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Fantasy basketball tips and NBA betting picks for Sunday

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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 Feb. 5 are provided by Caesars Sportsbook, and fantasy advice is based on ESPN 10-team leagues.


What you need to know for Sunday’s games

Sunday’s six-game slate starts early as the Orlando Magic head to Charlotte to face the Hornets without Jalen Suggs and Mo Bamba, who both are serving a suspension. Plan accordingly.

Another game that will be impacted by absences is in Memphis with the Toronto Raptors facing the Grizzlies. O.G. Anunoby, Steven Adams and Dillon Brooks are all out for this one.

Meanwhile down in New Orleans, the Pelicans snapped a 10-game losing streak by beating the Lakers on Saturday and play the second of a back-to-back against a tough Sacramento Kings team that will be without star point guard De’Aaron Fox.


Game of the Night


Philadelphia 76ers at New York Knicks
6:00 p.m ET, Madison Square Garden, Manhatten, NY

Records (Against the Spread)
76ers: 34-17 (28-22-1)
Knicks: 28-26 (27-26-1)

Line: 76ers (-3)
BPI Projection: 76ers: 119.3-115.2
Money Line: 76ers (-155), Knicks (+130)
BPI Projected winner: 76ers (65.1%)
Total: 226 BPI Projected Total: 234.5

Injury Report:
76ers: Joel Embiid, (GTD – Foot)
Knicks: Ryan Arcidiacono, (GTD – Illness); Mitchell Robinson, (OUT – Thumb)
Note: BPI numbers factor players who are ruled out but assumes GTD players will play

Best Bet: Jalen Brunson over 33.5 total points + assists + rebounds. Brunson returned from his one-game absence with a monster performance that is right on-brand with what he’s done since the calendar flipped to 2023. He scored 41 points with 7 assists and 5 rebounds on Saturday, and is averaging 29.5 PPG, 5.5 APG and 4.1 RPG in 16 games in 2023. In two games against the 76ers this season, Brunson has averaged 23.0 PPG, 9.0 APG and 4.5 RPG, with at least 36 total PAR in both games. — Snellings

Trend: Since Dec. 23, overs in games featuring the 76ers or Knicks are 29-12-1 (and yes, I only counted their head-to-head meeting once). That’s a 70.7% hit rate and one that very much deserves our attention. But who does that favor? The Knicks are just 10-18-1 ATS this season when their game goes over the projected total while the 76ers are 19-12 ATS in those instances. — Soppe


Breaking down the rest of the slate


Orlando Magic at Charlotte Hornets
1:00 p.m. ET, Spectrum Center, Charlotte, NC

Records (Against the Spread)
Magic: 21-32 (30-21-2)
Hornets: 15-39 (23-29-2)

Line: Hornets (-1.5)
BPI Projection: Hornets: 117.6-116.6
Money Line: Magic (+105), Hornets (-125)
BPI Projected winner: Hornets (53.3%)
Total: 236 BPI Projected Total: 234.2

Injury Report:
Magic: Chuma Okeke, (OUT – Knee); Jalen Suggs, (OUT – Suspension); Mo Bamba, (OUT – Suspension)
Hornets: Cody Martin, (OUT – Knee); Kelly Oubre Jr., (OUT – Hand)
Note: BPI numbers factor players who are ruled out but assumes GTD players will play

Fantasy Streamers: Markelle Fultz (available in 56.7% of leagues) and Cole Anthony (available in 57.6% of leagues) have been mirror images in terms of both production and availability of late. In his last 14 games, Fultz has averaged 13.8 PPG, 5.6 APG, 3.1 RPG, 1.4 SPG and 0.4 BPG in 29.7 MPG. Meanwhile, in his last nine outings, Anthony has posted 14.4 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 3.2 APG, 1.3 3PG, 0.9 BPG and 0.6 SPG in 23.9 MPG. — Andre Snellings

Best Bet: Paolo Banchero over 10.5 total rebounds + assists. Banchero’s scoring has been up-and-down of late, but in his last four games he has averaged 11.6 total rebounds + assists (8.3 RPG, 3.3 APG). The Hornets are among the bottom-10 in the NBA in both rebounds and assists allowed to opposing forwards, including allowing the most assists and the sixth-most rebounds to opposing power forwards. In his one game against the Hornets this season, Banchero notched 12 rebounds and 7 assists in only 27 minutes of action. — Snellings

Trend: Sometimes a lean in a game will inspire a sharp pick when it comes to the projected total and other times, things work in reverse. This Magic/Hornets game is an example of the latter. Under tickets have cashed in 11 of 15 Hornets games that are labeled by sportsbooks as a coin toss (the closing line is three points or less) and if we extend that trend into this game, picking a winner ATS becomes easy… Orlando is 15-8 ATS in games that go under the number while Charlotte is 9-16-2. — Soppe


Cleveland Cavaliers at Indiana Pacers
5:00 p.m ET, Gainbridge Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN

Records (Against the Spread)
Cavaliers: 32-22 (27-25-2)
Pacers: 25-29 (29-25-0)

Line: Cavaliers (-5)
BPI Projection: Cavaliers: 117.6-113
Money Line: Cavaliers (-195), Pacers (+162)
BPI Projected winner: Cavaliers (61.5%)
Total: 226 BPI Projected Total: 229.1

