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Fantasy basketball tips and NBA 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 19 are provided by Caesars Sportsbook, and fantasy advice is based on ESPN 10-team leagues.

What you need to know for Sunday’s games

March Madness. For those of us whose brackets have been demolished by the vast array of upsets this weekend in the NCAA tournament, the madness is real. But, for those of us in fantasy hoops league playoffs, March Madness applies in a very similar way. Like the NCAA,, fantasy hoops teams are in win-or-go-home territory. And with this being Sunday, the last day of the fantasy hoops game week, decisions made today could determine whether some of your teams are still playing next week. Sunday’s schedule is larger than usual for a Sunday slate, so let’s go through and find some value plays to help you finish the week right.

–Andre Snellings

Game of the Night

LA Clippers at Portland Trail Blazers
9:00 p.m ET, Moda Center, Portland, OR

Records (Against the Spread)
Clippers: 37-34 (35-36-0)
Blazers: 31-39 (33-36-1)

Line: Clippers (-3.5)
BPI Projection: Clippers: 129.8-128.2
Money Line: Clippers (-165), Blazers (140)
BPI Projected winner: Clippers (55.6%)
Total: 234 BPI Projected Total: 258

Injury Report:
Clippers: Brandon Boston Jr., (GTD – Lower Body); Kawhi Leonard, (GTD – Knee); Norman Powell, (OUT – Shoulder)
Blazers: Nassir Little, (GTD – Illness); Jerami Grant, (OUT – Quadriceps); Justise Winslow, (OUT – Ankle)
Note: BPI numbers factor players who are ruled out but assumes GTD players will play

Trend: The Clippers blew a fourth quarter lead yesterday afternoon against the Magic, but don’t let that keep you off of them tonight. The expectation is for Kawhi Leonard to be back in the lineup and that’s reason enough to look their way against a bottom-5 defense. Also in their favor is the fact that the Blazers are just 6-14 ATS when the spread is no more than three points (where this line opened yesterday). The Clips are 8-4 ATS over the past two months on the road and they have a good chance at improving that mark tonight. -Kyle Soppe

Fantasy Streamer: Trendon Watford (available in 97.4% of leagues) should get his third straight start on Sunday in place of Jerami Grant (out). Watford has played well of late, whether starting or not. In his last four games, he has averaged 10.5 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 3.8 APG, 2.0 SPG and 1.0 3PG in 30.5 MPG. He’s got at least two steals in three straight games, at least two treys in two straight, and is coming off flirting with a triple-double with 10 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists on Friday against the Celtics. -Snellings

Best Bet: Damian Lillard over 35.5 points. Lillard has scored at least 38 points in seven straight home games, a stretch in which he has averaged 44.0 PPG including his 71-point explosion last month. He has put up 50 or more points in a home game about once every few weeks in 2023, so he could be due for another detonation any time now. -Snellings

Breaking down the rest of the slate

Denver Nuggets at Brooklyn Nets
3:30 p.m ET, Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY

Records (Against the Spread)
Nuggets: 47-24 (37-33-1)
Nets: 39-31 (38-32-0)

Line: Nuggets (-1.5)
BPI Projection: Nuggets: 126.5-125.9
Money Line: Nuggets (-125), Nets (105)
BPI Projected winner: Nuggets (52.3%)
Total: 228 BPI Projected Total: 252.4

Injury Report:
Nuggets: None reported
Nets: Ben Simmons, (OUT – Knee)
Note: BPI numbers factor players who are ruled out but assumes GTD players will play

Fantasy Streamer: Cameron Johnson (available in 67.8% of leagues) is a strong secondary scorer for the Nets. In his last 10 games, he has averaged 18.0 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 2.6 3PG, 1.7 APG and 1.3 SPG in 32.0 MPG. He was solid but unspectacular in his game against the Nuggets in Denver a week ago, scoring 14 points with 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals and 2 3-pointers in 29 minutes. -Snellings

