Fantasy basketball tips and NBA betting picks for Wednesday

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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 Wednesday, March 22 are provided by Caesars Sportsbook, and fantasy advice is based on ESPN 10-team leagues.


What you need to know for Wednesday’s games

It’s a fairly clear sign of value when the top fantasy point projection for a 10-game slate comes at a sizable discount compared to superstar peers. Such is the case with Damian Lillard in Salt Lake City this evening, as the Portland Trail Blazers‘ superstar is priced at just $10,500 on DraftKings for this matchup with the Jazz and yet edges the pricier Luka Doncic ($12,000) and Joel Embiid ($11,700) in projected production in my model. Even Portland teammates Trendon Watford (at least 26 DraftKings points in four of five) and Cam Reddish surface as complementary values to Lillard.

The defining NBA news of the day isn’t focused on Lillard’s offensive ceiling, however, as Karl-Anthony Towns is somewhat surprisingly set to make his return to the floor for the Minnesota Timberwolves after a 52-game absence due to a calf injury. It’s also likely that co-star Anthony Edwards returns from a recent ankle injury, marking Minnesota at full capacity for the first time in months. Towns will almost surely be on a minutes restriction, but this remains momentous news given a somewhat wide-open West and Towns’ ability to help fantasy managers for these final weeks.

— Jim McCormick


Games of the Night

Golden State Warriors at Dallas Mavericks
7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN, American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas

Records (Against the Spread)
Warriors: 37-36 (34-38-1)
Mavericks: 36-36 (27-42-3)

Line: Warriors (-2)
BPI Projection: Mavericks (134.5-131.7)
Money Line: Warriors (-130), Mavericks (+110)
BPI Projected winner: Mavericks (59.9%)
Total: 234 points BPI Projected Total: 266.2 points

Injury Report:
Warriors: Draymond Green, (GTD – Wrist); Kevon Looney, (GTD – Back); Andrew Wiggins, (OUT – Personal); Gary Payton II, (OUT – Abdomen); Ty Jerome, (OUT – Not Injury Related); Andre Iguodala, (OUT – Wrist); Ryan Rollins, (OUT – Foot)
Mavericks: Kyrie Irving, (GTD – Foot); Luka Doncic, (GTD – Thigh); Markieff Morris, (GTD – Knee)
Note: BPI numbers factor players who are ruled out but assumes GTD players will play

Fantasy streamer: Jonathan Kuminga (rostered in 7.9% of ESPN leagues) is on a roll for the Warriors right now and the Mavs give up a league-worst 24.06 points to opposing power forwards. Kuminga has hit double digits in scoring in six of his last eight games and is averaging 20.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.0 blocks and 2.5 3-pointers over his last two games. Ironically, he didn’t go off in a start last Friday when Draymond Green was suspended, but he’s been rock solid in his last two games, when Green was starting. — Alexander

Fantasy streamer: Jaden Hardy (available in 98.6% of leagues) has scored 20 or more points in four of the Mavericks’ last five games, and could be in for a larger role on Wednesday with both Luka Doncic (Q, thigh, after missing five straight games) and Kyrie Irving (Q, foot re-tweak) questionable. — Snellings

Fantasy streamer: Josh Green (available in 97.7% of leagues) is another that scored 21+ points in the three straight games that Doncic and Irving both missed last week, that could be in for a bump on Wednesday if they sit. — Snellings

Trend: We saw proof on Monday that the Warriors can in fact cover a spread on the road. Sure, it was Houston and sure, without an 8-2 run over the final 90 seconds, they don’t get there, but the important part is that they covered. The Dubs are 8-4 ATS in their past 12 games as a favorite and they get the Mavericks right where they want them: in Dallas with a high total. The Mavs are 5-12 ATS this season when the projected total eclipses 230 points and they’ve failed to cover five of their past six at home.– Kyle Soppe


Phoenix Suns at Los Angeles Lakers
10 p.m. ET, Crypto.com Arena, Los Angeles, California

Records (Against the Spread)
Suns: 38-33 (36-33-2)
Lakers: 35-37 (33-37-2)

