Thursday, February 29, 2024

Fantasy basketball tips and NBA betting picks for Monday

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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 Monday, March 20 are provided by Caesars Sportsbook, and fantasy advice is based on ESPN 10-team leagues.

What you need to know for Monday’s games

An ascendant 22-year-old playmaker for the Utah Jazz just sank the Boston Celtics this past Saturday with a game-winning drive. Without much fanfare, Talen Horton-Tucker has arrived as a statistical star in recent outings, averaging 21.8 points, 5.6 rebounds, and seven assists over his past five games. It’s a reminder to look everywhere for production; a rising player on a fringe play-in team could sway fantasy matchups.

The Jazz have ruled out Jordan Clarkson ahead of tonight’s tilt against the Sacramento Kings, adding to Horton-Tucker’s workload as both a scorer and creator for others. This matchup features the night’s highest point total, as both teams are in the top 12 in pace while the Kings sit 24th in defensive rating. All signs point to a difference-making stretch from Horton-Tucker tonight and into the fantasy playoffs.

It helps to identify such surging players as the fantasy playoffs tighten. Another Western wing worth your time from the waiver wire is Jaden McDaniels of the Minnesota Timberwolves. With Anthony Edwards ailing and the team needing increased scoring creation from the perimeter, McDaniels is in a good spot to produce against a New York Knicks team allowing an average of 44.1 DraftKings points to small forwards over the past 30 games, the second-highest in the league.

— Jim McCormick

Breaking down Monday’s slate

Indiana Pacers at Charlotte Hornets
7 p.m. ET, Spectrum Center, Charlotte, North Carolina

Records (Against the Spread)
Pacers: 32-39 (38-33-0)
Hornets: 22-50 (31-39-2)

Line: Pacers (-1.5)
BPI Projection: Pacers (124.9-124)
Money Line: Pacers (-125), Hornets (+105)
BPI Projected winner: Pacers (53.4%)
Total: 234 points BPI Projected Total: 248.9 points

Injury Report:
Pacers: Bennedict Mathurin, (GTD – Ankle); Chris Duarte, (GTD – Ankle); Isaiah Jackson, (GTD – Knee); Tyrese Haliburton, (OUT – Knee); Kendall Brown, (OUT – Lower Leg)
Hornets: 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: Nick Richards (rostered in 4.8% of ESPN leagues) Richards remains a solid streamer while Mark Williams is out with a thumb injury. Richards has delivered two consecutive underwhelming fantasy performances, but he scored 38 points in the three games before that. He should have more success against a Pacers team that ranks 26th in points allowed per 100 possessions. — Eric Moody

Fantasy streamer: Andrew Nembhard (available in 93.2% of leagues) Nembhard has stepped into a primary offensive role for a Pacers team beset by injuries on the perimeter. He has averaged 20.0 PPG, 5.5 APG, 2.3 RPG and 2.3 3PG in 33.5 MPG in his last four games. — Andre Snellings

Chicago Bulls at Philadelphia 76ers
7 p.m. ET, Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Records (Against the Spread)
Bulls: 33-37 (36-34-0)
76ers: 48-22 (40-29-1)

Line: 76ers (-8)
BPI Projection: 76ers (129.1-123.4)
Money Line: Bulls (+260), 76ers (-335)
BPI Projected winner: 76ers (70.6%)
Total: 225 points BPI Projected Total: 252.5 points

Injury Report:
Bulls: Lonzo Ball, (OUT – Knee); Alex Caruso, (GTD – Foot); Javonte Green, (GTD – Knee); Goran Dragic, (GTD – Knee)
76ers: P.J. Tucker, (GTD – Ankle)
Note: BPI numbers factor players who are ruled out but assumes GTD players will play

Fantasy streamer: DeMar DeRozan over 23.5 points. DeRozan went through a “down” scoring period for much of the month of February by his standards, and during that time Zach LaVine caught fire. But since the calendar switched to March, DeRozan has started playing at his typical level again. He’s been particularly hot over the past four games, averaging 33.3 PPG with at least 24 points scored in all four games. DeRozan has also been starting at power forward in the Bulls’ smaller lineup, and the 76ers rank in the bottom-10 in the NBA in points allowed to opposing fours. — Snellings

Best bet: Over 224.5. The 76ers are surging into the playoffs in the East, while the Bulls are trying to qualify. Philadelphia has been one of the top offensive teams in the league this season, ranking third in points scored per 100 possessions. The total has gone over in six of Philadelphia’s past nine games and four of their past five games against the Bulls. This game is likely to be high scoring. — Moody