Best Bet: Mikal Bridges over 29.5 total points + rebounds. Bridges has exploded into the primary scoring role for the Nets, averaging 27.8 PPG and 4.6 RPG in his past 13 outings. He has scored more than 29.5 points by themselves, let alone points + rebounds, in seven of those 13 games. -Snellings

Phoenix Suns at Oklahoma City Thunder
3:30 p.m ET, Paycom Center, Oklahoma City, OK

Records (Against the Spread)
Suns: 38-32 (36-32-2)
Thunder: 34-36 (43-26-1)

Line: Thunder (-1)
BPI Projection: Thunder: 131.1-128.7
Money Line: Suns (105), Thunder (-125)
BPI Projected winner: Thunder (58.6%)
Total: 234 BPI Projected Total: 259.8

Injury Report:
Suns: Landry Shamet, (GTD – Foot); Deandre Ayton, (OUT – Groin); Kevin Durant, (OUT – Ankle)
Thunder: Chet Holmgren, (OUT – Foot); Kenrich Williams, (OUT – Wrist)
Note: BPI numbers factor players who are ruled out but assumes GTD players will play

Trend: One team has Kevin Durant on their roster while the other used to, but KD won’t appear in the box score for either team in this game. Even without one of the best scorers to ever lace’em up, there are signs pointing in the direction of points in this game: overs are 14-8-2 when the Thunder are at home and the spread is less than five points while the Suns have seen six of their past seven go over the number. Of note… Phoenix is 3-6-1 ATS in their past 10 games that have seen more points scored than expected. -Soppe

Fantasy Streamer: Jock Landale (available in 99.7% of leagues). Landale could be in for extended minutes on Sunday with Deandre Ayton (groin) out. On the season, Landale is averaging 16.8 points per 36 minutes, 10.4 RP36, 2.4 AP36 and 1.2 BP36. He’s played 27 total minutes in his last two games, and notched 20 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists in those minutes. -Snellings

Best Bet: Devin Booker over 31.5 points. In his past eight games, Booker has averaged 32.6 PPG, and that’s with either Kevin Durant, Deandre Ayton, or both playing next to him. With both sidelined Sunday, Booker will have a heavier load to carry against a Thunder team that is among the friendliest in the NBA to opposing shooting guards (sixth-most fantasy points allowed). -Snellings

Atlanta Hawks at San Antonio Spurs
4:00 p.m ET, AT&T Center, San Antonio, TX

Records (Against the Spread)
Hawks: 35-35 (31-37-2)
Spurs: 18-52 (29-41-0)

Line: Hawks (-9.5)
BPI Projection: Hawks: 135.1-126.7
Money Line: Hawks (-420), Spurs (320)
BPI Projected winner: Hawks (77.2%)
Total: 243 BPI Projected Total: 261.8

Injury Report:
Hawks: Jalen Johnson, (GTD – Hamstring); Trae Young, (GTD – Knee)
Spurs: Doug McDermott, (GTD – Hip); Keita Bates-Diop, (GTD – Achilles); Zach Collins, (GTD – Biceps); Devonte’ Graham, (OUT – Quadriceps); Jeremy Sochan, (OUT – Knee); Khem Birch, (OUT – Knee); Charles Bassey, (OUT – Kneecap)
Note: BPI numbers factor players who are ruled out but assumes GTD players will play

Trend: The Spurs are not a good basketball team, so the inclination is to blindly bet against them and let the chips fall where they may. Not so fast. At least not blindly. The Hawks are 4-8 ATS this season as a road favorite and while me telling you that San Antonio is 18-19 ATS at home this season may not seem like a feather in their cap, when you consider that they are 11-22 ATS on the road, it’s at least a step forward. The Spurs have a winning ATS record over the past 2.5 weeks and should not be brushed aside when evaluating this slate. –Soppe

Fantasy Streamer: De’Andre Hunter (available in 81.6% of leagues) has scored at least 14 points in nine straight games, and in his last 14 games he’s averaged 15.9 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 1.4 3PG, 1.4 APG, 0.6 BPG and 0.5 SPG in 31.8 MPG. He also could have a slightly larger role on Sunday if Trae Young (Q, knee) is unable to go. -Snellings

