Fantasy basketball tips and NBA betting picks for Friday

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 November 4 are provided by Caesars Sportsbook, and fantasy advice is based on ESPN 10-team leagues.

What you need to know for Friday’s games

Roll The Dice: The NBA is a star driven league and that drives bettors to lean the way of heavy favorites when they present themselves. It’s a “haves vs have nots” situation and backing the ‘dog is almost always uncomfortable. But should it be? Since the beginning of last season, if you blindly bet every +200 (or greater) on the moneyline, you’d be up 13.8 units. Is that retirement money? No, but it is plus money by simply banking on chaos in a single game sample size.

Pass On Mitchell Passing: : It was only one game, but Wednesday’s overtime win against the Celtics was enough to sell me on Donovan Mitchell’s role change with Darius Garland back in fold. In October (all but 13 minutes that came without Garland active), Mitchell averaged 11.5 assists-plus-turnovers per game as he was asked to drive the offense in a variety of ways (also 22.2 shots per game). Wednesday, while playing 44 minutes, he took 27 shots and finished with six assists-plus-turnovers. Bookmakers only have seven games of Cavalier Mitchell to react to and are weighing what we’ve seen up to this point, but that’s not the offense we will see moving forward and that gives us a nice little buying window while they adjust. Pounce!

On Your Radar: Jrue Holiday has been nothing short of special over his past three games (28.3 points on 58.5% shooting from the field and 48% from 3 with 8.3 assists) and that’s great. For his trade value. Working through the creation of a trade takes time and that’s why we are mentioning Holiday’s peak value now. Starting last Saturday and running through next Monday, he plays the offensive minded Hawks three times, the young Pistons twice and has three games against teams more interested in the 2023 draft than the 2023 season (Thunder twice, Spurs once). And most of that without Khris Middleton soaking up usage. In other words, he’s in the midst of a perfect run out. The veteran has played in 70 games just once over the past nine seasons and was struggling until he hit the beginning of this favorable stretch. Open up the trade talks now and cash in the chip at some point over the next week!

Weekend Waivers: The Hornets play both Friday and Saturday and claim to impact fantasy free agents who also have real upside as DFS building blocks, as Dennis Smith Jr. (45% available) and Kelly Oubre Jr. (30%) have thrived in bigger starting rolls as LaMelo Ball and Terry Rozier heal from respective injuries.

Melton’s Moment: The 76ers won’t have James Harden in the lineup for at least a month due to a foot sprain suffered against the Wizards earlier this week. The team will need to rely on combo guard De’Anthony Melton (83% available) as a key connector on offense and their main point-of-attack defender. Thankfully, Melton appears up for the task, as he’s leading the NBA in steal percentage and sinking more than 40% of his 3-point attempts this season.

— Jim McCormick and Kyle Soppe

Games of the night

Chicago Bulls at Boston Celtics
7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN, TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts

Line: Celtics (-7.5)
Money line: Celtics (-320), Bulls (+250)
Total: 223 points
BPI Projected Total: 228.4 points
BPI Win%: Celtics (81.5%)

Note: BPI numbers factored in players who are ruled out but assumes questionable players will play

Best bet: Nikola Vucevic over 11.5 rebounds

Vucevic has been over this rebound number in three consecutive games and just two weeks ago against these same Celtics he hauled in 23 rebounds. The Celtics without Robert Williams III are not the same frontcourt defensively, obviously. Vucevic is off to a slow start shooting the ball and his points are down from last season, but no worry, this is how he started last season as well and his second half was considerably better. – Eric Karabell

Milwaukee Bucks at Minnesota Timberwolves
10 p.m. ET on ESPN, Target Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Line: Bucks (-3)
Money line: Bucks (-155), Timberwolves (+130)
Total: 227 points
BPI Projected Total: 237.8 points
BPI Win%: Timberwolves (54.3%)

