Fantasy basketball tips and NBA betting picks for Saturday: Replacing De’Aaron Fox


ESPN’s fantasy basketball and basketball betting tips cheat sheet is your pregame destination for basketball betting predictions and our best intel and data, featuring ESPN’s proprietary Basketball Power Index (BPI) to help you make smart fantasy and wagering decisions. NBA game odds for Saturday, March 25 are provided by Caesars Sportsbook, and fantasy advice is based on ESPN 10-team leagues.

Another Western contender suffered a potentially significant loss with De’Aaron Fox of the Sacramento Kings leaving Friday night’s win over the Phoenix Suns early due to a hamstring injury. The relatively good news is that this isn’t the same leg that cost him time earlier this season, but it’s safe to assume Davion Mitchell (98% available in ESPN leagues) and to a greater degree Malik Monk (85%) and Kevin Huerter (37%) stand out as premier streaming and DFS values ahead of tonight’s tilt with the Utah Jazz.

Saturday offers a somewhat light six-game slate, but one defined by a marquee matchup featuring the Milwaukee Bucks visiting the Denver Nuggets. Beyond building lineups around the two MVP candidates present in this matchup, glue guy Bruce Brown (80%) is a top target for those seeking a plug-and-play option.

With just two days of competition left in head-to-head weekly formats, maximizing games played during a six-game schedule can prove critical. This leads to names like Terence Ross (98%), who just delivered a 30-point opus last night, or even to proven vets such as Kelly Olynyk (65%) as a means to net extra numbers before the week is out.

Line: Nuggets (-2.5)
BPI Projection: Nuggets: 133.2-129.7
Money Line: Bucks (118), Nuggets (-140)
BPI Projected winner: Nuggets (62.3%)
Total: 236 BPI Projected Total: 262.9

Injury Report:
Bucks: Goran Dragic, (GTD – Knee); Jae Crowder, (GTD – Calf); Khris Middleton, (GTD – Knee); Meyers Leonard, (GTD – Calf)
Nuggets: None reported
Note: BPI numbers factor players who are ruled out but assumes GTD players will play

Best bet: Nikola Jokic over 46.5 points+assists+rebounds. This game is more important for the Nuggets considering how competitive the Western Conference is. Jokic has surpassed 46.5 PAR in three of his last four games and will shine in this matchup as he attempts to regain the MVP lead. -Moody

Best bet: Jamal Murray over 31.5 points+assists+rebounds. He has surpassed 31.5 PAR in four consecutive games. Bettors should benefit from Murray’s involvement in this game. The Nuggets are 30-6 on their home court. In Murray’s last 15 home games, he’s averaged 23.7 points, 7.0 assists and 4.4 rebounds. -Moody

Trend: It’s rare to see the Bucks positioned as underdogs, but such is the case on the road against the West’s top team. While the spread remains tight, the total is a healthy 235.5 on most books, suggesting an up-tempo, offensively-friendly contest appears likely between a Nuggets team that sits second in offensive rating and a Bucks scheme that ranks eighth in pace. -McCormick

Breaking down the rest of the slate

Indiana Pacers at Atlanta Hawks
5:00 p.m ET, State Farm Arena, Atlanta, GA

Records (Against the Spread)
Pacers: 33-41 (39-35-0)
Hawks: 36-37 (33-38-2)

Line: Hawks (-9)
BPI Projection: Hawks: 132.3-128.4
Money Line: Pacers (310), Hawks (-400)
BPI Projected winner: Hawks (63.8%)
Total: 242 BPI Projected Total: 260.7

Injury Report:
Pacers: Chris Duarte, (GTD – Ankle); Kendall Brown, (OUT – Lower Leg)
Hawks: De’Andre Hunter, (GTD – Knee); Trae Young, (GTD – Calf); Jalen Johnson, (OUT – Hamstring)
Note: BPI numbers factor players who are ruled out but assumes GTD players will play

