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Fantasy basketball tips and betting picks for Sunday

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 Sunday, March 12 are provided by Caesars Sportsbook, and fantasy advice is based on ESPN 10-team leagues.

What you need to know for Sunday’s games

Six-game Sunday in the NBA. With less than a month left in the regular season, teams are really settling into their roles as either contenders, fighters for position or lottery bound.

There are four games between teams potentially jostling for playoffs position, though that tally includes a Denver Nuggets squad with a big lead in the West that has dropped two straight games against lesser competition.

The New York Knicks at the Los Angeles Lakers and the Washington Wizards at the Philadelphia 76ers stand out as games where both teams really need the win for positioning, so those are the games where I expect the highest level of competition. With that said, every game is an opportunity to identify potential fantasy streamers and/or good betting angles. Let’s dig into each contest, to see what we can find.

— André Snellings

Breaking down the Sunday’s slate

Brooklyn Nets at Denver Nuggets
3:30 p.m. ET, Ball Arena, Denver, Colorado

Records (Against the Spread)
Nets: 38-29 (37-30-0)
Nuggets: 46-21 (36-30-1)

Line: Nuggets (-9)
BPI Projection: Nuggets (127-121.5)
Money Line: Nets (+310), Nuggets (-400)
BPI Projected winner: Nuggets (69.4%)
Total: 232 points BPI Projected Total: 248.5 points

Injury Report:
Nets: Ben Simmons, (GTD – Knee)
Nuggets: Zeke Nnaji, (OUT – Shoulder)
Note: BPI numbers factor players who are ruled out but assumes GTD players will play

Fantasy streamer: Cameron Johnson (available in 67.9% of leagues) returned from a down game on Tuesday against the Rockets and an off-day on Thursday, with 15 points, 8 rebounds and 2 3-pointers in 34 minutes on Friday. Overall, Johnson has averaged 19.0 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 2.7 3PG, 1.4 APG and 1.3 SPG in 30.9 MPG over his last seven outings. — Snellings

Best bet: Nets + 9.0. The Nuggets have lost two straight games, to the Bulls and Spurs, and still maintain a strong 5.5 game lead in the Western Conference standings with only 15 games left. The Nets have won four of their last five games, with the lone loss against the Bucks (best record in the NBA) by only five points. According to the BPI game predictor, the Nuggets should be favored by more like 5.5 points than 9.0 or more. –Snellings

Cleveland Cavaliers at Charlotte Hornets
5 p.m. ET, Spectrum Center, Charlotte, North Carolina

Records (Against the Spread)
Cavaliers: 42-27 (36-31-2)
Hornets: 22-47 (30-37-2)

Line: Cavaliers (-8)
BPI Projection: Cavaliers (127.4-117.7)
Money Line: Cavaliers (-345), Hornets (+270)
BPI Projected winner: Cavaliers (81.7%)
Total: 220 points BPI Projected Total: 245.1 points

Injury Report:
Cavaliers: Darius Garland, (GTD – Quadriceps); Jarrett Allen, (GTD – Eye)
Hornets: Cody Martin, (GTD – Knee); Mark Williams, (GTD – Thumb); LaMelo Ball, (OUT – Ankle)
Note: BPI numbers factor players who are ruled out but assumes GTD players will play

Fantasy streamer: Nick Richards (available in 96.4% of leagues) is in this space because Mark Williams (available in 87.5% of leagues) injured his thumb two games ago and sat out Saturday’s game. In those two games, Richards has flirted with averaging a double-double with 11.0 PPG, 9.0 RPG and 3.5 BPG in 29.5 MPG. If Williams sits, Richards makes a viable streamer for Sunday. If WIlliams does play, though, he is the one that would make a solid streamer, based on his averages of 12.1 PPG, 9.6 RPG, 1.3 BPG and 0.7 SPG in 27.1 MPG in the nine games before his injury. —Snellings

Best bet: Donovan Mitchell over 29.5 points. Mitchell has been in a scoring zone of late, averaging 33.2 PPG in his last six outings, with at least 35 points in four of the six games. Mitchell also could carry a larger scoring role if Darius Garland (quad) sits for the second game in a row. — Snellings

Washington Wizards at Philadelphia 76ers
6 p.m. ET, Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Records (Against the Spread)
Wizards: 31-36 (31-34-2)
76ers: 44-22 (36-29-1)

Line: 76ers (-8)
BPI Projection: 76ers (130.9-122.5)
Money Line: Wizards (+250), 76ers (-320)
BPI Projected winner: 76ers (78.5%)
Total: 227.5 points BPI Projected Total: 253.4 points

Injury Report:
Wizards: None reported
76ers: None reported
Note: BPI numbers factor players who are ruled out but assumes GTD players will play

Fantasy streamer: Delon Wright (available in 72.3% of leagues) is in this space due to his awesome defensive stats. He has averaged 3.7 SPG in his last six outings, to go with 9.2 PPG, 6.5 APG, 4.0 RPG and 1.0 3PG in 32.7 MPG. Wright moved back to the bench for his most recent game, but still played 30 minutes and turned in 10 points, 5 assists, 3 steals and 2 rebounds. — Snellings

Best bet: Kristaps Porzingis over 21.5 points. Porzingis has scored 22 or more points in seven straight games, averaging 26.1 PPG in that stretch. The 76ers allow the eighth-most points to opposing power forwards in the NBA, and starting power forward PJ Tucker isn’t tall enough nor does his defensive style do much to preclude Porzingis from the face-up perimeter shooting game that he’s been thriving on. — Snellings

