Fantasy basketball tips and NBA betting picks for Friday

Ja Morant has averaged 40.9 points, assists and rebounds this season and should exceed those averages on Friday night against the Lakers. Photo by Justin Ford/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 January 20th are provided by Caesars Sportsbook, and fantasy advice is based on ESPN 10-team leagues.

Playing The Pacers: The Nuggets have won eight straight while the Pacers have dropped five in a row (each of the past three coming by at least 13 points) ... in other words, no one is rushing to back the Pacers tonight. But is that right? Indiana is 6-3 ATS this season in their nine biggest underdog spots and Denver is 5-7-1 ATS in their 13 biggest favorite spots. Even more interesting? Unders are 15-7 in those 22 games. If this game trends toward the under, covering this massive number is very much in play.

Gauging The Grizz: Memphis has been the best team in basketball since New Year's, but they are just 2-4 ATS over their past six games. If fading a red hot team isn't for you, then maybe I can interest you in the total: overs are 7-0-1 in Memphis' past eight.

Go Low: The Miami-Dallas total sticks out as particularly low on this slate ... and it makes sense. In the Mavericks' past eight coin flip games (games that close with a spread of less than three points), unders are 6-2. That trend is a-OK with the Heat, as they are 5-1-1 ATS in their past seven games that have gone under the projected total.

Rare Rookie: One of the more popular names in this space the last few weeks has been Utah's rookie center Walker Kessler. The steady inclusion makes sense when you look at the gap between his incredibly valuable production while starting recently compared to the fact he's still a free agent in 70% of ESPN leagues and priced at just $5,700 on DraftKings on Friday. With Kelly Olynyk ruled out yet again for this matchup with an undersized Brooklyn team on the second leg of a back-to-back, it's worth noting Kessler has averaged 13.4 points, 12.4 rebounds, and an invaluable 2.8 blocks across his last five games.

Oklahoma Wings: It's not just Shai Gilgeous-Alexander doing damage for the Thunder this season, as the team is getting sound play from two young wings. Luguentz Dort (72% available) started the season slow on offense, yet has averaged 16.1 points while sinking 46% of his 3-point attempts over his last 11 games, all starts. Rising rookie Jalen Williams is doing a bit of everything with his minutes, averaging an awesome three combined steals and blocks over the past week while also delivering 11 points and 10.7 combined assists and rebounds over this sample. Riding with both in DFS and redraft formats could prove profitable facing the up-tempo Kings tonight.

Feeling Fultz: Somewhat lost in the shuffle of Paolo Banchero's awesome rookie season, the breakout for Bol Bol, and the continued emergence of Franz Wagner has been the revival of Markelle Fultz in Orlando. The former top pick might not ever return to the shooting and spacing force he was in college, but there is still a great deal of statistical value in a point guard producing gobs of assists and steals. With so many heliocentric stars around the league, sourcing dimes is tougher than ever, which makes Fultz a nice option for those in need of passing prowess ahead of this evening's matchup with the visiting Pelicans.

-- Jim McCormick and Kyle Soppe

Game of the night

Miami Heat at Dallas Mavericks
7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN, American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas

Line: Mavericks (-1)
Money line: Heat (-110), Mavericks (-110)
Total: 219 points
BPI Projected Total: 222.5 points
BPI Win%: Heat (51%)

Best bet: Spencer Dinwiddie over 4.5 assists. Dinwiddie is in a great spot against a Heat team that allows the sixth highest effective field goal percentages to opponents. He's surpassed 4.5 assists in three of his last four games. -- Eric Moody

Memphis Grizzlies at Los Angeles Lakers
10 p.m. ET on ESPN, Crypto.com Arena, Los Angeles, California

Line: Grizzlies (-7)
Money line: Grizzlies (-285), Lakers (+228)
Total: 243 points
BPI Projected Total: 239.3 points
BPI Win%: Grizzlies (67.6%)

Best bet: Desmond Bane over 21.5 points. Bane seems to have regained his form as a deadeye volume shooter. He's now scored 25 or more points in three straight games, averaging 26.0 PPG (58.5 FG%, 100 FT%, 56.5 3P%) with 4.3 3PG during those games. -- Andre Snellings

Best bet: Ja Morant over 40.5 points + assists + rebounds. Morant has an excellent matchup against the Lakers. Los Angeles rank 23rd in points allowed per 100 possessions and allow opponents one of the highest effective field goals percentages in the league. The Lakers also give up the second most points per game to point guards. This season, Morant has averaged 40.9 PAR per game. He can exceed those averages in this type of matchup. -- Moody

New Orleans Pelicans at Orlando Magic
7 p.m. ET, Amway Center, Orlando, Florida

Line: Pelicans (-1.5)
Money line: Pelicans (-120), Magic (+100)
Total: 228.5 points
BPI Projected Total: 227.2 points
BPI Win%: Pelicans (53.4%)

Fantasy streamer: Trey Murphy III (available in 82.4% of leagues) has been starting for months now, due to all the injuries on the Pelicans. He's been a bit streaky, but overall had a really strong run. Like the rest of the Pelicans, Murphy had a bad game in a 26-point loss to the Heat on Wednesday, but in the three games before had averaged 17.0 PPG (55.6 FG%, 100 FT%, 38.9 3P%), 3.3 RPG, 2.3 3PG, 2.0 SPG, 1.7 APG and 0.7 BPG in 34.0 MPG. I expect him to bounce back to this type of production on Friday against the Magic. -- Snellings