Questionable: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Rudy Gobert, Anthony Edwards
Ruled Out: Khris Middleton, Sandro Mamukelashvili
Note: BPI numbers factored in players who are ruled out but assumes questionable players will play

Breaking down the rest of the slate

Cleveland Cavaliers at Detroit Pistons
7 p.m. ET, Little Caesars Arena, Detroit, Michigan

Line: Cavaliers (-6.5)
Money line: Cavaliers (-278), Pistons (+222)
Total: 222.5 points
BPI Projected Total: 223.9 points
BPI Win%: Cavaliers (70.5%)

Questionable: Raul Neto, Donovan Mitchell, Darius Garland, Jalen Duren
Ruled Out: Dylan Windler, Alec Burks
Note: BPI numbers factored in players who are ruled out but assumes questionable players will play

Fantasy streamer: Isaiah Stewart (available in 71.9% of leagues) has double-doubles in three straight games and five of his last seven, and is averaging a double-double on the season. He is developing a resume to be a full-time FBA flex play, let alone someone available to be streamed in most leagues. – Andre Snellings

Fantasy streamer: Kevin Love (rostered in 15.1% of leagues). Love has settled into a sixth-man role for Cleveland at this stage of his career, but has the potential to deliver a vintage performance Friday night against the Pistons. Detroit ranks 30th in points allowed per 100 possessions. Love has averaged 11.1 PPG and 7.3 RPG in 19.3 MPG. – Eric Moody

Best bet: Isaiah Stewart over 10.5 points and 9.5 rebounds

I like Stewart’s chances of topping both numbers because he’s playing far more aggressively this season and has scored 11 or more points in four consecutive games and six of seven, and for rebounds he’s been in double-digits each of the past three games and six of eight. Cleveland’s defense presents problems because of their twin towers, but Stewart sees enough minutes to overcome this. He registered a double-double twice against Milwaukee this week. He’s emerging into a terrific fantasy option. – Karabell

Best bet: Cade Cunningham over 21.5 points, over 33.5 total points+assists+rebounds

Cunningham had a tough outing in Milwaukee on Wednesday, managing only 10 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists in a blowout loss to the still-undefeated Bucks. But, in the four games leading up to Wednesday, Cunningham had averaged 27.8 PPG, 8.3 RPG and 7.5 APG. I look for him to bounce back on Friday, against a Cavs team coming off a game-of-the-year OT win over the Celtics Wednesday that has three of their top-four guards entering Friday with an injury designation. – Snellings

Miami Heat at Indiana Pacers
7 p.m. ET, Gainbridge Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, Indiana

Line: Heat (-4.5)
Money line: Heat (-190), Pacers (+158)
Total: 227 points
BPI Projected Total: 233.6 points
BPI Win%: Heat (52.3%)

Questionable: Bam Adebayo, Aaron Nesmith
Ruled Out: Nikola Jovic, Victor Oladipo, Omer Yurtseven, Jimmy Butler, Daniel Theis
Note: BPI numbers factored in players who are ruled out but assumes questionable players will play

Fantasy streamer: Max Strus (available in 88.4% of leagues) got the start on Wednesday when Jimmy Butler (hip) was a late scratch, and he’s expected to start again on Friday. Strus can be an instant offense type from downtown when he has it working. He’s scored in double figures in seven of the nine games this season, with three games of 20 or more, and has made at least three 3-pointers in six of the nine. – Snellings

Best bet: Tyrese Haliburton over 32.5 points+assists+rebounds

On Monday night, Haliburton disappointed bettors and fantasy managers. His season averages are 21.9 PPG, 9.4 APG, and 4.6 RPG. Haliburton is likely to have more success against a Heat team without Jimmy Butler on Friday night. – Moody

New York Knicks at Philadelphia 76ers
7 p.m. ET, Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Line: 76ers (-2.5)
Money line: 76ers (-148), Knicks (+126)
Total: 219 points
BPI Projected Total: 223.1 points
BPI Win%: 76ers (67.3%)

