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Fantasy basketball tips and NBA betting picks for Thursday

De'Anthony Melton is playing an important role with James Harden out. Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

ESPN's fantasy basketball and basketball betting tips cheat sheet is your pregame destination for basketball betting predictions and our best intel and data to help you make smart fantasy and wagering decisions. NBA game odds for November 10 are provided by Caesars Sportsbook, and fantasy advice is based on ESPN 10-team leagues.


What you need to know for Thursday's games

Target The Tired: Since the beginning of last season, favored teams on a back-to-back facing a team that is not on a back-to-back are an ugly 54-71 ATS (43.2%). In fact, you're not even safe taking the "safe" play. If you simply took teams in that spot on the moneyline, you're down 18.2 units. The Hawks find themselves in that spot tonight hosting the 76ers after blowing a fourth quarter lead last night against the Jazz.

Slate Savings: One of the first places to look when seeking out value on a smaller slate like tonight's four-game schedule is the injury report. From there we find Bradley Beal is still out for the Wizards due to health and safety protocols, vaulting rookie Jordan Goodwin into a busy scoring role off the bench. Kyle Kuzma, meanwhile, has a strong path to a big line, including value as a double-double threat. For the Hornets, we are unlikely to see LaMelo Ball and Gordon Hayward sidelined against the Mavericks, making Dennis Smith Jr. and Kelly Oubre Jr. strong DFS plays and streaming candidates in redraft formats. For Dallas, if Christian Wood misses another game, Maxi Kleber could cruise past 30 minutes.

Melton's Moving: In the two games as a starter since James Harden's foot injury, Philadelphia's De'Anthony Melton (75% available) has taken 17 3-pointers while recording three steals and four blocks with strong assist and rebounding rates. Sounds pretty good. The scoring can be volatile, but this is a player who posted elite in steal and block percentages last season with Memphis, validating him as a worthy 3-and-D option for tonight's tilt with the Hawks.

Waiver Watch: Wednesday's slate revealed some productive players who might be able to help fantasy teams heading into the weekend. Oklahoma City's Aleksej Pokusevski (94% available in ESPN leagues) tallied 17 points, 10 rebounds, and four combined steals and blocks. While he's yet to prove consistent, the highs are pretty impressive with "Poku." For the Suns, Cameron Payne (94%) was productive in place of Chris Paul with 23 points and 14 combined assists and rebounds last night. Payne could be valuable for as long as Paul is sidelined. For those in shallower formats, Brook Lopez is a certified fantasy star and yet is rostered in just 64.2% of leagues. Lopez delivered a 24-point double-double with five blocks on Wednesday and is now 25th overall on the Player Rater.

-- Jim McCormick and Kyle Soppe


Game of the night

Philadelphia 76ers at Atlanta Hawks
7:00 p.m. ET, State Farm Arena, Atlanta, Georgia

Line: Hawks (-1)
Money line: Hawks (-120), 76ers (+100)
Total: 222 points
BPI Projected Total: 224.2 points
BPI Win%: Hawks (53.5%)

Fantasy streamer: De'Anthony Melton (rostered in 27.1% of ESPN leagues) is firmly on the streaming radar considering the line of 223.5 points. Although Melton has not shot the ball well over the last three games, he is still doing enough to be relevant in fantasy leagues. Melton has averaged 31 fantasy points per game. -- Eric Moody

Best bet: Tobias Harris over 27.5 points + assists + rebounds. One player who has benefited from the 76ers filling the void left by James Harden is Harris. Over the last four games, he's averaged 19.0 PPG, 3.8 APG and 7.8 RPG. A lot of defensive attention will be paid to Tyrese Maxey and Joel Embiid by Atlanta, which is beneficial to Harris. -- Moody


Breaking down the rest of the slate

Dallas Mavericks at Washington Wizards
7:30 p.m. ET, Capital One Arena, Washington, Washington D.C.

Line: Mavericks (-3.5)
Money line: Mavericks (-170), Wizards (+143)
Total: 209 points
BPI Projected Total: 219.2 points
BPI Win%: Mavericks (54.5%)

Questionable: Taj Gibson (cervical strain)
Ruled Out: Bradley Beal (COVID-19 protocols), Davis Bertans (knee), Christian Wood (knee)
Note: BPI numbers factored in players who are ruled out but assumes questionable players will play

Fantasy streamer: Jordan Goodwin (rostered in 3.2% of ESPN leagues) should be provided a ton of minutes with Bradley Beal and Delon Wright still out for the Wizards. He's surpassed 41 or more fantasy points in two consecutive games. Goodwin averages 17.9 points, 8.9 rebounds and 6.8 assists per 40 minutes. -- Moody

Fantasy streamer: Dorian Finney-Smith (available in 87.7% of leagues) is a solid 3-and-D producer with enough all-around game to be useful most nights. In his last six outings, he has at least two 3-pointers in five of the games and at least two combined steals and blocks in four (with at least one "stock" in all six). He's also averaged 11.2 PPG and 3.8 RPG while shooting 48.0 FG% and 87.5 FT%. High floor player if you're looking for a streamer. -- André Snellings

