Fantasy basketball tips and NBA betting picks for Monday

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 26th are provided by Caesars Sportsbook, and fantasy advice is based on ESPN 10-team leagues.


Points-apalooza: Sportsbooks are anything but shy when it comes to posting over/unders for the Blazers or Hornets separately, so yeah, put both teams on the same court and the projected total is going to be overwhelming. And it might not be high enough. This season, overs are 7-2 when Portland is favored by more than three points and 16-9 when the Hornets are ‘dogs. Both of those boxes are checked tonight: fire up anyone you want for DFS get ready for a fun one!

Sprinkling on the Pacers: The Pacers are a big underdog tonight in New Orleans… right where bettors want them. If you’ve bet Indiana on the moneyline every instance this season when they are getting at least five points (tonight lines up to be the 13th such game), you are up 12.3 units. Not. Too. Shabby.

Bearish on the Bulls: The number will fluctuate throughout the day, but Chicago is going to go off as a favorite as they host Houston tonight and that gives you license to fade them. The Bulls have failed to cover six of their past seven games when favored, losing five of those games outright.

–Jim McCormick and Kyle Soppe


Game of the night

Minnesota Timberwolves at Miami Heat
7 p.m. ET, FTX Arena, Miami

lines: Heat (-3)
Money line: Heat (-155), Timberwolves (+130)
Total: 221.5 points
BPI Projected Total: 231.3 points
BPI Win%: Heat (57.6%)

questionable: Caleb Martin, Bam Adebayo, Jimmy Butler
Ruled Out: Taurean Prince, Jordan McLaughlin, Kyle Anderson, Karl-Anthony Towns, Dewayne Dedmon, Gabe Vincent
Note: BPI numbers factored in players who are ruled out but assume questionable players will play

Fantasy Streamers: Naz Reid (available in % of leagues). Reid has been productive in the games he has played since Karl-Anthony Towns’ injury. He has scored in double figures eight times over his past 11 games and has averaged 13.6 PPG, 6.9 RPG, 1.5 APG, 1.4 3PG, 1.0 BPG and 0.7 SPG in 21.6 MPG. –Snellings

Best Bet: Anthony Edwards over 23.5 points. Edwards has been on a tear over the past week. He has averaged 29.3 PPG over his past four outings with at least 23 points scored in each game. In his last three games against the Heat, going back to last season, Edwards has averaged 23.3 PPG even while playing alongside Towns. With Towns still out, Edwards should get a big share of the offense on Monday. –Snellings


Breaking down the rest of the slate

Brooklyn Nets at Cleveland Cavaliers
7 p.m. ET, Rocket Mortgage Field House, Cleveland

lines: Cavaliers (-2)
Money line: Cavaliers (-140), Nets (+118)
Total: 221.5 points
BPI Projected Total: 233.1 points
BPI Win%: Knights (65.3%)

Ruled Out: Joe Harris
Note: BPI numbers factored in players who are ruled out but assume questionable players will play

Best bet: Donovan Mitchell over 26.5 points. Mitchell has averaged an impressive 28.9 PPG this season and should have success against a Nets team that has allowed the fourth most points per game to shooting guards. This will be a competitive game and the perfect stage for Mitchell to shine. –Eric Moody

LA Clippers at Detroit Pistons
7 p.m. ET, Little Caesars Arena, Detroit

lines: Clippers (-5.5)
Money line: Clippers (-225), Pistons (+185)
Total: 222.5 points
BPI Projected Total: 230.1 points
BPI Win%: Clippers (65.2%)

Ruled Out: Kawhi Leonard
Note: BPI numbers factored in players who are ruled out but assume questionable players will play

Fantasy Streamers: Norman Powell (available in 83.4% of leagues), Terance Mann (available in 96.0% of leagues) and Luke Kennard (available in 98.5% of leagues) are all reasonable streaming options with Kawhi Leonard out Monday night. All three have a 20-point effort in recent games, with Powell returning from injury and dropping 21 points in 23 minutes on Friday. Kennard scored 20 points with four 3-pointers three games ago and Mann stepped up huge the last time Leonard sat, posting a 22-point, 11-rebound double-double with four assists and four 3-pointers in 34 minutes against the Suns. — andre snellings

Best Bet: Bojan Bogdanovic over 19.5 points. Bogdanovic is a bucket, and he bounced back from two poor games early last week with a 23-point effort on Friday. He’s scored at least 22 points in five of his past seven games and faces a Clippers’ defense that is middle-of-the-pack in points allowed to opposing small forwards. Los Angeles also ranks sixth-worst in 3-pointers allowed to the position and Bogdanovic loves to operate from beyond the arc. –Snellings