Questionable: Joel Embiid, Matisse Thybulle
Ruled Out: James Harden
Note: BPI numbers factored in players who are ruled out but assumes questionable players will play

Fantasy streamer: De’Anthony Melton

Melton was already seeing bigger minutes with Joel Embiid out of the lineup, and now that James Harden will miss a month, Melton really is a must-add for not only deeper formats, but even the standard ones. Melton has reached 29 fantasy points in four consecutive games, scoring double-digit points to go with a bevy of assists and steals. Melton is really more than a streamer the rest of November. – Karabell

Brooklyn Nets at Washington Wizards
7 p.m. ET, Capital One Arena, Washington. Washington D.C.

Line: Wizards (-2.5)
Money line: Wizards (-145), Nets (+118)
Total: 226 points
BPI Projected Total: 230.8 points
BPI Win%: Wizards (68.9%)

Ruled Out: Seth Curry, Kyrie Irving, Ben Simmons, Delon Wright
Note: BPI numbers factored in players who are ruled out but assumes questionable players will play

Fantasy streamer: Royce O’Neale (available in 79.8% of leagues) is one of several potential streamers on the Nets right now with both Kyrie Irving and Ben Simmons out, including Patty Mills (available in 98.1% of leagues) and Joe Harris (available in 97.6% of leagues). O’Neale is the safest play, though, because his floor is so high. In his normal role, he has averaged 2.5 3PG and 2.3 combined steals and blocks per game; he has at least three assists in six of eight games so far; and he also has at least three rebounds in six of eight games. With Simmons and Irving out, he also has the opportunity to put some points on the board. O’Neale notched his first 20-point game of the season on Tuesday with Simmons out. – Snellings

Best bet: Kristaps Porzingis over 21.5 points

Porzingis is zoning right now, coming off back-to-back 30-plus point scoring efforts and four 20-point games in his last five outings (average 24.2 PPG during that stretch). The Nets, meanwhile, have been regularly gouged in the paint by opposing bigs this season. – Snellings

Best bet: Bradley Beal over 25.5 points+rebounds

Due to Kyrie Irving’s suspension, Beal should thrive against the Nets shorthanded backcourt. The Nets rank 29th in points allowed per 100 possessions. Beal has averaged 21.8 PPG and 3.6 RPG. – Moody

Charlotte Hornets at Memphis Grizzlies
8 p.m. ET, FedExForum, Memphis, Tennessee

Line: Hornets (-11.5)
Money line: Grizzlies (-700), Hornets (+500)
Total: 230.5 points
BPI Projected Total: 240.3 points
BPI Win%: Grizzlies (74.9%)

Ruled Out: Cody Martin, LaMelo Ball, Gordon Hayward, Terry Rozier
Note: BPI numbers factored in players who are ruled out but assumes questionable players will play

Fantasy streamer: Jalen McDaniels (available in 89.8% of leagues) has been a high-floor producer off the bench this season, with five double-digit scoring efforts and seven 5-plus rebound efforts in his first eight games. He got an uptick in minutes on Wednesday after Gordon Hayward was forced to leave with a shoulder injury, and with Hayward out on Friday McDaniels could be in for a large role. Side note: if for some reason Kelly Oubre Jr. (available in 30.6% of leagues) or Dennis Smith Jr. (available in 44.9% of leagues) are out there in your league, they are both elite streaming options at this point. – Snellings

Best bet: Desmond Bane over 21.5 points

Bane is just absolutely in his bag right now. He missed a game on Monday with an ankle injury, but returned on Wednesday. In the last four games he’s played in, Bane has averaged 32.5 PPG with at least 29 points in every outing. I don’t see him slowing down on Friday against the Hornets. – Snellings

LA Clippers at San Antonio Spurs
8 p.m. ET, AT&T Center, San Antonio, Texas

Line: Clippers (-4)
Money line: Clippers (-170), Spurs (+143)
Total: 224 points
BPI Projected Total: 232.8 points
BPI Win%: Spurs (51.5%)

