Fantasy basketball tips and NBA betting picks for Friday

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

What you need to know for Friday’s games

​​​Road Favorites: You had a winning night last night if you backed the road favorites (2-1 ATS), but be careful in assuming that’s something you can bank on. Even with the profitable Thursday, teams in that spot have covered just 40.8% of games this season.

​​​What’s In A Number: There are a handful of games on tonight’s slate with an over/under dipping below 230 points, but the spreads for those games are all over the place. It matters. A lot. In games with a sub-230-point over/under this season, favorites cover 56.5% of the time when the spread is less than 3.0 points but underdogs cover 55.4% of the time when the spread exceeds 7.0 points.

​​​Streaking: The Bulls have failed to cover five of their past seven home games and they host a Knicks team tonight that has covered four straight on the road. We just saw this situation on Wednesday and it followed this trend (128-120 Knicks win in overtime as a 3.5-point underdog). It is worth noting, however, that the Knicks needed to run hot from three-point range to cash those tickets (18-of-34, outsourcing the Knicks by 27 points).

Adding O2: Onyeka Okongwu is arguably the top streaming play of Friday’s entire 10-game slate, as the Hawks have ruled out Clint Capela and John Collins to respective injuries for tonight’s matchup with the Hornets in Charlotte. Averaging a double-double over his last three games and facing a Charlotte team that lacks rim protection, Okongwu (89% available in ESPN leagues) is poised as a worthy target for streaming, DFS value, and both rebounding and double-double props.

​​​Killian Them Softly: With the Detroit Pistons shutting down top pick Cade Cunningham for the season due to a significant leg injury, the franchise is at least unearthing value in the ascendant Killian Hayes. After struggling to find his game during his first two years in the league, Hayes has thrived as the team’s lead distributor in recent weeks to the tune of 6.7 dimes per game since becoming a starter a few weeks into November. A free agent in 75% of ESPN leagues, Hayes has also found his shot, sinking 40% of his 4.1 3-point attempts per game as a starter. Averaging 1.7 combined blocks and steals in his 17 starts, Hayes brings two-way production to the floor for tonight’s matchup with a Kings team that invites high-scoring games, evidenced by the game’s robust total hovering around 238 points. ​​​

Time for Time Lord: While Marcus Smart won the trophy, the best defensive force in the league last season was teammate Robert Williams III. Still a free agent in roughly a third of leagues, Williams is set to make his season debut tonight in a game against Orlando after recovering from offseason knee surgery. It’s likely that Williams will have a runway to work back to a full workload, with limited minutes expected in these first few games. Once back to form, Williams claims special statistical upside with elite scoring efficiency and some of the best defensive rates in the game. ​​​

— Jim McCormick & Kyle Soppe

Game of the night

Golden State Warriors at Philadelphia 76ers
7:30 p.m ET, Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia

Line: 76ers (-8.5)
Money line: Warriors (+275), 76ers (-350)
Total: 221.5 points
BPI Projected Total: 229.4 points
BPI Win%: 76ers (87.5%)

Questionable: Draymond Green, Klay Thompson

Ruled Out: Andrew Wiggins, Stephen Curry
Note: BPI numbers factored in players who are ruled out but assumes questionable players will play

Best bet: 76ers -8.0. The Warriors have the worst road record in the NBA at 2-13, and will be in their first game without team MVP Stephen Curry. The 76ers, meanwhile, are scorching since James Harden got re-acclimated to the game after his injury layoff. They are winners of three straight games, by an average margin of 16.3 PPG. – Andre Snellings

Breaking down the rest of the slate

Atlanta Hawks at Charlotte Hornets
7:00 p.m ET, Spectrum Center, Charlotte

Line: Hornets (-2.5)
Money line: Hawks (+118), Hornets (-140)
Total: 240 points
BPI Projected Total: 241.4 points
BPI Win%: Hornets (64.9%)

Ruled Out: John Collins, Dennis Smith Jr.
Note: BPI numbers factored in players who are ruled out but assumes questionable players will play

Sacramento Kings at Detroit Pistons
7:00 p.m ET, Little Caesars Arena, Detroit

Line: Kings (-6)
Money line: Kings (-220), Pistons (+180)
Total: 238 points
BPI Projected Total: 237.1 points
BPI Win%: Kings (64.2%)

Ruled Out: Isaiah Livers
Note: BPI numbers factored in players who are ruled out but assumes questionable players will play