Line: Suns (-1.5)
BPI Projection: Lakers: (132.2-128.6)
Money Line: Suns (-125), Lakers (+105)
BPI Projected winner: Lakers (51.1%)
Total: 229 points BPI Projected Total: 257.6 points

Injury Report:
Suns: Duane Washington Jr., (GTD – Hip); Deandre Ayton, (OUT – Hip); Kevin Durant, (OUT – Ankle)
Lakers: Anthony Davis, (GTD – Foot); LeBron James, (OUT – Foot); Mo Bamba, (OUT – Ankle)
Note: BPI numbers factor players who are ruled out but assumes GTD players will play

Fantasy streamer: Austin Reaves (rostered in 14.6% of ESPN leagues) is coming off a 35-point explosion against Orlando on Sunday and I simply don’t know why he’s not rostered in more leagues. He’s scored in double figures in eight straight games and is averaging 17.8 points, 3.1 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 1.1 3-pointers on 55.9 percent shooting in March. Yeah, he doesn’t get many steals or blocks, but LeBron James isn’t coming back anytime soon and Reaves has been rolling for the entire month. — Alexander

Trend: This line is trending closer to a pick’em, but it opened with the Lakers as a slight home underdog and that’s proven to be a profitable spot. This season, Los Angeles is 10-8 outright (11-7 ATS) when in such a position. The Suns are a respectable 8-8 ATS this season when favored on the road, but that number is a little underwhelming when compared to their 15-11 ATS mark at home when favored.– Soppe


Breaking down Wednesday’s slate

Denver Nuggets at Washington Wizards
7 p.m ET, Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.

Records (Against the Spread)
Nuggets: 48-24 (38-33-1)
Wizards: 32-40 (32-38-2)

Line: Nuggets (-7)
BPI Projection: Nuggets (132.9-127.2)
Money Line: Nuggets (-285), Wizards (+228)
BPI Projected winner: Nuggets (69.9%)
Total: 227 points BPI Projected Total: 260.1 points

Injury Report:
Nuggets: None reported
Wizards: Kyle Kuzma, (GTD – Ankle)
Note: BPI numbers factor players who are ruled out but assumes GTD players will play

Best bet: Nikola Jokic over 46.5 points + rebounds + assists. Jokic blistered the Wizards for a ridiculous 43 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists (65 total) in their previous meeting on Dec. 14 and he could potentially put a dagger in the MVP race with a similar performance tonight. The problem is the Wizards are awful right now, losing to the Magic on Tuesday and dropping their sixth game in their last seven outings. The blowout potential is real, especially if Kyle Kuzma (ankle) doesn’t play again, but Jokic will be looking to destroy the Wizards with another monster game tonight. Jokic is averaging 25.4 points, 13.2 rebounds and 9.2 dimes in March, good for a total of 47.8 per night. — Alexander

Fantasy streamer: Deni Avdija (rostered in 5.8% of ESPN leagues) is on a mini-tear right now, going for 15 points, 10 rebounds, three assists, two steals and three 3-pointers on Tuesday after grabbing 11 rebounds off the bench in his previous game. Kuzma is likely out tonight with his significant ankle injury and it’s possible the Wizards are resting players on the second night of a back-to-back. But if Avdija is playing tonight, he’s worth a stream in most formats. Corey Kispert, who literally does nothing other than score and hit 3-pointers, will also be worth a streaming look with Kuzma unlikely to play. — Alexander


New York Knicks at Miami Heat
7:30 p.m. ET, FTX Arena, Miami, Florida

Records (Against the Spread)
Knicks: 42-31 (41-31-1)
Heat: 39-34 (26-44-3)

Line: Heat (-2)
BPI Projection: Knicks (132.9-121.8)
Money Line: Knicks (+110), Heat (-130)
BPI Projected winner: Knicks (55.9%)
Total: 224.5 points BPI Projected Total: 245.1 points

Injury Report:
Knicks: Trevor Keels, (GTD – Concussion)
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: Julius Randle over 26.5 points. Randle went bonkers on Monday with a career-high 57 points and torched the Heat for 43 points in their previous meeting back on March 3. That’s enough for me to think he’ll keep it going tonight as the surprising Knicks are sitting solidly in the No. 5 spot in the East. — Alexander