Best bet: Pacers +9.5. The Hawks aren’t a strong defensive team, ranking 21st in points allowed per 100 possessions, and not particularly dominant at home, winning by an average margin of just 1.9 points. The Hawks are also just 4-9 against the spread in their 13 games against an Eastern Conference opponent. The Pacers are 4-1 against the spread in their last 5 road games. I’m not thrilled to lay double-digit chalk. Tyrese Haliburton‘s availability in this game is also important to monitor. -Moody

Best bet: Clint Capela over 23.5 points+rebounds. This season, the Pacers allow the fourth most points and rebounds per game to centers. Over the last 12 games, Capela has averaged 11.6 points and 10.6 rebounds. He’s in a great position to surpass those averages. -Moody

Brooklyn Nets at Miami Heat
8:00 p.m ET, FTX Arena, Miami, FLA

Records (Against the Spread)
Nets: 39-34 (39-34-0)
Heat: 40-34 (27-44-3)

Line: Heat (-6)
BPI Projection: Heat: 132.3-119.9
Money Line: Nets (185), Heat (-225)
BPI Projected winner: Heat (67.3%)
Total: 221.5 BPI Projected Total: 244.5

Injury Report:
Nets: Seth Curry, (OUT – Personal); Ben Simmons, (OUT – Knee)
Heat: Caleb Martin, (GTD – Knee); Kyle Lowry, (GTD – Knee); Cody Zeller, (OUT – Nose)
Note: BPI numbers factor players who are ruled out but assumes GTD players will play

Best bet: Tyler Herro over 18.5 points. Over the last 12 games, he’s averaged 19.3 points per game. Herro has a favorable matchup against the Nets, who have struggled against shooting guards all season. He’s averaged 18.6 points in his last five games against the Nets. -Moody

Trend: The Heat have won four of their past five games but have covered just 13 times against the spread at home this season. The Nets, meanwhile, have covered five of their past six road games and have gone a somewhat ridiculous 13-1 straight up against the Southeast division. -McCormick

Philadelphia 76ers at Phoenix Suns
10:00 p.m ET, Footprint Center, Phoenix, AZ

Records (Against the Spread)
76ers: 49-24 (41-31-1)
Suns: 38-35 (36-35-2)

Line: Suns (-1.5)
BPI Projection: 76ers: 134.2-128.6
Money Line: 76ers (105), Suns (-125)
BPI Projected winner: 76ers (69.3%)
Total: 225.5 BPI Projected Total: 262.8

Injury Report:
76ers: Danuel House Jr., (GTD – Shoulder); Jalen McDaniels, (GTD – Hip); James Harden, (GTD – Achilles)
Suns: Deandre Ayton, (OUT – Hip); Kevin Durant, (OUT – Ankle)
Note: BPI numbers factor players who are ruled out but assumes GTD players will play

Best bet: 76ers ML. Philadelphia has won 73% of the 52 games this season in which they have been the favorites. The 76ers are deeper than the Suns, even with James Harden and Jalen McDaniels out. Despite Devin Booker‘s big games, Phoenix hasn’t been able to build any momentum and I believe that will continue on Saturday night. The 76ers should come out on top in this game. -Moody

Trend: The Suns have been capable at home of late, covering nine of their past 12 in Phoenix. The Sixers, meanwhile, are one of the better road teams in the league, thus the line in this game has hovered around one point. Joel Embiid‘s status will prove influential in this one, as Phoenix won’t have Deandre Ayton active for this home game. -McCormick

Utah Jazz at Sacramento Kings
10:00 p.m ET, Golden 1 Center, Sacremento, CA

Records (Against the Spread)
Jazz: 35-38 (40-33-0)
Kings: 44-29 (41-32-0)

Line: Kings (-8)
BPI Projection: Kings: 138.5-130.1
Money Line: Jazz (270), Kings (-345)
BPI Projected winner: Kings (77.4%)
Total: 237.5 BPI Projected Total: 268.6