Fantasy Streamer: Killian Hayes (available in 75.0% of leagues) should be universally rostered moving forward with Cade Cunningham out. He’s averaging 13.7 PPG, 7.7 APG, 3.6 RPG, 1.8 3PG and 1.4 SPG in his last 10 outings and is coming off his best game of the season with 25 points, 8 assists, 7 rebounds and 5 3-pointers on Wednesday against the Hornets. -Snellings

Best bet: Bojan Bogdanovic over 27.5 total points+assists+rebounds. Bogdanovic has averaged 22.6 PPG, 4.2 RPG and 3.4 APG in his last 13 games, going over 27.5 in nine of those 13 contests. He’s facing a Kings defense that allows the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing small forwards. -Snellings

Orlando Magic at Boston Celtics
7:30 p.m ET, TD Garden, Boston

Line: Celtics (-12.5)
Money line: Magic (+600), Celtics (-900)
Total: 227 points
BPI Projected Total: 234.4 points
BPI Win%: Celtics (94.1%)

Questionable: Al Horford, Marcus Smart

Note: BPI numbers factored in players who are ruled out but assumes questionable players will play

Indiana Pacers at Cleveland Cavaliers
7:30 p.m ET, Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, Cleveland

Line: Cavaliers (-7.5)
Money line: Pacers (+235), Cavaliers (-292)
Total: 222.5 points
BPI Projected Total: 229.8 points
BPI Win%: Cavaliers (79.3%)

Brooklyn Nets at Toronto Raptors
7:30 p.m ET, Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, Ontario

Line: Nets (-1)
Money line: Nets (-115), Raptors (-105)
Total: 226.5 points
BPI Projected Total: 230.1 points
BPI Win%: Nets (51.2%)

Questionable: Seth Curry

Ruled Out: Patty Mills
Note: BPI numbers factored in players who are ruled out but assumes questionable players will play

New York Knicks at Chicago Bulls
8:00 p.m ET, United Center, Chicago

Line: Bulls (-2.5)
Money line: Knicks (+115), Bulls (-135)
Total: 225.5 points
BPI Projected Total: 229.1 points
BPI Win%: Bulls (54.7%)

Best bet: DeMar DeRozan over 26.5 points. DeRozan has averaged 28.7 PPG in his last 13 games, going over 26.5 points in 10 of those games. Including on Wednesday, against these same Knicks in the same venue, where he dropped 32 points. -Snellings

Minnesota Timberwolves at Oklahoma City Thunder
8:00 p.m ET, Paycom Center, Oklahoma City

Line: Thunder (-2.5)
Money line: Timberwolves (+115), Thunder (-135)
Total: 233.5 points
BPI Projected Total: 232.1 points
BPI Win%: Thunder (54.6%)

Questionable: Rudy Gobert, D’Angelo Russell

Note: BPI numbers factored in players who are ruled out but assumes questionable players will play

Portland Trail Blazers at Dallas Mavericks
8:30 p.m ET, American Airlines Center, Dallas

Line: Mavericks (-4)
Money line: Blazers (+143), Mavericks (-170)
Total: 225.5 points
BPI Projected Total: 234.8 points
BPI Win%: Mavericks (70.4%)

Questionable: Josh Hart

Ruled Out: Josh Green
Note: BPI numbers factored in players who are ruled out but assumes questionable players will play

Best bet: Damian Lillard over 28.5 points. Lillard has scored at least 36 points in four straight games, and seems to be railed in “he’s on fire” mode. He’ll be a fixture in this space until he shows that he’s ready to put the flamethrower away. -Snellings

Denver Nuggets at Los Angeles Lakers
10:00 p.m ET, Arena, Los Angeles

Line: Nuggets (-1.5)
Money line: Nuggets (-120), Lakers (+100)
Total: 237.5 points
BPI Projected Total: 235.9 points
BPI Win%: Nuggets (62.9%)

Questionable: LeBron James, Anthony Davis

Ruled Out: Michael Porter Jr.
Note: BPI numbers factored in players who are ruled out but assumes questionable players will play

Best bet: Anthony Davis over 28.5 points. Davis has historically done well against Jokic, using his length and athleticism to get where he wants on the court. Davis has scored at least 31 points in each of the last five games that he’s played more than eight minutes, and is a good bet to keep that streak going as long as his health holds up. -Snellings

Analytics edge

BPI highest projected totals

1. Boston Celtics (125.8)
2.Charlotte Hornets (123.3)
3. Atlanta Hawks (120.6)

BPI lowest projected totals

1. Orlando Magic (108.6)
2. Boston Celtics (110.5)
3. Indiana Pacers (110.5)

BPI top probability to win (straight up)

1. Boston Celtics (94.1%)
2. Philadelphia 76ers (87.5%)
3. Cleveland Cavaliers (79.3%)

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