 30.6% of ESPN leagues) has played very well over the past seven games. Over that period, he averaged 10.1 points, 5.3 rebounds, 3.9 assists, and 1.6 steals per game. -Moody

Fantasy streamer: Rui Hachimura (rostered in 7.1% of ESPN leagues) should see ample minutes with Mo Bamba out for the remainder of the fantasy season due to a high ankle sprain. Hachimura has scored 23 or more fantasy points in two of his last three games. Fantasy managers in deeper formats should not overlook him. -Moody

Brooklyn Nets at Oklahoma City Thunder
8:00 p.m ET, Paycom Center, Oklahoma City, OK

Records (Against the Spread)
Nets: 39-29 (38-30-0)
Thunder: 33-35 (42-25-1)

Line: Thunder (-1.5)
BPI Projection: Thunder: 126.9-125.3
Money Line: Nets (105), Thunder (-125)
BPI Projected winner: Thunder (50.1%)
Total: 233.5 BPI Projected Total: 250.7

Injury Report:
Nets: Ben Simmons, (GTD – Knee)
Thunder: Aleksej Pokusevski, (OUT – Lower Leg); Chet Holmgren, (OUT – Foot); Kenrich Williams, (OUT – Wrist)
Note: BPI numbers factor players who are ruled out but assumes GTD players will play

Trend: Don’t look now, but the up-and-coming Thunder have covered nine of their past 12 when labeled as a favorite, a spot they find themselves in tonight against a Nets team that has failed to cover three of their past four coin flip (spread of three or fewer points) games. The cover number in those games for Brooklyn is underwhelming and it’s other worth noting that they don’t play in these tight spread games very often (just once post-All-Star Break). -Soppe

Best bet: Mikal Bridges over 25.5 points. Bridges averages 25.7 PPG in his 13 games for the Nets, but he has reached 30 points in four of the past six games, as he gets all the field goals he wants. Bridges averaged 13.6 field goal attempts for the Suns; he’s at 17.2 attempts for the Nets. – Karabell

Best bet: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander over 42.5 points+assists+rebounds. Gilgeous-Alexander should be well rested for Tuesday night’s game against the Nets. He has surpassed 42 PAR in four consecutive games. This season, Gilgeous-Alexander has averaged 31.2 points, 5.6 assists, and 4.8 rebounds. -Moody

Fantasy streamer: Jalen Williams (rostered in 57.5% of ESPN leagues) is still available in a high percentage of ESPN leagues. He has averaged 20 points, 4.9 rebounds, 4.8 assists, and 1.9 steals over the past 10 games. Against an up and down Nets team, Williams is well positioned for success. -Moody

Orlando Magic at San Antonio Spurs
8:00 p.m ET, AT&T Center, San Antonio, TX

Records (Against the Spread)
Magic: 28-40 (36-30-2)
Spurs: 17-50 (27-40-0)

Line: Magic (-5)
BPI Projection: Magic: 132.1-126.8
Money Line: Magic (-210), Spurs (175)
BPI Projected winner: Magic (68.2%)
Total: 232.5 BPI Projected Total: 258.9

Injury Report:
Magic: Franz Wagner, (GTD – Ankle); Jonathan Isaac, (OUT – Thigh)
Spurs: Jeremy Sochan, (GTD – Knee); Keldon Johnson, (GTD – Foot); Khem Birch, (OUT – Knee); Malaki Branham, (OUT – Shoulder); Romeo Langford, (OUT – Abdomen); Tre Jones, (OUT – Illness)
Note: BPI numbers factor players who are ruled out but assumes GTD players will play

Trend: The Magic are a fun team and positioned well for the future, but the future isn’t today. Overs are 14-7 this season when the Spurs are catching at least five points at home and the Magic are just 5-9 ATS in their past 14 games that have gone over the total. -Soppe

Best bet: Paolo Banchero over 28.5 points+rebounds. Against a Spurs team that gives up the most points per game and second most rebounds per game to power forwards, Banchero is in a great spot on Tuesday night. He’s surpassed 28.5 PR in three of his past five games. -Moody

Fantasy streamer: Devonte’ Graham (rostered in 9.6% of ESPN leagues) is on the streaming radar with Tre Jones and Malaki Branham already ruled out due to their respective injuries. In three of his past four games, he has scored 30 or more fantasy points. -Moody

New York Knicks at Portland Trail Blazers
10:00 p.m ET, Moda Center, Portland, OR

Records (Against the Spread)
Knicks: 40-30 (39-30-1)
Blazers: 31-37 (33-34-1)

Line: Knicks (-2.5)
BPI Projection: Knicks: 131.5-124
Money Line: Knicks (-140), Blazers (118)
BPI Projected winner: Knicks (64.2%)
Total: 228 BPI Projected Total: 251.9

Injury Report:
Knicks: Jalen Brunson, (GTD – Foot)
Blazers: Damian Lillard, (GTD – Calf); Jerami Grant, (GTD – Quadriceps); Justise Winslow, (OUT – Ankle)
Note: BPI numbers factor players who are ruled out but assumes GTD players will play

Trend: Sportsbooks have labeled this as a toss-up game of sorts and that should have you drooling over the Knicks in this spot. The Blazers are just 3-8 ATS in home games with a spread of three or fewer points while the Knicks are 8-4 ATS in such spots on the road. Looking for a total lean? Unders are 6-2 when the Blazers fail to cover in a home coin toss game and 6-2 when the Knicks cover a road coin toss game. That’ll work! –Soppe

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