Trend: I understand if you want the fade the Knicks after Julius Randle drops 57 points and they still lose, but I encourage you to fight that temptation. The Knicks are 19-13 ATS this season in coin toss games (a spread of three or fewer points) while the Heat are just 11-16-2 ATS in those spots. Let’s not stop there. The Knicks cover 57.6% of games that carry a sub-225-point expected total while the Heat cover just 35.7% of the time in those games. In an effort to bring it all together … under tickets have a winning record when the Knicks are in a coin toss game, when the Heat are in a coin toss game, when the Heat have a sub-225-point total and when the Knicks cover in a game with a sub-225-point total. — Soppe


Indiana Pacers at Toronto Raptors
7:30 p.m. ET, Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Records (Against the Spread)
Pacers: 32-40 (38-34-0)
Raptors: 35-37 (36-35-1)

Line: Raptors (-9)
BPI Projection: Raptors (127.9-121.3)
Money Line: Pacers (+310), Raptors (-400)
BPI Projected winner: Raptors (73.3%)
Total: 234 points BPI Projected Total: 249.2 points

Injury Report:
Pacers: Chris Duarte, (GTD – Ankle); Tyrese Haliburton, (GTD – Knee); Kendall Brown, (OUT – Lower Leg)
Raptors: Scottie Barnes, (GTD – Wrist); Dalano Banton, (OUT – Thumb); Otto Porter Jr., (OUT – Foot)
Note: BPI numbers factor players who are ruled out but assumes GTD players will play

Fantasy streamer: T.J. McConnell (available in 85.1% of leagues) is a viable streamer if Tyrese Haliburton (Q) misses a sixth straight game. In the last three games that McConnell has played with Haliburton out, he’s averaged almost a double-double at 11.0 PPG, 9.7 APG, 4.0 RPG, 1.7 SPG, 0.7 BPG and 0.7 3PG in 26.7 MPG off the bench. — Snellings

Best bet: Fred VanVleet over 20.5 points. VanVleet is streaky, but when he’s on…he’s on. He’s been on for the last week, averaging 26.5 PPG on 51.9 FG% in his last four games, going over 20.5 points in three of the four. On Wednesday, he faces a Pacers defense that ranks bottom-six in the NBA in team defensive rating. — Snellings

Trend: The Raptors have looked better over the past five weeks and that has earned them the right to be a decent sized favorite in this spot. While their ATS mark is average when laying more than five points, in eight of their nine covers in such games, over tickets have cashed. That works nicely with the current direction of both of these teams: seven of Toronto’s past nine games and six of Indiana’s past eight have gone over the total.— Soppe


Philadelphia 76ers at Chicago Bulls
8 p.m. ET, United Center, Chicago, Illinois

Records (Against the Spread)
76ers: 48-23 (40-30-1)
Bulls: 34-37 (37-34-0)

Line: 76ers (-3.5)
BPI Projection: 76ers: 134.5-124.7
Money Line: 76ers (-165), Bulls (+140)
BPI Projected winner: 76ers (50.9%)
Total: 221.5 BPI Projected Total: 249.6

Injury Report:
76ers: James Harden, (GTD – Achilles); P.J. Tucker, (GTD – Ankle)
Bulls: Lonzo Ball, (OUT – Knee); Alex Caruso, (GTD – Foot); Javonte Green, (GTD – Knee); Goran Dragic, (OUT – Knee)
Note: BPI numbers factor players who are ruled out but assumes GTD players will play

Fantasy streamer: De’Anthony Melton (available in 69.7% of leagues) has played a larger role in the last two games, with James Harden missing one game and struggling through the next. In those two games, Melton has averaged 16.5 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 5.0 (!) SPG, 3.0 APG, 3.5 3PG and 1.0 BPG in 36.5 MPG. — Snellings

