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Fantasy basketball tips and NBA betting picks for Tuesday



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 January 31st are provided by Caesars Sportsbook, and fantasy advice is based on ESPN 10-team leagues.

What you need to know for Tuesday’s games

Spot Game: The New York Knicks have hardly traveled over the past week (home on Tuesday, in Boston Thursday and in Brooklyn on Saturday) while the Los Angeles Lakers are in the midst of an East Coast swing that saw them go to overtime on Saturday and get beat like a drum last night in Brooklyn. The schedule alone sets up well for the Knicks and it doesn’t hurt that the Lakers are 1-4 ATS in their five games this season as an underdog on zero days rest.

Barkin’ ‘Dog: With a sub-.500 record and no win streak longer than three games, the Chicago Bulls have not demanded your attention this season. Understanding that, it’s very possible that you are unaware that they are 10-1 ATS in their past 11 games as an underdog. They’ve won three straight “home” games outright and have had the past two nights to prepare for the Los Angeles Clippers.

Points-a-palooza: NBA games featuring a massive spread are often tough to handicap, but the Charlotte Hornets have done their part in taking the guesswork out of such games: overs. Over tickets have cashed eight of nine games when they are catching at least 10 points, with the lone exception coming back in October with LaMelo Ball inactive. He’ll be active tonight against a Bucks team that has won six of seven games, but a team that has also allowed 110-plus points in seven of their past 8.

With the Quickness: Immanuel Quickley has averaged 30.1 MPG en route to 15.4 points, 1.9 3-pointers, and six combined assists and rebounds over his last 10 appearances. Tonight, the Knicks host a Los Angeles Lakers team that has ceded 52.4 DraftKings points per game to point guards, the second-highest allowance in the league. Quickley is available in free agency in roughly 87% of ESPN leagues and is priced at just $5,100 on DraftKings in a plus matchup.

Cleaning the Glass: Tonight’s five-game slate doesn’t contain a ton of impact injury angles, but a few somewhat subtle rotation shifts do create some values to consider for both streaming and DFS interests. The Milwaukee Bucks are still without Bobby Portis due to a knee injury, which actually leads to more touches, time, and potential rebounds for Pat Connaughton (93% available in ESPN leagues). Connaughton has been strong in relief for the Bucks on the boards, averaging nearly nine rebounds, 13 points, and two swipes over the past week.

— Jim McCormick & Kyle Soppe

Breaking down Tuesday’s slate

Miami Heat at Cleveland Cavaliers
7 p.m. ET, Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse, Cleveland, Ohio

Records (Against the Spread)
Heat: 28-23 (19-29-3)
Cavaliers: 31-21 (26-24-2)

Line: Cavaliers (-4)
BPI Projection: Cavaliers (112-106.1)
Money Line: Heat (+152), Cavaliers (-180)
BPI Projected winner: Cavaliers (71.5%)
Total: 210.5 points BPI Projected Total: 218.1 points

Injury Report:
Heat: Gabe Vincent, (GTD – Ankle); Jimmy Butler, (GTD – Quadriceps); Duncan Robinson, (OUT – Finger); Nikola Jovic, (OUT – Back); Omer Yurtseven, (OUT – Ankle)
Cavaliers: Kevin Love, (GTD – Back); Dylan Windler, (OUT – Hamstring)
Note: BPI numbers factor players who are ruled out but assumes GTD players will play

Fantasy streamer: Max Strus (rostered in 9.3% of ESPN leagues) Strus is once again on the streaming radar with Jimmy Butler questionable. Strus has averaged 14.2 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 2.4 assists in 13 games without Butler this season. Fantasy managers should consider Strus in deeper formats. — Moody

Los Angeles Lakers at New York Knicks
7:30 p.m. ET, Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, NY

Records (Against the Spread)
Lakers: 23-28 (23-26-2)
Knicks: 27-24 (26-24-1)

Line: Knicks (-1.5)
BPI Projection: Knicks (122.9-117.2)
Money Line: Lakers (+105), Knicks (-125)
BPI Projected winner: Knicks (69.9%)
Total: 231.5 points BPI Projected Total: 240.1 points

Injury Report:
Lakers: Anthony Davis, (GTD – Foot); LeBron James, (GTD – Ankle); Austin Reaves, (OUT – Hamstring)
Knicks: Mitchell Robinson, (OUT – Thumb)
Note: BPI numbers factor players who are ruled out but assumes GTD players will play

Fantasy streamer: Jericho Sims (rostered in 1.3% of ESPN leagues) Sims remained in the starting lineup on Saturday and has scored 18 or more fantasy points in five of his past six games, including three with 25 or more. Sims will continue to split minutes with Isaiah Hartenstein while Mitchell Robinson is out. — Moody

Best bet: Julius Randle over 38.5 points + rebounds. Randle has averaged 26.5 points and 13.8 rebounds over the last 14 games and should continue to perform well statistically against the Lakers. Los Angeles has been a liability defensively this season, ranking 21st in points allowed per 100 possessions. — Moody

LA Clippers at Chicago Bulls
8 p.m. ET, United Center, Chicago, Illinois

Records (Against the Spread)
Clippers: 28-25 (26-27-0)
Bulls: 23-26 (27-22-0)

Line: Clippers (-3)
BPI Projection: Clippers (117.5-117.4)
Money Line: Clippers (-155), Bulls (+130)
BPI Projected winner: Clippers (50.4%)
Total: 226 points BPI Projected Total: 234.9 points

