Basketball

Fantasy Basketball and NBA Betting Cheat Sheet for Friday

Fantasy Basketball and NBA Betting Cheat Sheet for Friday

The ESPN Fantasy and Betting Cheat Sheet is your pre-game destination for our best information and data to help you make smart fantasy and betting decisions. NBA game odds are provided by Caesars Sportsbook, and fantasy tips are based on ESPN 10-team leagues.

Suns without stars: With Chris Paul sidelined until at least March and Devin Booker in health and safety protocols, there are all sorts of uses to be made. Cameron Payne (92% available) got his first start of the season on Wednesday and delivered eight assists in just 20 minutes. In the process, he also took eight shots and recorded 3 interceptions + blocks. Production per minute won’t always look like this, but the role is there and it’s worth a look in all things fantasy/gaming.

Edwards in pain: Anthony Edwards hasn’t looked good since hitting (ankle/knee) against the Pacers before the All-Star Break (five games: 16 of 55 in the field) and will be sitting out for a second game consecutive. Malik Beasley (65% available) had 20 points on Tuesday against the Warriors and made 14 of 22 3-point attempts since the All-Star Break.

DFS sleeper: Raul Neto (available in 96% of ESPN leagues) has been solid in three games since the break (13.0 PPG with 18 assists against just two turnovers) and he gets a Hawks team that allowed more than 114 PPG in the second night back-to-back in 2022. He’s also quietly stolen in six straight games (multiple interceptions in half of those games) and is a much more effective shooter at home (51% FG) than on the road (39, 4% FG).

Shai Day: With Josh Giddey and Luguentz Dort ruled out ahead of tonight’s game with Minnesota, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander claims a breakthrough advantage in the DFS game. The dynamic guard has averaged 51.1 DraftKings points four games since the break and makes a solid candidate to score props considering he’s averaging one point per minute with Giddey and Dort on the floor this season. For those looking for a frontcourt streaming solution, Darius Bazley (84% available) has had seven interceptions in his last three games.

Winger: The Cavaliers are particularly thin on the wing this season. Caris LeVert won’t be playing in Philadelphia tonight and that helps Cedi Osman’s case (97% available) as a plug-and-play option for redraft leagues. With LeVert on the floor, Osman has thrown 8.8 3-pointers per 36 minutes this season, suggesting he’s also an option for 3-point props.


game of the night


Line: Dollars (-4.0)
Money line: Dollars (-180), Bulls (+155)
Total: 240.5 dots
BPI Total projected: 232 dots
BPI gain %: Dollars (58%)

Main players excluded: nothing

Notable: The Bucks failed to cover and seen the most success in six of their last seven games, including Wednesday night’s win over the Heat.

Best bet: Bucks race to 15 points (-140). The Bucks are known as a quick start team. They have the best first quarter ranking in the NBA and the Bulls are ranked 23rd and just played a game last night in Atlanta. I expect the Bucks to take an early lead off the jump. –Anita Marks

Best bet: Jrue Holiday on a total of 30.5 points + assists + rebounds. The holidays have warmed up. During that time, he averaged 22.3 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 7.3 assists. The Bulls are 21st in points allowed per 100 possessions and allow opponents to shoot well against them. This puts Holiday in a position to accumulate count statistics. –Eric Moody


Break the rest of the slate


Line: Suns (-6.5)
Money line: Suns (-320), Knicks (+250)
Total: 223 dots
BPI Total projected: 211 dots
BPI gain %: Suns (73.1%)

Main players excluded: Devin BookerChris Paul

Notable: The Knicks have covered just once since the start of February, losing each of their last six ATS in the process (also: five straight hits in New York games).

Fantasy Streamer: Cameron Payne. Payne is expected to thrive with Chris Paul sidelined with a thumb injury and Devin Booker on league protocol. He is available in 92% of ESPN leagues and has averaged 20 points, 7.3 assists and 5.4 rebounds per 40 minutes. Plus, he’s a good value on FanDuel ($5,000) and DraftKings ($4,800). — In a bad mood



Line: Pacers (-3.0)
Money line: Stimulators (-145), Pistons (+125)
Total: 228 dots
BPI Total projected: 225 dots
BPI gain %: Plunger (53.9%)

Main players excluded: nothing

Questionable: Chris Duarte

Notable: It may not look like the Pacers are in winning mode now, but they’ve covered four of six games after losing six straight ATSs.