Best bet: Joel Embiid over 45.5 points + rebounds. Embiid just got done torching the Bulls for 37 points and 16 rebounds in Monday’s double-overtime home loss and he’ll be looking to do it again, and get a win, tonight in Chicago. Embiid has easily hit the over here in three of his last four games and while he won’t likely get the extra two overtimes in this one, he is averaging 36.2 points and 9.5 boards in March, good for 45.7 combined a night. Those numbers jump to 35.5 points and 13.5 rebounds (49) over his last four and he’ll be looking to make an MVP-race statement on Wednesday night. Additionally, James Harden is iffy with a sore Achilles, so Embiid may be forced to carry even more of the load than usual. — Alexander

Best bet: DeMar DeRozan over 22.5 points. DeRozan has re-awakened in the month of March, averaging 28.6 PPG in his last eight outings while going over 22.5 points in seven of the eight (including five in a row). It required overtime, but he just scored 25 points against these 76ers in Philadelphia on Monday. — Snellings


Houston Rockets at Memphis Grizzlies
8 p.m. ET, FedExForum, Memphis, Tennessee

Records (Against the Spread)
Rockets: 18-54 (28-41-3)
Grizzlies: 44-27 (33-35-3)

Line: Grizzlies (-13)
BPI Projection: Grizzlies (137.1-124.6)
Money Line: Rockets (+650), Grizzlies (-1000)
BPI Projected winner: Grizzlies (86.3%)
Total: 231.5 points BPI Projected Total: 261.7 points

Injury Report:
Rockets: Jae’Sean Tate, (OUT – Knee)
Grizzlies: Brandon Clarke, (OUT – Achilles); Dillon Brooks, (OUT – Suspension); Vince Williams Jr., (OUT – Shoulder); Steven Adams, (OUT – Knee)
Note: BPI numbers factor players who are ruled out but assumes GTD players will play

Fantasy streamer: Jabari Smith Jr. (available in 53.3% of leagues) bounced back from a down outing against the Pelicans with 17 points and 11 rebounds on Monday against the Warriors. All told, in his last seven games, Smith is averaging 18.3 PPG, 8.9 RPG, 2.0 3PG, 1.0 BPG and 0.9 SPG in 37.4 MPG. — Snellings

Best bet: Desmond Bane over 25.5 points + rebounds. The Grizzlies will likely be welcoming back Ja Morant from his suspension tonight and he should be looking to take care of his teammates in an easy win. Bane had a field day against the Rockets when they last met on March 1 with 30 points, nine rebounds and six dimes and Morant played in that one. And the Rockets are a defensive sieve against almost every position, especially the guard spots. Morant dropped 49 on the Rockets in the second game of the season and I wouldn’t be surprised if he goes off, as well. The Grizzlies get the Rockets again on Friday and Bane and Morant should be set up nicely for a fantasy bonanza over the next two games. — Alexander


San Antonio Spurs at Milwaukee Bucks
8 p.m. ET, Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Records (Against the Spread)
Spurs: 19-53 (30-42-0)
Bucks: 51-20 (38-27-6)

Line: Bucks (-17.5)
BPI Projection: Bucks (143.4-124.7)
Money Line: Spurs (+1050), Bucks (-2000)
BPI Projected winner: Bucks (94.6%)
Total: 237.5 points BPI Projected Total: 268.1 points

Injury Report:
Spurs: Devin Vassell, (GTD – Knee); Jeremy Sochan, (GTD – Knee); Keldon Johnson, (GTD – Neck); Khem Birch, (GTD – Knee); Zach Collins, (GTD – Rest); Charles Bassey, (OUT – Kneecap)
Bucks: Jae Crowder, (OUT – Calf); Meyers Leonard, (OUT – Calf); Thanasis Antetokounmpo, (OUT – Not Injury Related)
Note: BPI numbers factor players who are ruled out but assumes GTD players will play

Best bet: Giannis Antetokounmpo under 31.5 points. The Spurs are packing it in and starting guys you’ve never heard of on a nightly basis. They’re 5-22 over their last 27 games, have 19 wins on the season and a guy named Sandro Mamukelashvili led the way with 20 points for them in Tuesday’s an ugly loss to the Pelicans. Oh, and the Bucks are favored by 17.5 points. Yes, Milwaukee recently lost a game they had no business losing to an undermanned Pacers team but I doubt they let that happen tonight. This bet is a little risky simply because of the dominance of Giannis, but if there was ever a night for the Bucks to blow someone out and get their guy some rest, this is it. — Alexander


