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Fantasy basketball tips and NBA betting picks for Wednesday

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


What you need to know for Wednesday’s games

  • Ahead of a busy seven-game schedule, signs point to key values from the trio of Texas rosters. The Houston Rockets don’t have many actual wins, but are netting positive returns from top pick Jabari Smith Jr. since the break. The Auburn product is a free agent in nearly 60% of ESPN leagues despite delivering a double-double in three straight games. Smith could extend this streak against the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday.

  • The Dallas Mavericks have listed Luka Doncic as being out for another game due to a thigh injury, which leads to increased interest in two-way wing Josh Green (98% available). Green, after all, has scored 44 points with strong peripheral production over his last two games. Next up is a soft San Antonio Spurs defense.

  • Even those Spurs claim some relevant names to target, as Devonte’ Graham has exceeded value in DFS terms in five straight appearances, while Zach Collins is doing a bit of everything and delivered a double-double against Dallas just two weeks ago. If rookie Jeremy Sochan plays both legs of this back-to-back for the Spurs, it’s worth noting he’s been uniquely productive lately and is eligible at both point guard and power forward in ESPN leagues.

  • Tonight’s slate is full of statistical stars such as Jayson Tatum, Joel Embiid, Stephen Curry, and Domantas Sabonis. Rostering such standouts demands sourcing some savvy bargains along the way.

— Jim McCormick


Games of the Night

Philadelphia 76ers at Cleveland Cavaliers
7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN, Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, Cleveland, Ohio

Records (Against the Spread)
76ers: 45-22 (37-29-1)
Cavaliers: 44-27 (37-32-2)

Line: 76ers (-2.5)
BPI Projection: 76ers: 125.9-123.1
Money Line: 76ers (-140), Cavaliers (+118)
BPI Projected winner: 76ers (60.7%)
Total: 221.5 points BPI Projected Total: 249 points

Injury Report:
76ers: Jalen McDaniels, (GTD – Hip)
Cavaliers: Donovan Mitchell, (GTD – Finger); Jarrett Allen, (GTD – Eye)
Note: BPI numbers factor players who are ruled out but assumes GTD players will play

Fantasy streamer: Lamar Stevens (available in 99.8% of ESPN leagues) is not for everyone, which is why he’s available in just about every fantasy league out there. But if you’re in a deeper league and are just looking to maximize games played tonight, he could be an option. He’s averaged 10 points, 5.0 boards and 1.0 3-pointers over his last two starts for Jarrett Allen (eye). It’s also interesting that the Sixers give up the seventh-most point to opposing power forwards, but just make certain that Allen is sitting out again before messing with Stevens. — Alexander

Best bet: James Harden over 10.5 assists. Harden has been an assists monster of late, averaging 13.0 APG with four double-doubles in his last five games. Harden has only faced the Cavaliers once this season, but he dropped 12 assists on them in that contest. — Snellings

Best bet: Joel Embiid over 32.5 points. Embiid has scored 34, 39, 39, 42, 31 and 35 points in each of his six March games, meaning he’s hit the over in five of his last six. And while it’s true that the Cavs do a nice job against opposing centers, it’s also possible that Jarrett Allen misses his third straight game tonight with an eye injury, which would likely push Embiid over the top. He also got the Cavs for 29 points when they met just before the All-Star break and the No, 3 Sixers are going for their sixth-straight win tonight in hopes of catching the No. 2 Celtics by the end of the weekend. Embiid should go off again tonight. — Alexander

Trend: The Cavaliers have been dealing with the injury bug of late, so you’ll want to track their health pre-game, but this profiles as a good betting spot. Cleveland has seen five of their past seven home games go under the total and under tickets have cashed in eight of their past nine games on zero days rest. With the total trending toward an under, it’s good to know that the Cavs have covered seven of their past eight games that have come in under the projected total. — Kyle Soppe

Golden State Warriors at LA Clippers
10 p.m. ET on ESPN, Crypto.com Arena, Los Angeles, California

Records (Against the Spread)
Warriors: 36-33 (33-35-1)
Clippers: 36-33 (34-35-0)

Line: Clippers (-2)
BPI Projection: Clippers (129.9-122.5)
Money Line: Warriors (+110), Clippers (-130)
BPI Projected winner: Clippers (75.1%)
Total: 237 points BPI Projected Total: 252.4 points