Injury Report:
Clippers: Marcus Morris Sr., (GTD – Ribs); Reggie Jackson, (GTD – Achilles); Robert Covington, (GTD – Personal); John Wall, (OUT – Abdomen)
Bulls: Derrick Jones Jr., (GTD – Ankle); Marko Simonovic, (GTD – Neck); Javonte Green, (OUT – Knee); Lonzo Ball, (OUT – Knee)
Note: BPI numbers factor players who are ruled out but assumes GTD players will play

Best bet: Clippers -3. The Clippers rested Kawhi Leonard and Paul George on Sunday night but both should be back in action tonight. The Clippers are 14-14 on the road this season and the Bulls are 13-10 at home, but the Clippers have looked like a different team since getting healthy and had rattled off five straight wins before falling to the Cavaliers. If Leonard and George are back in the lineup tonight, look for the Clippers to get back in the win column as they continue to track the Kings, sitting just two games back in the No. 4 spot in the West. — Steve Alexander

Best bet: Kawhi Leonard over 38.5 points + assists + rebounds. Leonard should be good to go for Tuesday night’s game. He has averaged 27.2 points, 3.9 assists, and 6.4 rebounds over his past 11 games and could exceed expectations against a Bulls team that allows one of the highest effective field goal percentages. — Moody

Charlotte Hornets at Milwaukee Bucks
8 p.m. ET, Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Records (Against the Spread)
Hornets: 15-36 (22-27-2)
Bucks: 33-17 (27-20-3)

Line: Bucks (-11)
BPI Projection: Bucks (122.6-115.4)
Money Line: Hornets (+430), Bucks (-600)
BPI Projected winner: Bucks (73.5%)
Total: 244 points BPI Projected Total: 238.0 points

Injury Report:
Hornets: Cody Martin, (OUT – Knee); Kelly Oubre Jr., (OUT – Hand)
Bucks: Giannis Antetokounmpo, (GTD – Knee); MarJon Beauchamp, (GTD – Knee); Bobby Portis, (OUT – Knee); Serge Ibaka, (OUT – Personal)
Note: BPI numbers factor players who are ruled out but assumes GTD players will play

Best bet: Giannis Antetokounmpo over 51.5 points + assists + rebounds. Antetokounmpo has had 10 games with 40 or more points this season, tied for the most in his career. He has averaged 38.3 points, 4.5 assists, and 12.8 rebounds over his past four games and faces a Hornets defense that has given up some epic performances to power forwards. Charlotte ranks 26th in points allowed per 100 possessions and allows opponents an effective field goal percentage of 55.7%. Antetokounmpo should deliver yet another stellar performance. — Moody

Best bet: Brook Lopez over 2.5 blocks and over 1.5 triples. Lopez has had two or more blocks in three of his past four games and is lethal from long range. The Hornets have allowed the second most blocks per game and the most triples per game to centers this season. —Moody

New Orleans Pelicans at Denver Nuggets
10 p.m. ET, Ball Arena, Denver, Colorado

Records (Against the Spread)
Pelicans: 26-25 (24-27-0)
Nuggets: 34-16 (25-24-1)

Line: Nuggets (-7)
BPI Projection: Nuggets (121.2-113.9)
Money Line: Pelicans (+222), Nuggets (-278)
BPI Projected winner: Nuggets (75.1%)
Total: 232 points BPI Projected Total: 235.1 points

Injury Report:
Pelicans: Dyson Daniels, (OUT – Ankle); Zion Williamson, (OUT – Hamstring); E.J. Liddell, (OUT – Knee)
Nuggets: Jamal Murray, (GTD – Knee); Jack White, (OUT – Thigh)
Note: BPI numbers factor players who are ruled out but assumes GTD players will play

Fantasy streamer: Bruce Brown (rostered in 27% of ESPN leagues) Brown should get the start if Murray is out and had 12 points, eight rebounds, four assists, three steals and a block when he started for Murray last Wednesday. He also had six turnovers and hit just 5-of-14 shots, so it was a mixed fantasy bag that night. But Brown has averaged 13.2 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 1.2 steals, 0.7 blocks and 1.7 3-pointers on 51% shooting in 22 starts this season. If Murray’s out, Brown should be a popular play tonight. — Alexander

Fantasy streamer: Bones Hyland (rostered in 11.6% of ESPN leagues) Hyland could be a factor on Tuesday night against the Pelicans if Jamal Murray sits out.Hyland came off the bench last Wednesday when Murray sat out and had 15 points, two rebounds, one assist, a steal and a 3-pointer. Hyland runs hot and cold, so I’d only use him if Murray doesn’t play. — Alexander

Best bet: Jonas Valanciunas over 9.5 rebounds. Despite only grabbing six rebounds in his past two games, Valanciunas has averaged 9.6 RPG this season. He has averaged 8.6 RPG over his past five games against the Nuggets. — Moody

Best bet: Nuggets -7. The Pelicans have lost seven straight games and three straight against the spread. While the Nuggets have lost back-to-back games for just the third time this season, both losses came at the hands of two of the top teams in the East, Milwaukee (with Giannis) and Philly (with Embiid). With Zion Williamson out, the Pelicans just don’t have the firepower to hang with most NBA teams, despite finally getting Brandon Ingram back injury. The Nuggets beat the Pels by a single point a week ago in New Orleans, but I’m expecting an easier time against them tonight, with or without Jamal Murray. — Alexander

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