Houston Rockets at Chicago Bulls
8 p.m. ET, United Center, Chicago

lines: Bulls (-7.5)
Money line: Bulls (-320), Rockets (+250)
Total: 229 points
BPI Projected Total: 240.8 points
BPI Win%: Bulls (75.8%)

Doubtful: Derrick Jones Jr.
questionable: Eric Gordon
Ruled Out: Javonte Green, Alex Caruso, Jae’Sean Tate
Note: BPI numbers factored in players who are ruled out but assume questionable players will play

Fantasy streamer: Jabari Smith Jr. (available in 61.7% of leagues) Smith is coming off a career-high 24 points against the Mavericks on Friday. He has three double-doubles over his past nine games, and has averaged 13.7 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 1.8 3PG, 1.1 BPG and 0.7 SPG in 31.8 MPG during that stretch. –Snellings

Best bet: Nikola Vucevic over 27.5 points + rebounds. Vucevic has averaged 19.9 points and 9.1 rebounds per game over his last nine games. He’s in a great spot against a Rockets team that ranks near the bottom of the league in points allowed per 100 possessions. –Moody

Indiana Pacers at New Orleans Pelicans
8 p.m. ET, Smoothie King Center, New Orleans

lines: Pelicans (-6.5)
Money line: Pelicans (-260), Pacers (+210)
Total: 235.5 points
BPI Projected Total: 236.9 points
BPI Win%: Pelicans (62.5%)

questionable: Aaron NesmithJalen Smith
Ruled Out: Brandon Ingram, Larry Nance Jr.
Note: BPI numbers factored in players who are ruled out but assume questionable players will play

Best bet: Tyrese Haliburton over 29.5 points + assists. Haliburton has averaged a career-high 20.7 PPG and 10.5 APG this season. He’s playing the best basketball of his career and I don’t believe CJ McCollum and Jose Alvarado will be able to contain him on Monday night. –Moody

Utah Jazz at San Antonio Spurs
8 p.m. ET, AT&T Center, San Antonio

lines: Jazz (-4.5)
Money line: Jazz (-195), Spurs (+162)
Total: 235.5 points
BPI Projected Total: 240.9 points
BPI Win%: Jazz (70.8%)

Ruled Out: kelly olynyk
Note: BPI numbers factored in players who are ruled out but assume questionable players will play

Best bet: Lauri Markkanen over 22.5 points. Markkanen has been the primary scorer for the Jazz and has gone over 22.5 points in three of his past five, and six of his past 10 games. During those 10 games, he has averaged a robust 25.1 PPG. On Monday, he faces a very friendly Spurs defense in a game where a lot of points should be scored. –Snellings

Best bet: Jordan Clarkson over 29.5 points + assists + rebounds. Clarkson has some positive momentum heading into Monday night’s game against a Spurs team that ranks near the bottom of the league in points allowed per 100 possessions. Clarkson has averaged 22.8 points, 3.4 assists and 3.1 rebounds over the past nine games. –Moody

Fantasy streamer: Walker Kessler (rostered in 16.2% of ESPN leagues). Kessler is a great streamer for Monday night. Kessler is in line for another start with Kelly Olynyk still out with an ankle injury. The Spurs allow the most points per game to centers this season. Kessler has scored 27 or more fantasy points in four of his past five games. –Moody

Charlotte Hornets at Portland Trail Blazers
10 p.m. ET, Moda Center, Portland, Oregon

lines: Blazers (-6)
Money line: Blazers (-225), Hornets (+185)
Total: 239 points
BPI Projected Total: 241.7 points
BPI Win%: Blazers (58.7%)

questionable: Nick Richards, Josh Hart, Jusuf Nurkic
Ruled Out: Dennis Smith Jr., Cody Martin, Justise Winslow, Gary Payton II
Note: BPI numbers factored in players who are ruled out but assume questionable players will play

Best bet: LaMelo Ball over 23.5 points, over 30.5 combined points + assists. Ball has scored at least 23 points in all six games he’s played since returning from an ankle injury, averaging 25.3 PPG during that stretch. In those three games, he dished out at least eight assists and has averaged 10.3 APG in those scenarios. The Trail Blazers have a friendly defense, and the high total

Best bet: Jusuf Nurkic over 24.5 points + rebounds. Nurkic faces a Hornets team that has allowed the most points and rebounds per game to centers this season. He’s averaged 14.4 points and 9.3 rebounds per game and plays even better at home. Nurkic is well positioned to surpass these averages against the Hornets on Monday night. –Moody

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button