Injury Report:
Warriors: Jonathan Kuminga, (GTD – Ankle); Ty Jerome, (GTD – Not Injury Related); Andre Iguodala, (OUT – Wrist); Andrew Wiggins, (OUT – Personal); Gary Payton II, (OUT – Abdomen); Ryan Rollins, (OUT – Foot)
Clippers: Brandon Boston Jr., (OUT – Lower Body); Norman Powell, (OUT – Shoulder)
Note: BPI numbers factor players who are ruled out but assumes GTD players will play

Best bet: Clippers -2.5. The Warriors are on the road. For whatever reason, this season, that has meant that they are very likely to lose. The Warriors are 7-26 on the road this season and have lost eight straight road games by an average of 10.8 PPG. –Snellings

Best bet: Kawhi Leonard over 27.5 points. Leonard had 33 points, seven rebounds and four assists in a win over the Warriors on Feb. 14 and he’s scored 38, 24 and 34 points in each of his last three games. The Warriors are without Andrew Wiggins, which should work in Kawhi’s favor, while teammate Norman Powell (shoulder) is also out for the Clippers. Leonard should be able to score at will tonight. — Alexander

Trend: At this point, you’re well aware of the road woes for the Warriors this season: they haven’t covered a road game since January. While you’re aware of that, you probably don’t know that overs are 19-4 in their past 23 played away from their home fans or that the Clippers have cased seven over tickets in their past 11 covers. — Soppe


Breaking down the rest of Wednesday’s slate

Memphis Grizzlies at Miami Heat
7:30 p.m. ET, FTX Arena, Miami, Florida

Records (Against the Spread)
Grizzlies: 41-26 (32-32-3)
Heat: 37-33 (24-43-3)

Line: Heat (-4)
BPI Projection: Heat (125.9-118.3)
Money Line: Grizzlies (+152), Heat (-180)
BPI Projected winner: Heat (63.7%)
Total: 221 points BPI Projected Total: 240.4 points

Injury Report:
Grizzlies: Brandon Clarke, (OUT – Achilles); Jake LaRavia, (OUT – Back); Vince Williams Jr., (OUT – Shoulder); Ja Morant, (OUT – Personal); Steven Adams, (OUT – Knee)
Heat: Kyle Lowry, (GTD – Knee); Cody Zeller, (OUT – Nose)
Note: BPI numbers factor players who are ruled out but assumes GTD players will play

Fantasy streamer: Xavier Tillman (available in 88.8% of leagues) has flirted with a double-double on a nightly basis for the past six games, averaging 10.8 PPG, 7.7 RPG, 2.5 APG, 1.8 SPG and 0.5 BPG during that stretch. He has at least one steal in five straight, and has combined for four or more steals and blocks in two of his last four outings. — Snellings

Fantasy streamer: David Roddy (available in 99.7% of ESPN leagues) lit up the Mavericks in two straight games to the tune of 21.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 1.5 steals, 1.0 blocks and 3.5 3-pointers, all while hitting 18-of-23 shots (78%) in 24.5 minutes between Saturday and Monday. Roddy literally came out of nowhere for his two best games of the season after playing just seven minutes on Thursday against Golden State. Unfortunately, the Grizzlies don’t get the Mavericks again tonight but you have to think they’ll roll Roddy out there again for 20 minutes or so against the Heat tonight. If you’re in a deeper league and looking for a warm body on a seven-game night, Roddy’s at least worth a look. — Alexander

Best bet: Tyus Jones over 6.5 assists. Jones has been all-or-nothing as a distributor in the last five games since rejoining the starting line-up, with three games of double-digit assists and two games of only three assists. Overall, his trend as a starter this season has been to post elite distribution stats; in 14 starts, Jones is averaging 18.3 PPG and 7.7 APG in 33.3 MPG. — Snellings


Sacramento Kings at Chicago Bulls
8 p.m. ET, United Center, Chicago, Illinois

Records (Against the Spread)
Kings: 40-27 (37-30-0)
Bulls: 31-36 (34-33-0)

Line: Kings (-1)
BPI Projection: Bulls (131.1-127.2)
Money Line: Kings (-115), Bulls (-105)
BPI Projected winner: Bulls (63.5%)
Total: 237 points BPI Projected Total: 258.3 points

Injury Report:
Kings: Richaun Holmes, (OUT – Illness)
Bulls: Javonte Green, (OUT – Knee); Lonzo Ball, (OUT – Knee); Goran Dragic, (GTD – Knee)
Note: BPI numbers factor players who are ruled out but assumes GTD players will play