Injury Report:
Jazz: Collin Sexton, (GTD – Hamstring); Jordan Clarkson, (GTD – Finger); Lauri Markkanen, (GTD – Hand); Rudy Gay, (GTD – Back)
Kings: De’Aaron Fox, (GTD – Hamstring)
Note: BPI numbers factor players who are ruled out but assumes GTD players will play

Fantasy streamer: Walker Kessler (rostered in 58% of ESPN leagues) is in the midst of a superb rookie season. He has played fewer than 30 minutes in each of the last two games. Kessler has scored 26 or more fantasy points in four consecutive games. He has a favorable matchup against the Kings who rank 26th in points allowed per 100 possessions and isn’t a great rebounding team. -Moody

Fantasy streamer: Davion Mitchell (rostered in 1.8% of ESPN leagues) will play additional minutes if De’Aaron Fox, who is dealing with right hamstring soreness, is ruled out for Saturday’s game. Mitchell averages 12.7 points, 3.0 rebounds and 4.8 assists per 40 minutes and is on the streaming radar for fantasy managers in deeper formats. -Moody

Trend: Are you surprised that hitting the over has been a hot trend for the Kings? The team claims the league’s No. 1 offense by a wide margin and their games have gone over in six of the team’s past eight outings. The Jazz, meanwhile, sit 24th in defensive rating. -McCormick

New Orleans Pelicans at LA Clippers
10:30 p.m ET, Arena, Los Angeles, CA

Records (Against the Spread)
Pelicans: 36-37 (34-38-1)
Clippers: 39-35 (37-37-0)

Line: Clippers (-5)
BPI Projection: Clippers: 138.5-120
Money Line: Pelicans (170), Clippers (-205)
BPI Projected winner: Clippers (74.6%)
Total: 224.5 BPI Projected Total: 247.1

Injury Report:
Pelicans: Trey Murphy III, (GTD – Toe); Jose Alvarado, (OUT – Leg); Zion Williamson, (OUT – Hamstring); E.J. Liddell, (OUT – Knee)
Clippers: Brandon Boston Jr., (OUT – Lower Body); Norman Powell, (OUT – Shoulder); Paul George, (OUT – Leg)
Note: BPI numbers factor players who are ruled out but assumes GTD players will play

Fantasy streamer: Bones Hyland (rostered in 9.9%) has helped fill the statistical void left by Paul George, who’s dealing with a knee injury. In Thursday’s game against the Thunder, he scored 42 fantasy points in 26 minutes, making him someone fantasy managers in deeper formats should consider. -Moody

Best bet: Russell Westbrook over 29.5 points+assists+rebounds. With Paul George injured, Westbrook has emerged as the Clippers’ No. 2 offensive option behind Kawhi Leonard. Westbrook surpassed 29.5 PAR against the Thunder on Thursday and he’s going to be busy against the Pelicans on Saturday night. -Moody

Best bet: Pelicans +5.5. I’m backing New Orleans even on the road against the Clippers. There is one trend to sticks out to me. The Pelicans are 8-1 against the spread in their last nine games against the Clippers. There are nine games left in the regular season for New Orleans. There’s a lot of weight on each game in the Western Conference. This four-game road trip could make or break the Pelicans’ playoff chances. This should be a hard fought game by New Orleans. -Moody

Best bet: Jonas Valanciunas over 26.5 points+rebounds. A great deal of attention will be paid to whom the Pelicans will assign to defend Kawhi Leonard, but the battle between Valanciunas and Ivica Zubac is more important. In his last five games against the Clippers, Valanciunas has averaged 20.4 points and 12 rebounds. He has had four consecutive double doubles and Valanciunas’ success should continue on Saturday. -Moody

Trend: Over the past few seasons, Tyronn Lue’s Clippers have covered two-thirds of their home games when the total tops 220 points. Tonight’s tilt with the Pelicans sits at nearly 225 on most books, with Kawhi and company trying to protect home court. -McCormick

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