Atlanta Hawks at Minnesota Timberwolves
8 p.m ET, Target Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Records (Against the Spread)
Hawks: 36-36 (32-38-2)
Timberwolves: 36-37 (35-38-0)

Line: Timberwolves (-4)
BPI Projection: Timberwolves (143.4-129.2)
Money Line: Hawks (+143), Timberwolves (-170)
BPI Projected winner: Timberwolves (65.4%)
Total: 241.5 points BPI Projected Total: 262.8 points

Injury Report:
Hawks: Dejounte Murray, (GTD – Illness); Jalen Johnson, (OUT – Hamstring)
Timberwolves: Anthony Edwards, (GTD – Ankle); Jaylen Nowell, (GTD – Knee); Karl-Anthony Towns, (GTD – Calf)
Note: BPI numbers factor players who are ruled out but assumes GTD players will play

Fantasy streamer: Taurean Prince (rostered in 0.4% of ESPN leagues) went nuts with a season-high 35 points, hit 12-of-13 shots and 8-of-8 3-pointers in Monday’s big win over the Knicks. Anthony Edwards sat that one out with a sprained ankle and while there’s no way Prince will play like that again tonight, I do think he’s worth taking a flier on as long as Edwards is in street clothes again. If Edwards is cleared to play before game time, find another player to stream. — Alexander

Fantasy streamer: Kyle Anderson (available in 58.9% of leagues) remains on my streamer list even with the speculation that Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards, both listed as questionable, might both play on Wednesday. Anderson is still a walking triple-double and glue guy these days, averaging 12.8 PPG, 8.8 APG, 8.3 RPG, 1.0 BPG, 0.8 SPG and 0.5 3PG in his last six outings. — Snellings


Portland Trail Blazers at Utah Jazz
9 p.m. ET, Vivint Arena, Salt Lake City, Utah

Records (Against the Spread)
Blazers: 31-40 (33-37-1)
Jazz: 35-36 (40-31-0)

Line: Jazz (-4.5)
BPI Projection: Jazz (133.6-129.9)
Money Line: Blazers (+158), Jazz (-190)
BPI Projected winner: Jazz (58.4%)
Total: 234.5 points BPI Projected Total: 262.1 points

Injury Report:
Blazers: Nassir Little, (GTD – Concussion); Anfernee Simons, (OUT – Foot); Jerami Grant, (OUT – Quadriceps); Justise Winslow, (OUT – Ankle)
Jazz: Lauri Markkanen, (GTD – Back); Collin Sexton, (OUT – Hamstring); Jordan Clarkson, (OUT – Finger)
Note: BPI numbers factor players who are ruled out but assumes GTD players will play

Fantasy streamer: Ochai Agbaji (rostered in 1.5% of ESPN leagues) went nuts with 27 points, five rebounds, three assists, a block and six 3-pointers in Monday’s win over the Kings. And while that line opened some eyes it probably shouldn’t have. Collin Sexton and Jordan Clarkson are both out with injuries and haven’t been on the radar in some time, and Agbaji has been cooking, scoring between 10 and 27 points in five straight games and in six of his last seven. While most of us thought it would be Talen Horton-Tucker to step up with the Jazz guards hurting, Agbaji has actually been the guy. And once you pick him up, you may not want to let him go as the Jazz play four times in each of the final two weeks. — Alexander

Fantasy streamer: Talen Horton-Tucker (available in 85.6% of leagues) had a down game on Monday against the Kings, and still finished with 10 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists in 21 minutes of action. Overall, THT is averaging 19.8 PPG, 6.5 APG, 5.7 RPG and 1.2 3PG in 28.7 MPG in his last six outings. Plus, on Wednesday he’s facing a Trail Blazers squad that allows the sixth-most points in the NBA to opposing shooting guards. — Snellings

Trend: The Jazz have won four of their past five games outright, but is it time for what to find its level? Utah is just 11-9 outright when giving more than four points in a game this season and it’s tough to deny the synergy of this odd but true nugget: in the 33 games the Blazers have covered this season, there have been an average of 234.3 points scored … a number that aligns nicely with the projection for tonight. — Soppe

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