Best bet: Kings -1. The Kings have been one of the hottest teams in the NBA of late, winners of eight of their last 10 games, including four straight on the road. The Bulls have played better since the trade deadline, but are still essentially a .500 team with a record of 3-3 in their last six outings and 5-5 in their last 10. — Snellings

Best bet: Zach LaVine over 28.5 points. The Kings are the eighth-worst team in the league against opposing shooting guards and LaVine has scored 36, 29, 42, 27 and 41 in each of his five March games, hitting the over in all but one of them. He also scored 41 points in their previous meeting and the No. 11 Bulls need to win this game to get back into a play-in scenario. The Kings gave up a season-high 31 points to Khris Middleton on Monday, got torched for 28 by Devin Booker on Saturday, and let RJ Barrett score 25 in the previous game. LaVine should go nuts tonight. — Alexander

Best bet: De’Aaron Fox over 26.5 points. Fox had 35 points against the Bucks on Monday and the Bulls recently gave up 29 points and 11 dimes to Tyrese Haliburton and the Pacers, despite being one of the league’s better teams against opposing point guards. Fox has scored 35, 18, 23, 25, 33, 33, 42 and 31 points in each of his last eight games and should be due for a big game in Chicago tonight. As you can see, he’s been a little hit-or-miss lately but he’s coming in hot after Monday’s explosion and the Kings will be hoping to catch the Grizzlies for the No. 2 seed in the West with a win and a Grizzlies loss tonight. And they’ll need a big game from Fox to make it happen. — Alexander


Los Angeles Lakers at Houston Rockets
8 p.m. ET, Toyota Center, Houston, Texas

Records (Against the Spread)
Lakers: 34-35 (33-34-2)
Rockets: 16-52 (26-39-3)

Line: Lakers (-3.5)
BPI Projection: Lakers (131.1-130)
Money Line: Lakers (-165), Rockets (+140)
BPI Projected winner: Lakers (50.1%)
Total: 231 points BPI Projected Total: 260 points

Injury Report:
Lakers: Anthony Davis, (OUT – Foot); LeBron James, (OUT – Foot); Mo Bamba, (OUT – Ankle)
Rockets: Alperen Sengun, (GTD – Groin)
Note: BPI numbers factor players who are ruled out but assumes GTD players will play

Fantasy streamer: Jarred Vanderbilt (available in % of leagues) could be in for a huge night, especially on the glass, with Anthony Davis (foot) out. Vanderbilt is a strong rebounder even when Davis plays, with games of 17 boards and 13 boards in the last three weeks. -Snellings

Best bet: Malik Beasley over 15.5 points. The Rockets are basically one of the worst teams in the league against every position except big men and Alperen Sengun might sit this one out with a groin injury after missing Monday’s game. Davis and LeBron James (foot) are both out tonight so someone’s going to have to score for the Lakers. Beasley is coming off a 24-point game against the Pelicans and should score at least 16 points for a team missing its big guns. Just keep in mind that he scored just four and eight points in his previous two games, but tonight is a completely different animal without Davis and his offense. — Alexander

Best bet: D’Angelo Russell over 25.5 points. Russell scored 28 and 33 points against the Raptors and Knicks in his previous two games before scoring just 17 points against the Pelicans on Tuesday. Davis is out tonight to rest his sore foot and the Lakers are going to need scoring. Add in the fact that the Rockets are literally the worst team in the league against opposing point guards, and Russell should go off tonight. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if he scores 40. He also scored 30 and 23 points against these Rockets earlier in the season when he was still with the Timberwolves. — Alexander

Best bet: Jarred Vanderbilt over 18.5 points + rebounds. No Davis plus the Rockets should equal a big night for Vando. He’s averaging 14.1 points + rebounds in seven March games but AD has been there for six of those. Take him out of the equation and Vando almost has to have a big game, especially if Sengun is out again for the Rockets with his groin injury. Vanderbilt has nine double-doubles this season and one of those came against these Rockets, so I’m looking for No. 10 tonight. Rui Hachimura should also be in for a solid night, as well. — Alexander


Boston Celtics at Minnesota Timberwolves
8 p.m. ET, Target Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Records (Against the Spread)
Celtics: 47-22 (36-32-1)
Timberwolves: 35-34 (33-36-0)

Line: Celtics (-5)
BPI Projection: Celtics (130-123.3)
Money Line: Celtics (-210), Timberwolves (+175)
BPI Projected winner: Celtics (67.1%)
Total: 233.5 points BPI Projected Total: 251.5 points