Fantasy streamer: Jose Alvarado (rostered in 5.6% of ESPN leagues) is on the streaming radar for a Pelicans already without Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram. Naji Marshall is also questionable due to right big toe soreness. Alvarado has scored 20 or more fantasy points in three consecutive games. He's in a great spot against a Magic team that ranks 17th in points allowed per 100 possessions. -- Moody

Best bet: CJ McCollum over 25.5 points. McCollum cooled down this week, averaging only 23.0 PPG in consecutive losses to tough defenses in the Cavaliers and the Heat. But, it hasn't been long since he was wielding the flame thrower with averages of 32.0 PPG on 52.2 FG% and 4.8 3PG on 48.7 3P% in his first four games after Zion Williamson went down. McCollum should have the chance to bounce-back on Friday against a Magic defense that is in the bottom-10 in the NBA in points allowed to the point guard position (25.2 PPG). --Snellings

New York Knicks at Atlanta Hawks
7:30 p.m. ET, State Farm Arena, Atlanta, Georgia

Line: Hawks (-2.5)
Money line: Hawks (-142), Knicks (+120)
Total: 228.5 points
BPI Projected Total: 226 points
BPI Win%: Hawks (58.3%)

Fantasy streamer: Isaiah Hartenstein (rostered in 3.6% of ESPN leagues) is on the streaming radar with Mitchell Robinson out due to a fractured right thumb. Hartenstein is likely to move into the starting lineup. This season, he has averaged 11.0 points and 13.2 rebounds per 40 minutes. -- Moody

Best bet: Julius Randle over 43.5 points + assists + rebounds. Power forwards have plagued the Hawks all season. They will now face Randle, who has been playing great lately. He has averaged 28.1 points, 4.4 assists, and 13.9 rebounds over the last 14 games. On Friday night, Randle should dominate the Hawks. -- Moody

Golden State Warriors at Cleveland Cavaliers
7:30 p.m. ET, Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, Cleveland, Ohio

Line: Cavaliers (-8)
Money line: Cavaliers (-320), Warriors (+260)
Total: 224 points
BPI Projected Total: 227.8 points
BPI Win%: Cavaliers (61.6%)

LA Clippers at San Antonio Spurs
8 p.m. ET, AT&T Center, San Antonio, Texas

Line: Clippers (-7)
Money line: Clippers (-280), Spurs (+230)
Total: 231 points
BPI Projected Total: 227.8 points
BPI Win%: Clippers (70.2%)

Best bet: Keldon Johnson under 31.5 points + assists + rebounds. Johnson is coming off of 36 points, one assists and 11 rebounds performance against the Nets on Tuesday. He has been inconsistent all season, and he could struggle against a Clippers team that has Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. -- Moody

Indiana Pacers at Denver Nuggets
9 p.m. ET, Ball Arena, Denver, Colorado

Line: Nuggets (-11)
Money line: Nuggets (-560), Pacers (+420)
Total: 239.5 points
BPI Projected Total: 235.5 points
BPI Win%: Nuggets (83.5%)

Fantasy streamer: TJ McConnell (available in 80.5% of leagues) has stepped up in a major way with Tyrese Haliburton out, averaging 258. PPG, 8.0 APG, 5.6 RPG, 2.2 SPG and 1.0 3PG in 26.2 MPG off the bench. He's putting up fantasy starter numbers, even if he's not starting for the Pacers, and is a great streaming candidate for as long as he maintains this role. -- Snellings

Fantasy streamer: Andrew Nembhard (available in 94.0% of leagues) has also stepped up to help fill the statistical void left by Haliburton's absence. Nembhard is not a big scorer, but has a solid all-around game. In his last six outings, he has averaged 11.3 PPG, 6.0 APG, 2.8 RPG, 1.8 3PG and 1.5 SPG in 30.7 MPG. He has struggled with his shot during that stretch, and if he can get that straightened out he has mid-teens scoring upside. -- Snellings

Brooklyn Nets at Utah Jazz
9 p.m. ET, Vivint Arena, Salt Lake City, Utah

Line: Jazz (-7.5)
Money line: Jazz (-295), Nets (+240)
Total: 229 points
BPI Projected Total: 236.4 points
BPI Win%: Jazz (62.8%)

Fantasy streamer: Walker Kessler (available in 71.1% of leagues) is ascending before our eyes. He has four double-doubles in his last six games, averaging 12.8 PPG, 12.5 RPG and 3.3 BPG in 28.5 MPG in that stretch. Kessler was drafted to be an elite shot-blocker, and he is delivering that in spades for the Jazz right now. -- Snellings

Best bet: Lauri Markkanen over 26.5 points. Markkanen is deep into "set it and forget it" mode when he's on the court, and has been for quite awhile now. In the last month, he has averaged 30.6 PPG while going over 26.5 in 10 of 13 games. This should continue, at home, against a Nets defense in the second half of a back-to-back. -- Snellings

Oklahoma City Thunder at Sacramento Kings
10 p.m. ET, Golden 1 Center, Sacramento, California

Line: Kings (-3)
Money line: Kings (-156), Thunder (+132)
Total: 241.5 points
BPI Projected Total: 240.4 points
BPI Win%: Kings (71.2%)