Questionable: Romeo Langford, Isaiah Roby, Zach Collins
Ruled Out: Kawhi Leonard, Robert Covington
Note: BPI numbers factored in players who are ruled out but assumes questionable players will play

Toronto Raptors at Dallas Mavericks
8:30 p.m. ET, American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas

Line: Mavericks (-4)
Money line: Mavericks (-180), Raptors (+152)
Total: 217 points
BPI Projected Total: 225.4 points
BPI Win%: Mavericks (68.4%)

Questionable: Fred VanVleet
Ruled Out: Frank Ntilikina, Davis Bartans
Note: BPI numbers factored in players who are ruled out but assumes questionable players will play

Fantasy streamer: Chris Boucher (rostered in 43.6% of leagues) is firmly on the streaming radar following his best game of the year. He’s averaged 12.0 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 1.2 BPG and 1.2 SPG in 19.4 MPG. Pick up Boucher if he’s available in your league. – Moody

Golden State Warriors at New Orleans Pelicans
8:30 p.m. ET, Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, Louisiana

Line: Pelicans (-4.5)
Money line: Pelicans (-195), Warriors (+162)
Total: 231 points
BPI Projected Total: 237 points
BPI Win%: Pelicans (58.6%)

Ruled Out: Herbert Jones, Brandon Ingram, Donte DiVincenzo
Note: BPI numbers factored in players who are ruled out but assumes questionable players will play

Portland Trail Blazers at Phoenix Suns
10 p.m. ET, Footprint Center, Phoenix, Arizona

Line: Suns (-10)
Money line: Suns (-480), Trail Blazers (+360)
Total: 221.5 points
BPI Projected Total: 231.7 points
BPI Win%: Suns (85.7%)

Questionable: Anfernee Simons, Torrey Craig, Cameron Payne
Ruled Out: Damian Lillard, Trendon Watford, Gary Payton II, Ish Wainwright, Deandre Ayton
Note: BPI numbers factored in players who are ruled out but assumes questionable players will play

Utah Jazz at Los Angeles Lakers
10:30 p.m. ET, Arena, Los Angeles, California

Line: Lakers (-2)
Money line: Lakers (-130), Jazz (+110)
Total: 226.5 points
BPI Projected Total: 232.8 points
BPI Win%: Jazz (59.2%)

Questionable: Simone Fontecchio, Anthony Davis, LeBron James
Ruled Out: Leandro Bolmaro
Note: BPI numbers factored in players who are ruled out but assumes questionable players will play

Fantasy streamer: Kelly Olynyk (available in 72.3% of leagues) is one of several strong, unheralded contributors on the Jazz this season. His contributions fluctuate more than what you’d like in an every day fantasy starter, but he has the upside in any given game to make an impact…which is what you look for in a streamer. He’s scored 20 or more points in three of his last eight games, and is averaging 12.6 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 3.8 APG, 1.8 3PG, 1.8 SPG and 0.8 BPG during that stretch. Plus, he’s facing a Lakers squad tonight that has allowed the most fantasy points to opposing centers of any team in the NBA. – Snellings

Best bet: Lauri Markkanen Over 28.5 points + rebounds

It has been a glorious start to the NBA season for Markkanen, following his epic performance in EuroBasket 2022. This season, Markkanen has exceeded 28.5 points+rebounds in five of his nine games. Against the Lakers on Friday night, there is a strong chance the good times will continue. – Moody

Analytics edge

BPI highest projected totals

1. Memphis Grizzlies (124)
2. Phoenix Suns (121.8)
3. New Orleans Pelicans (119.7)

BPI lowest projected totals

1. Detroit Pistons (109.1)
2. Miami Heat (109.3)
3. Boston Celtics (109.3)

BPI top probability to win (straight up)

1. Phoenix Suns (86.2%)
2. Boston Celtics (81.2%)
3. Memphis Grizzlies (75.2%)

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