Trend: The 76ers have won four straight (10 of 13) and are in a position to not only extend that streak, but to cover the number. Philly is 22-13 ATS at home this season and have covered 14 of the 20 home games that went over the total. Why mention that note about the over? Overs are 11-5 when the 76ers are favored by at least seven points and, since New Year’s, the Wizards are just 6-10 ATS when the game goes over the number. — Soppe

Portland Trail Blazers at New Orleans Pelicans
7 p.m. ET, Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, Louisiana

Records (Against the Spread)
Blazers: 31-36 (33-33-1)
Pelicans: 32-35 (30-36-1)

Line: Pelicans (-1.5)
BPI Projection: Blazers (130.9-125.9)
Money Line: Blazers (+105), Pelicans (-125)
BPI Projected winner: Blazers (53.2%)
Total: 230 points BPI Projected Total: 252.7 points

Injury Report:
Blazers: Damian Lillard, (GTD – Calf); Ryan Arcidiacono, (GTD – Back); Justise Winslow, (OUT – Ankle)
Pelicans: Brandon Ingram, (GTD – Foot); Larry Nance Jr., (OUT – Ankle); Jose Alvarado, (OUT – Leg); Zion Williamson, (OUT – Hamstring); E.J. Liddell, (OUT – Knee)
Note: BPI numbers factor players who are ruled out but assumes GTD players will play

Fantasy streamer: Cam Reddish (available in 88.3% of leagues) moved back to a bench role on Friday with Anfernee Simons returning from injury, but still managed 14 points, 2 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 assist and 1 3-pointer in 36 minutes. Overall, in his last 10 games (two of which came off the bench), Reddish has averaged 15.0 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 2.8 APG, 2.3 3PG and 1.5 SPG in 33.3 MPG. — Snellings

Trend: The Pelicans are a different team at home than on the road and, up to this point, sportsbooks have been unable to properly gauge the difference (18-14 ATS at home, 12-20-1 ATS on the road). That’ll work against a Blazers team that is just 5-13 ATS in their past 18 road games. If you’re looking for a lean when it comes to the total, unders are 12-6 in those 18 Blazer road games and unders have cashed in six straight Pelican games.– Kyle Soppe

Oklahoma City Thunder at San Antonio Spurs
7 p.m. ET, AT&T Center, San Antonio, Texas

Records (Against the Spread)
Thunder: 32-35 (41-25-1)
Spurs: 17-49 (27-39-0)

Line: Thunder (-3)
BPI Projection: Thunder (133.2-129.2)
Money Line: Thunder (-145), Spurs (+122)
BPI Projected winner: Thunder (63.7%)
Total: 236 points BPI Projected Total: 262.4 points

Injury Report:
Thunder: Chet Holmgren, (OUT – Foot); Kenrich Williams, (OUT – Wrist)
Spurs: Jeremy Sochan, (GTD – Knee); Keldon Johnson, (GTD – Foot); Khem Birch, (OUT – Knee)
Note: BPI numbers factor players who are ruled out but assumes GTD players will play

Fantasy streamer: Jalen Williams (available in 47.9% of leagues) returned from a two-game injury absence (wrist) with a solid 17 points, 4 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 assists in 37 minutes against the Pelicans on Saturday. In his last seven games, he has averaged 22.4 PPG, 4.9 APG, 4.6 RPG, 2.4 SPG and 1.6 3PG in 32.9 MPG. — Snellings

Trend: The Thunder are on the second night of a back-to-back, a spot that typically scares bettors, but in this unique instance, it’s a target spot. The Spurs are 1-5 ATS in their past six games against teams that are on the second night of a back-to-back and if you want to dive into the total, things continue to come up Thunder. Over tickets have cashed in six straight Oklahoma City back-to-backs and San Antonio is just 3-10 ATS in the past 13 games that have gone over the projected total.– Soppe

New York Knicks at Los Angeles Lakers
9 p.m. ET, Crypto.com Arena, Los Angeles, California

Records (Against the Spread)
Knicks: 39-30 (38-30-1)
Lakers: 33-34 (32-33-2)

Line: Lakers (-2.5)
BPI Projection: Knicks: (133.2-122.2)
Money Line: Knicks (+118), Lakers (-140)
BPI Projected winner: Knicks (65.4%)
Total: 224.5 points BPI Projected Total: 248.7 points

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

Fantasy streamer: Immanuel Quickley (available in 69.7% of leagues) has taken on a larger role with Jalen Brunson battling foot issues. Brunson hasn’t played in three of the last four games, and sat out the second half in the one game that he did play during that stretch. Quickley has been productive as a sixth man all season, and in his last seven games (three starts) he has averaged 20.0 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 4.0 APG, 3.3 3PG and 1.1 SPG in 33.4 MPG. — Snellings

Best bet: Lakers -2.0. The Knicks aren’t the same team when Jalen Brunson is slowed or out. Brunson has missed three of the last four games entirely, and the second half of the one game he played, and the Knicks have gone 1-3 with a -5.3 PPG scoring margin during those games. The Lakers, meanwhile, have won three straight games even without LeBron James, and have done so by an average of 9.0 PPG. Playing at home, with a likely bounce-back effort from Anthony Davis (only eight points on Friday), the Lakers should be able to extend their win streak to four games. — Snellings

Trend: The Lakers have been anything but showtime at home with 10 of their past 14 games in front of their fans going under the total. The Knicks are a team that not only thrives in lower scoring games, but in the other boxes this game checks: three straight covers when on 0 days rest and a 16-6-1 ATS mark in their past 23 road games.— Soppe