Fantasy basketball tips and NBA betting picks for Thursday

Keep reading to see why Bruce Brown of the Denver Nuggets is one of the most versatile players in fantasy basketball. Ned Dishman/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 December 6th are provided by Caesars Sportsbook, and fantasy advice is based on ESPN 10-team leagues.

What you need to know for Thursday's games

​​​Buying Bassey: The Spurs won't have Jakob Poeltl in the lineup tonight against the Rockets due to a knee ailment. All signs point to backup big Charles Bassey (99% available in ESPN leagues) seeing more run. The former Sixers prospect has thrived with San Antonio and proven capable of producing when called on, as he just nearly delivered a double-double a few nights back in just 20 minutes of exposure. With the potential to see extended run against a soft defensive opponent, it helps Bassey's case -- especially at just $3,600 on DraftKings -- that Poeltl leads San Antonio with 15.4 potential rebounds and nine paint touches per game. The likely absence of Devin Vassell, who is listed as doubtful, propels Keldon Johnson into building block status for DFS purposes.

​​​Tari Time: The young Rockets just got a rousing win over James Harden and Philly thanks in part to rookie Tari Eason pouring in an efficient 18 points to go with elite defensive results. With at least five boards in four straight and growing confidence as a shooter, Eason (95% available) is an ideal streaming candidate facing a Spurs team allowing 52.2 DraftKings points per game to power forwards, the highest clip in the league.

Valuing Versatility: Over the past month, Denver's Bruce Brown has averaged nearly one DraftKings point per minute. He's done so despite averaging just 11.5 points during this sample. The driving force of his statistical success is versatility, as the former Brooklyn standout has averaged 4.9 dimes, 5.3 boards, and 1.9 combined steals and blocks over the past month. As a crucial part of Denver's rotation, Brown can be expected to cruise past 30 minutes of play against the Trail Blazers tonight.

Next Mann Up: The Clippers had both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George in the lineup for a close win over the Hornets in Charlotte earlier this week. With the expectation that we see both star wings in the lineup tonight against the Heat in Miami, it's worth noting that scoring guard Norman Powell is likely to remain sidelined due to a groin injury, shifting Terance Mann into a more prominent role in the rotation. Mann just tallied 19 points and nine boards in a loss to the Magic on Wednesday, suggesting he's a worthy target for both redraft and DFS competition.

Low On Points, High On 'Dogs: Underdogs this season are 13-6-2 ATS when the expected point total is less than 215 points, a spot the Clippers find themselves in on the second night of a back-to-back. As you might expect, the same teams are generally involved in games like this ... overs are 4-1 in Miami games that feature a sub-215-point over/under.

-- Jim McCormick & Kyle Soppe

Game of the night

LA Clippers at Miami Heat
7:30 p.m ET, FTX Arena, Miami

Line: Heat (-6)
Money line: Clippers (+185), Heat (-225)
Total: 213.5 points
BPI Projected Total: 234 points
BPI Win%: Heat (58.6%)

Ruled Out: Dewayne Dedmon (foot)
Note: BPI numbers factored in players who are ruled out but assumes questionable players will play

Fantasy streamer: John Wall (rostered in 46.2% of ESPN leagues) is expected to play Thursday night. In two of his last three games, he has scored 28 or more fantasy points. He is more of an assist specialist for those in category formats. - Eric Moody

Best bet: Ivica Zubac, Clippers over 9.5 points

The Heat are trying to keep scores low but have permitted 116 or more points in three consecutive games, while Zubac has turned into a double-double machine, with four of them in his past six contests. Zubac is fourth in the league in rebounds and fifth in field goal shooting, and playing a career-high minutes, and this game should be another double-double for him. - Eric Karabell

Best bet: Bam Adebayo over 29.5 points+rebounds

On Thursday, Adebayo should have plenty of success against Ivica Zubac. This season, he averages 20.7 points and 9.2 rebounds. If Jimmy Butler is ruled out, Adebayo's ceiling is even higher. - Moody

Breaking down the rest of the slate

Houston Rockets at San Antonio Spurs
8:30 p.m ET, AT&T Center, San Antonio

Line: Rockets (-1.5)
Money line: Rockets (-125), Spurs (+105)
Total: 231 points
BPI Projected Total: 237 points
BPI Win%: Rockets (50.2%)

Questionable: Kevin Porter Jr., Josh Richardson (ankle), Doug McDermott (ankle)

Ruled Out: None (leg)
Note: BPI numbers factored in players who are ruled out but assumes questionable players will play

Fantasy streamer: Jabari Smith Jr., Rockets. Smith comes off his fourth double-double this season in Monday's win over the defensive-minded 76ers. Smith plays the Spurs tonight, and they are not at all defensive-minded. The Spurs have lost 11 games in a row and will not have C Jakob Poeltl, yet again. Assuming Houston's guards share the ball, Smith should be able to thrive against this frontcourt, and he has provided 28 or more fantasy points in three of four games. - Karabell

Fantasy streamer: Tari Eason's (rostered in 7.9% of ESPN leagues) fantasy potential has been on display in recent games. The only thing he needs is to play more minutes. Eason has scored 40 or more fantasy points three times in the last six games he has played 20 or more minutes in. - Moody

Best bet: Tre Jones over 13.5 points

The Spurs are decimated by injuries right now which would position Jones to thrive as a scorer. The Rockets rank 28th in points allowed per 100 possessions. It is likely that Jones will exceed his season average of 12.1 points on Thursday night. - Moody

Denver Nuggets at Portland Trail Blazers
10:00 p.m ET, Moda Center, Portland

Line: Blazers (-1)
Money line: Nuggets (-105), Blazers (-115)
Total: 227.5 points
BPI Projected Total: 218.3 points
BPI Win%: Nuggets (56.6%)

Questionable: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (wrist), Josh Hart (ankle)

Ruled Out: Michael Porter Jr. (foot), Gary Payton II
Note: BPI numbers factored in players who are ruled out but assumes questionable players will play

Best bet: Anfernee Simons over 26.5 points+assists

Simons should still be actively involved in the Trail Blazers' offense even with Damian Lillard back. The Nuggets rank 27th in points allowed per 100 possessions. Simons accumulated 28 points+assists against the Pacers on Sunday and there is a strong chance he'll have a similar performance on Thursday night. - Moody

Best bet: Jerami Grant, Blazers over 20.5 points

Grant is averaging 23 PPG and he has scored 21 or more points in seven consecutive games, including a 44-point effort in that span, so this seems like a rather low bar for him to topple. The Nuggets are middle of the pack in preventing points, and Grant is a more versatile scorer than at any point in his career, attempting career-bests in 3-ponters and free throws. He gets his chances to score and will versus Denver. - Karabell

Best bet: Jerami Grant over 20.5 points

Seven consecutive games have seen Grant surpass 20.5 points. Against the Nuggets' poor defense, his streak is likely to continue. - Moody