Best bet: Kristaps Porzingis over 28.5 points + rebounds. Porzingis is in a great spot against his former team. He's averaged 19.2 PPG and 8.2 RPG in 30.9 MPG. The Mavericks haven't been a great rebounding team so far this season. Dallas has also allowed a lot of points to be scored near the rim and less than 14 feet away from the basket. Porzingis has shot very well from two areas of the floor this season. -- Moody

Best bet: Spencer Dinwiddie over 17.5 points. Dinwiddie has been the clear second scorer on the Mavericks this season, particularly with Christian Wood out. He has scored 20 or more points in three of his last four and four of his last six games, including 29 in his last outing. On Thursday he is facing his former team, that is allowing opposing point guards to average 23.6 PPG this season. -- Snellings

Charlotte Hornets at Miami Heat
7:30 p.m. ET, FTX Arena, Miami, Florida

Line: Heat (-10.5)
Money line: Heat (-550), Hornets (+400)
Total: 214 points
BPI Projected Total: 221.3 points
BPI Win%: Heat (76.9%)

Questionable: Caleb Martin (quad), Tyler Herro (ankle)
Ruled Out: Omer Yurtseven (ankle), Gordon Hayward (shoulder), Cody Martin (quad), LaMelo Ball (ankle)
Note: BPI numbers factored in players who are ruled out but assumes questionable players will play

Best bet: Under 214.5. My recommendation is to prioritize the under and not the spread in this game. The Heat rank 19th in points scored per 100 possessions while the Hornets are not far behind ranking 28th. Injuries are also decimating Charlotte with LaMelo Ball and Gordon Hayward sidelined. In the Heat's last five games, the total has gone over only twice. In only one of the Hornets' last five games have the totals gone over. -- Moody

Fantasy streamer: Max Strus (available in 81.7% of leagues) has been playing well of late, averaging 16.8 PPG (51.1 FG%, 100.0 FT%), 3.3 3PG, 2.8 APG, 2.0 RPG and 1.0 SPG in 32.8 MPG in his last four outings. He's started three straight games, as various of his teammates have dealt with injury, and on Thursday he could be in line for extended run again with Tyler Herro (Q, ankle), Caleb Martin (Q, quad) and Victor Oladipo (out, knee) all on the injury report. -- Snellings

Best bet: Dennis Smith Jr. over 10.5 points. Smith played only seven minutes on Saturday due to an ankle issue, and was still questionable to play on Monday because of it. In those two games, he only scored a total of three points. But, in his seven starts before Saturday, he had averaged 11.7 PPG while going over 10.5 points in four contests, then in his game after Monday he dropped 13 points in 33 minutes. WIth LaMelo Ball, Cody Martin and Gordon Hayward still out, the Hornets will rely on Smith's scoring production from the backcourt to support Terry Rozier. -- Snellings

Portland Trail Blazers at New Orleans Pelicans
8 p.m. ET, Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, Louisiana

Line: Pelicans (-6.5)
Money line: Pelicans (-260), Blazers (+210)
Total: 224.5 points
BPI Projected Total: 230.4 points
BPI Win%: Blazers (74.6%)

Questionable: Larry Nance Jr., Jusuf Nurkic, Keon Johnson, Jerami Grant
Note: BPI numbers factored in players who are ruled out but assumes questionable players will play

Fantasy streamer: Trail Blazers +6.5. On Thursday's schedule, I'm most excited about this game. This is the first game between Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum as opponents after longtime teammates. For the first time since the 2018-2019 season, the Trail Blazers are 8-3, but I believe they are being underestimated. Despite Lillard's five-game absence, Portland is 9-2 against the spread. The Pelicans are 1-4 in their last five games against the spread. With recent losses to the Lakers, Pacers, and Hawks, New Orleans is also struggling. My recommendation is to bet on the underdog Trail Blazers. -- Moody

Best bet: CJ McCollum over 20.5 Points. McCollum has had back-to-back scoring clunkers, with 16 total points in his last two outings. Before that, McCollum had scored more than 16 points in eight of his nine individual games and was averaging a robust 23.3 PPG in the four games before. McCollum is due for a bounce-back against his former team. -- Snellings

Best bet: Damian Lillard over 25.5 Points. Lillard missed four games with a strained calf. Outside of the game that he actually strained the calf and played only 22 minutes, and his first game back when he was getting back in the groove, Lillard has been north of 25.5 points in each of his last four outings. He averaged 37.7 PPG in in the three games before the injury, and dropped 26 points in an easy win on Wednesday. If he's healthy and on the court, facing familiar face McCollum, Lillard should put a big number on the board on Thursday. -- Snellings


Analytics edge

BPI highest projected totals

1. New Orleans Pelicans (118.9 points)
2.Miami Heat (114.7 points)
3. Atlanta Hawks (112.6 points)

BPI lowest projected totals

1. Dallas Mavericks (106.6 points)
2. Washington Wizards (110.2 points)
3. Philadelphia 76ers (110.2 points)

BPI top probability to win (straight up)

1. Miami Heat (76.9%)
2. New Orleans Pelicans (74.6%)
3. Dallas Mavericks (54.5%)