Injury Report:
Cavaliers: Caris LeVert, (GTD – Hamstring); Dylan Windler, (OUT – Hamstring)
Pacers: Daniel Theis, (GTD – Knee)
Note: BPI numbers factor players who are ruled out but assumes GTD players will play

Fantasy Streamer: Aaron Nesmith (available in 95.4% of leagues) has been thriving this week, averaging 19.0 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 3.3 3PG, 1.7 APG, 1.3 SPG and 0.7 BPG in 33.3 MPG in his last three games. — Snellings

Best Bet: Donovan Mitchell over 8.5 total rebounds + assists. Mitchell has been in-and-out of the lineup in recent weeks as he’s dealt with injury, and he was ejected in the third quarter of his last game after an altercation with Dillon Brooks. But, in the last five games that Mitchell has played more than 30 minutes, he has averaged 11.6 total rebounds + assists. The Pacers, meanwhile, allow the T5th most rebounds per game and T7th most assists per game to opposing shooting guards. — Snellings

Trend: The Cavaliers are favored to win a second straight game, something they haven’t done in a month, but all signs are pointing in their favor. In addition to getting a Pacers team that has failed to cover eight of their past 11, the Cavs are an impressive 20-12-1 ATS when favored by more than three points this season. If you’re looking for a SGP build, unders are 19-14 in those games, including 13-7 when the Cavs cover the spread. — Soppe


Toronto Raptors at Memphis Grizzlies
6:00 p.m ET, FedExForum, Memphis, TN

Records (Against the Spread)
Raptors: 24-30 (26-28-0)
Grizzlies: 32-20 (24-25-3)

Line: Grizzlies (-3.5)
BPI Projection: Grizzlies: 120.7-119.9
Money Line: Raptors (+140), Grizzlies (-165)
BPI Projected winner: Grizzlies (52.9%)
Total: 231 BPI Projected Total: 240.6

Injury Report:
Raptors: O.G. Anunoby, (OUT – Wrist); Otto Porter Jr., (OUT – Foot)
Grizzlies: Ja Morant, (GTD – Wrist); Jaren Jackson Jr., (GTD – Thigh); Dillon Brooks, (OUT – Suspension); Steven Adams, (OUT – Knee)
Note: BPI numbers factor players who are ruled out but assumes GTD players will play

Fantasy Streamer: Santi Aldama (available in 95.2% of leagues) got a spot-start on Thursday in place of Jaren Jackson Jr. (Q, thigh) and responded with 21 points, 10 rebounds and 4 3-pointers in 34 minutes of action. It isn’t clear if Jackson will play on Sunday, and if he does then Aldama could return to his bench role. But, with Steven Adams out and Jackson questionable, Aldama could make a low-cost/high-upside streamer on Sunday. — Snellings

Best Bet: Fred VanVleet over 22.5 points. VanVleet has been on a heater for weeks now, averaging 27.1 PPG in his last 10 outings, going over 22.5 points in eight of those 10. In fact, he’s scored 28 or more points in six of those 10 games, for those that might be interested in going well over 22.5 points for more juice. — Snellings


Denver Nuggets at Minnesota Timberwolves
7:00 p.m ET, Target Center, Minneapolis, MN

Records (Against the Spread)
Nuggets: 37-16 (28-24-1)
Timberwolves: 28-27 (26-29-0)

Line: Timberwolves (-2.5)
BPI Projection: Nuggets: 121.4-121.2
Money Line: Nuggets (+118), Timberwolves (-140)
BPI Projected winner: Nuggets (50.6%)
Total: 232.5 BPI Projected Total: 242.6

Injury Report:
Nuggets: Jack White, (GTD – Thigh); Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, (GTD – Ankle)
Timberwolves: Kyle Anderson, (GTD – Back); Rudy Gobert, (GTD – Groin); Austin Rivers, (OUT – Suspension); Jordan McLaughlin, (OUT – Calf); Karl-Anthony Towns, (OUT – Calf)
Note: BPI numbers factor players who are ruled out but assumes GTD players will play


Sacramento Kings at New Orleans Pelicans
7:00 p.m ET, Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, LA

Records (Against the Spread)
Kings: 29-22 (28-23-0)
Pelicans: 27-27 (25-28-1)

Line: Kings (-1)
BPI Projection: Kings: 121.4-120
Money Line: Kings (-110), Pelicans (-110)
BPI Projected winner: Kings (54.8%)
Total: 228 BPI Projected Total: 241.4

Injury Report:
Kings: De’Aaron Fox, (OUT – Personal)
Pelicans: Dyson Daniels, (GTD – Ankle); Jonas Valanciunas, (GTD – Knee); Zion Williamson, (OUT – Hamstring); E.J. Liddell, (OUT – Knee)
Note: BPI numbers factor players who are ruled out but assumes GTD players will play

Best Bet: Keegan Murray over 11.5 points. Murray has been ice cold in his last two games, making only 1-of-14 field goal attempts for a total of five points. This marks a big aberration for the rookie, who hasn’t gone three straight games with single digit scoring since way back in November. In the six games before his cold stretch, Murray averaged 16.5 PPG while going over 11.5 points in five of the six games. He’s due for a bounce-back on Sunday. — Snellings

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