Trend: The Bulls have won four of their past five while trying to remain in play-in position. However, this isn’t an ideal spot. Both of these teams played a back-to-back this past weekend, but Philadelphia did it with much less stress: a +59 cumulative point differential is a little different than a double overtime game followed by a contest against a Heat team that hung around. The 76ers are 12-5 ATS in their past 17 games while the Bulls have failed to cover eight of their past 11 on the road and have been a profitable fade when the total is set under 230 points (16-21-1 ATS) — Kyle Soppe

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

Records (Against the Spread)
Timberwolves: 35-37 (34-38-0)
Knicks: 42-30 (41-30-1)

Line: Knicks (-8.5)
BPI Projection: Knicks (130.9-119.8)
Money Line: Timberwolves (+278), Knicks (-355)
BPI Projected winner: Knicks (84.5%)
Total: 228 points BPI Projected Total: 250.7 points

Injury Report:
Timberwolves: Anthony Edwards, (GTD – Ankle); Austin Rivers, (GTD – Back); Jaylen Nowell, (GTD – Knee); Naz Reid, (GTD – Calf); Rudy Gobert, (GTD – Ankle); Karl-Anthony Towns, (OUT – Calf)
Knicks: None reported
Note: BPI numbers factor players who are ruled out but assumes GTD players will play

Fantasy streamer: Jaden McDaniels (rostered in 26.7% of ESPN leagues) McDaniels is on the streaming radar with Anthony Edwards sidelined due to a serious ankle injury. He’s scored 32 or more fantasy points in three of his last four games. McDaniels is capable of accumulating stats on both ends of the court. — Moody

Fantasy streamer: Kyle Anderson (available in 59.5% of leagues) Anderson has been posting impact stats for weeks now, and really shouldn’t be available on the free agency wire. If he’s available in your league, he’s a must-add. Anderson has averaged nearly triple-double in his past five games, notching 13.4 PPG, 9.6 APG, 8.2 RPG, 1.2 BPG and 0.8 SPG in 39.0 MPG. — Snellings

Best bet: Knicks -8.5. New York is trending up and just got Jalen Brunson back from a three-game absence. While the injuries are starting to pile up for the Timberwolves as Rudy Gobert, Anthony Edwards, Austin Rivers, Naz Reid and Jaylen Nowell are all dealing with their respective issues. The Knicks are 12-3 against the spread in their past 15 games and 7-1 against the spread in their last eight games at home. Tom Thibodeau will want to stick it to his old team, so I’m buying into the revenge narrative on Monday night. — Moody

Best bet: Jalen Brunson over 24.5 points. Brunson has been battling injury for much of March, but whenever he plays, he scores at the same pace as before he got injured. Monday will mark the first time Brunson will play in consecutive games since March 3, when he scored a total of 64 points in two games with at least 25 points in both games. Plus, he’s facing a Timberwolves defense that allows the sixth-most points to opposing point guards. — Snellings

Trend: Jalen Brunson returned to action over the weekend and that should give Knick backers faith in this spot (9-1 outright in his past 10 games with the lone loss being the game in which he got hurt). The Timberwolves are just 8-21 ATS this season when the total is set under 230 points and that is where this game is likely to close. Over tickets have cashed in 17 of those 29 games and in 10 of 15 when Minnesota is an underdog by at least five points, so if you’re looking to pair the result with the total, the over is an appealing leg to that Same Game Parlay. — Soppe

Golden State Warriors at Houston Rockets
8 p.m. ET, Toyota Center, Houston, Texas

Records (Against the Spread)
Warriors: 36-36 (33-38-1)
Rockets: 18-53 (28-40-3)

Line: Warriors (-10)
BPI Projection: Warriors (136.2-130.1)
Money Line: Warriors (-480), Rockets (+360)
BPI Projected winner: Warriors (70.1%)
Total: 237.5 points BPI Projected Total: 266.3 points

Injury Report:
Warriors: Kevon Looney, (GTD – Back); Andrew Wiggins, (OUT – Personal); Gary Payton II, (OUT – Abdomen); Ty Jerome, (OUT – Not Injury Related); Andre Iguodala, (OUT – Wrist); Ryan Rollins, (OUT – Foot)
Rockets: None reported
Note: BPI numbers factor players who are ruled out but assumes GTD players will play

Fantasy streamer: Kenyon Martin Jr. (available in 83.4% of leagues) had a down outing on Sunday with only eight points and five rebounds, but even including that effort he’s produced strong numbers since the All-Star Break. In those 13 games, he has averaged 15.5 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 1.5 APG, 0.8 SPG and 0.7 3PG in 32.0 MPG. — Snellings