Line: 76ers (-7.0)
Money line: 76ers (-320), Cavaliers (+250)
Total: 217.5 points
Total projected BPI: 214 dots
BPI gain %: 76ers (73.7%)

Main players excluded: Caris LeVert, Rajon Rondo

Notable: Cover-cover-cover. On-on-on. The James Harden era in Philadelphia started well, as they won all three of their games by at least 15 points and over 230 points were scored in each of those games.

Best bet: Joel Embiid with over 29.5 points. History has proven that Embiid succeeded with Jarrett Allen. Joel is just too dominant of a presence in the painting. The addition of Harden presents the 76ers as the best roll pick in the business, and I see plenty of Harden feeding Embiid into the paint with a plethora of post-up points. — Brands

Best bet: Lauri Markkanen on 13.5 points overall Markkanen has averaged 17 points and three triples in his last four games. The 76ers allow opponents to rebound a lot of their misses and a high percentage on mid-range shots. It’s a perfect storm for Markkanen to thrive. — In a bad mood



Line: Falcons (-4.0)
Money line: Falcons (-180), Sorcerers (+155)
Total: 224.0 points
BPI Total projected: 231 dots
BPI gain %: Falcons (59.1%)

Main players excluded: nothing

Notable: More tickets have been received in five of Washington’s last six home games (and in three of Atlanta’s last four games on the second straight night).



Line: Raptors (-8.0)
Money line: Raptors (-340), Magic (+270)
Total: 221.0 points
BPI Total projected: 213.5 points
BPI gain %: Raptors (72.6%)

Main players excluded: Markelle Fultz, OG Anunoby, Mo Wagner

Questionable: Fred VanVleet (knee), Wendell Carter Jr. (illness)

Notable: He doesn’t require a big offense to cash in tickets, just a bit understated offense…or forgiving defense. The Magic could have both, as the most have struck in nine of their last 14 games, including four in a row when they’re the underdog.



Line: Jazz (-4.5)
Money line: Jazz (-170), Pelicans (+145)
Total: 224.0 points
Total projected BPI: 225 dots
BPI gain %: Jazz (56.1%)

Main players excluded: nothing

Notable: Jazz games have a way of looking at points scored when do not played in the rarefied airs of Utah: more tickets have been obtained in five of their last six games on the road.

Best bet: Bojan Bogdanovic on 16.5 points overall. Bogdanovic has averaged 17 points and 2.3 triples in his last 10 games. The only other Jazz player with more field goal attempts than Bogdanovic (14) is Donovan Mitchell (19). As a team, the Pelicans allow 112.2 points per 100 possessions, 18th in the league, and are vulnerable to midrange jumpers and triples.— In a bad mood



Line: Timber Wolves (-9.5)
Money line: Timber Wolves (-450), Thunder (+350)
Total: 229.5 dots
BPI Total projected: 225 dots
BPI gain %: Timber wolves (63.2%)

Main players excluded: Anthony Edwards, Josh Giddey, Derrick Favors, Luguentz Dort,

Questionable: Jarred Vanderbilt (knee)

Notable: The upstart Wolves have covered consecutive games and are 9-4-1 against the number since late January.

Best bet: Karl-Anthony Towns with 37.5+ points + rebounds. With Edwards sidelined, Towns should take on a heavier load. In 21 career games against the Thunder, Towns has averaged 25 PPG and 10.6 RPG. In DFS, he’s a great player to build a team. Centers scored the seventh-most DraftKings points and fourth-most FanDuel points per game against the Thunder this season. — In a bad mood

Fantastic Streamer: Malik Beasley. Edwards’ absence puts Beasley on the streaming radar. Beasley is available in 65% of ESPN leagues and has averaged 19 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.3 assists per 40 minutes this season. Shooting guards have averaged 22 PPG, 6.6 RPG and 5.3 APG against the Thunder this season. — In a bad mood



Line: Nuggets (-13.5)
Money line: Nuggets (-1100), Rockets (+700)
Total: 234.5 points
BPI Total projected: 224 dots
BPI gain %: Nuggets (88.9%)

Main players excluded: nothing

Questionable: Dennis Schröder, Eric Gordon

Notable: The Rockets covered two of three games after a brutal 2-10 streak against the number.


Analytical edge

BPI Highest Projected Totals

Denver Nuggets (118.8 points)
Milwaukee Bucks (117.3 points)
Atlanta Hawks (117.1 points)

Lowest projected BPI totals

New York Knicks (102.1 points)
Orlando Magic (103.3 points)
Cleveland Cavaliers (103.6 points)

BPI top probability of winning (directly)

Denver Nuggets (88.9%)
Philadelphia 76ers (73.7%)
Phoenix Suns (73.1%)