Injury Report:
Celtics: Payton Pritchard, (OUT – Heel); Robert Williams III, (OUT – Hamstring); Danilo Gallinari, (OUT – Knee)
Timberwolves: Austin Rivers, (GTD – Back); Jaylen Nowell, (GTD – Knee); Naz Reid, (GTD – Calf); Rudy Gobert, (GTD – Ankle); Karl-Anthony Towns, (OUT – Calf)
Note: BPI numbers factor players who are ruled out but assumes GTD players will play

Fantasy streamer: Kyle Anderson (available in 73.3% of leagues) has been a nightly triple-double threat for weeks, averaging 12.2 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 6.7 APG, 1.1 SPG, 1.0 BPG and 0.7 3PG in his last nine outings. He did notch a triple-double on Monday, dropping 14 points, 12 assists, 10 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 blocks and a 3-pointer in 37 minutes against the Hawks. -Snellings

Fantasy streamer: Luka Garza (available in 99.9% of ESPN leagues) hit 6-of-7 shots and a 3-pointer for 14 points and three rebounds off the bench in just 18 minutes of Monday’s win over the Hawks. Centers Rudy Gobert (ankle) and Naz Reid (calf) are both pretty iffy for tonight’s meeting against the Celtics, who are also going to be without starting center Robert Williams. They don’t call this the silly season for nothing and if both Gobert and Reid are out tonight, there’s an excellent chance that Garza has his best game of the year. And if one of them is out, Garza might still be worth a stream. — Alexander

Best bet: Jaylen Brown over 25.5 points. Brown popped for a season-high 43 points on Monday, but he’s been in a scoring zone since the All-Star Break. In the nine games since the break, he’s averaged 27.3 PPG while going over 25.5 points in six of nine outings. In his only other meeting with the Timberwolves this season, Brown scored 36 points in 37 minutes. -Snellings

Trend: The Celtics may be just 3-5 outright over the past 2.5 weeks, but that’s not what makes the Timberwolves an interesting play in this spot. This season, 22 of 34 Boston games played on the road have come in under the projected point total and under tickets have come through in nine of Minnesota’s past 11 home games. Those are nice breadcrumbs to follow and the ‘Wolves happen to be 11-5 ATS in their past 16 games that have gone under the total. Even if you want to avoid the total, the face that Minnesota is 10-3 ATS as a home underdog this season is reason enough to consider backing them tonight. — Soppe


Dallas Mavericks at San Antonio Spurs
8:30 p.m. ET, AT&T Center, San Antonio, Texas

Records (Against the Spread)
Mavericks: 34-35 (24-42-3)
Spurs: 18-50 (28-40-0)

Line: Mavericks (-5.5)
BPI Projection: Mavericks (129.5-127.3)
Money Line: Mavericks (-225), Spurs (+185)
BPI Projected winner: Mavericks (57.9%)
Total: 231 points BPI Projected Total: 256.8 points

Injury Report:
Mavericks: Christian Wood, (GTD – Foot); Kyrie Irving, (GTD – Foot); Tim Hardaway Jr., (GTD – Calf); Luka Doncic, (OUT – Thigh)
Spurs: Keldon Johnson, (GTD – Foot); Khem Birch, (GTD – Knee); Malaki Branham, (GTD – Shoulder); Romeo Langford, (GTD – Thigh); Tre Jones, (GTD – Illness); Charles Bassey, (OUT – Kneecap)
Note: BPI numbers factor players who are ruled out but assumes GTD players will play

Fantasy streamer: Jaden Hardy (available in % of leagues) and Josh Green (available in % of leagues) have both taken full advantage of increased opportunities of late with all the Mavericks injuries. Hardy has averaged 25.0 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 4.0 3PG, 3.0 APG, 1.0 SPG and 0.5 BPG in 39.0 MPG in his last two games, both starts, while Green has notched 22.0 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 5.5 APG and 3.0 3PG during that stretch. Luka Doncic (thigh) is out again Wednesday, while each of Kyrie Irving (foot), Tim Hardaway Jr. (calf) and Christian Wood (foot) are listed as questionable. — Snellings

Trend: Dallas is another team dealing with more than it’s fair share of injuries, but things are actually looking up for them in terms of betting. The Mavs have covered five of their past eight road games, a statistic that may not seem all that strong, but when you consider that they covered just eight of their first 25 away from home, it’s a step in the right direction. The Spurs are just 4-8 ATS over their past 12 at home, so it’s not as if we have a home court advantage to fear in this game. — Soppe