Best bet: Stephen Curry over 34.5 points + assists. On Monday, Curry will try to end the Warriors’ road losing streak in Houston. In his last five games against the Rockets, he averaged 29.0 points and 9.6 assists. In Curry’s last two road games in Houston, he averaged 36.5 points and 12.0 assists per game. — Moody

Best bet: Warriors -9.5. The Warriors have struggled lately, especially on the road. Golden Stae is currently ranked 7th in the Western Conference with a 36-36 record. Every game carries significant wait and this is a matchup that the Warriors should win. The Rockets are one of the worst defensive teams in the league. Houston ranks 29th in points allowed per 100 possessions. The Rockets also allow opponents an effective field goal percentage of 56.4%, the fourth highest in the league. The Warriors are 6-2-1 against the spread in their last nine games against Houston. — Moody

Trend: There is no need for me to continue to post the Warrior road numbers, so let’s instead focus on the other side of this game. The Rockets have covered six of their past nine at home and four straight games in Houston have checked in under the total. As for the road thing with Golden State, it’s not just them. Road teams favored by over seven points this season fail to cover 56.9% of the time with a slight lean (53%) to the unders in those spots. — Soppe

Dallas Mavericks at Memphis Grizzlies
8 p.m. ET, FedExForum, Memphis, Tennessee

Records (Against the Spread)
Mavericks: 36-35 (26-42-3)
Grizzlies: 43-27 (33-34-3)

Line: Grizzlies (-2)
BPI Projection: Grizzlies (136.2-125.9)
Money Line: Mavericks (+118), Grizzlies (-140)
BPI Projected winner: Grizzlies (56.1%)
Total: 229.5 points BPI Projected Total: 253.5 points

Injury Report:
Mavericks: Kyrie Irving, (GTD – Foot); Luka Doncic, (GTD – Thigh); Markieff Morris, (GTD – Knee)
Grizzlies: Brandon Clarke, (OUT – Achilles); Jaren Jackson Jr., (GTD – Calf); Ja Morant, (OUT – Not Injury Related); Vince Williams Jr., (OUT – Shoulder); Steven Adams, (OUT – Knee)
Note: BPI numbers factor players who are ruled out but assumes GTD players will play

Fantasy streamer: Tyus Jones (rostered in 31.8% of ESPN leagues) is still on the streaming for Monday night with Ja Morant not expected to play on Monday night. He’s scored 37 or more fantasy points in three of his last five games. — Moody

Sacramento Kings at Utah Jazz
9 p.m. ET, Vivint Arena, Salt Lake City, Utah

Records (Against the Spread)
Kings: 43-27 (40-30-0)
Jazz: 34-36 (39-31-0)

Line: Kings (-5)
BPI Projection: Kings: (134.2-130.3)
Money Line: Kings (-210), Jazz (+175)
BPI Projected winner: Kings (63.7%)
Total: 240 points BPI Projected Total: 264.5 points

Injury Report:
Kings: Kevin Huerter, (GTD – Knee); Trey Lyles, (GTD – Shoulder)
Jazz: Lauri Markkanen, (GTD – Back); Jordan Clarkson, (OUT – Finger); Collin Sexton, (OUT – Hamstring)
Note: BPI numbers factor players who are ruled out but assumes GTD players will play

Fantasy streamer: Walker Kessler (rostered in 55.2% of ESPN leagues) Kessler continues to be an excellent streamer for managers who need a center. The rookie has scored 40 or more fantasy points in five of his past six games and should have success against a Kings team that ranks 25th in points allowed per 100 possessions. — Moody

Best bet: Domantas Sabonis over 41.5 points + assists + rebounds. It’s hard to fade Sabonis with the way he is playing right now. He has scored 41 or more PAR in four consecutive games. while the Jazz rank 24th in points allowed per 100 possessions. Sabonis averaged 24.5 points, 8.0 assists, and 12.5 rebounds in two previous games against Utah this season. — Moody

Trend: The Jazz are 8-1 outright (a perfect 9-0 ATS) this season as a home underdog, the position they find themselves in tonight against the Kings. In those nine games, overs are 6-2-1 and that meshes well with the recent trend of overs hitting when the Kings are favored on the road (5-1-1 in the past seven instances). If you’re ever going to back Utah, it makes sense to do so in a high-scoring environment: 24-15 ATS in games that go over the projected total and 12-16 ATS when they go under. — Soppe

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