Miami Heat at Detroit Pistons
6:00 p.m ET, Little Caesars Arena, Detroit, MI

Records (Against the Spread)
Heat: 38-34 (25-44-3)
Pistons: 16-55 (31-39-1)

Line: Heat (-9)
BPI Projection: Heat: 135.1-117.7
Money Line: Heat (-420), Pistons (320)
BPI Projected winner: Heat (86.8%)
Total: 217.5 BPI Projected Total: 247.5

Injury Report:
Heat: Cody Zeller, (GTD – Nose); Kyle Lowry, (GTD – Knee)
Pistons: Isaiah Livers, (GTD – Hip); Alec Burks, (OUT – Foot); Bojan Bogdanovic, (OUT – Achilles); Isaiah Stewart, (OUT – Shoulder); Cade Cunningham, (OUT – Lower Leg); Hamidou Diallo, (OUT – Ankle)
Note: BPI numbers factor players who are ruled out but assumes GTD players will play

Fantasy Streamer: Killian Hayes (available in 81.9% of leagues) is finishing the season strong, averaging 14.3 PPG, 9.5 APG, 2.8 RPG, 2.0 SPG and 0.8 BPG in 33.8 MPG over the past four games since he’s moved back into the starting lineup. He’s a daily double-double threat that is available on the free agency wire in most leagues. -Snellings

New Orleans Pelicans at Houston Rockets
7:00 p.m ET, Toyota Center, Houston, TX

Records (Against the Spread)
Pelicans: 33-37 (31-38-1)
Rockets: 18-52 (28-39-3)

Line: Pelicans (-5)
BPI Projection: Pelicans: 129.8-124.5
Money Line: Pelicans (-225), Rockets (185)
BPI Projected winner: Pelicans (60.3%)
Total: 227.5 BPI Projected Total: 251.8

Injury Report:
Pelicans: Jose Alvarado, (OUT – Leg); Zion Williamson, (OUT – Hamstring); E.J. Liddell, (OUT – Knee)
Rockets: None reported
Note: BPI numbers factor players who are ruled out but assumes GTD players will play

Fantasy Streamer: Trey Murphy III (available in 63.1% of leagues) has solidified himself as one of the main shooter/scorers for the Pelicans. Murphy’s 41-point explosion last week came while Brandon Ingram was out, but even if you adjust his averages down a couple points since moving back into the starting lineup, it’d still be worth fantasy consideration. During those seven games, he’s averaged 19.6 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 4.1 3PG, 2.0 APG, 1.3 SPG and 1.0 BPG in 37.0 MPG with at least 13 points scored in each contest. -Snellings

Fantasy Streamer: Kenyon Martin Jr. (available in 83.5% of leagues) may not have won the Slam Dunk Contest during All Star Weekend, but he’s been on a mission ever since. In the 12 games since the Break, Martin has averaged 16.2 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 1.7 APG, 0.8 SPG and 0.6 3PG in 32.3 MPG. -Snellings

Toronto Raptors at Milwaukee Bucks
8:00 p.m ET, Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee, WI

Records (Against the Spread)
Raptors: 35-36 (36-35-0)
Bucks: 50-20 (38-27-5)

Line: Bucks (-9)
BPI Projection: Bucks: 128.9-126.3
Money Line: Raptors (335), Bucks (-440)
BPI Projected winner: Bucks (59.4%)
Total: 234.5 BPI Projected Total: 255.2

Injury Report:
Raptors: Dalano Banton, (GTD – Thumb); Otto Porter Jr., (OUT – Foot)
Bucks: Brook Lopez, (GTD – Ankle); Grayson Allen, (GTD – Foot); Goran Dragic, (OUT – Knee); Jae Crowder, (OUT – Calf)
Note: BPI numbers factor players who are ruled out but assumes GTD players will play

Orlando Magic at Los Angeles Lakers
9:30 p.m ET, Crypto.com Arena, Los Angeles, CA

Records (Against the Spread)
Magic: 29-42 (38-31-2)
Lakers: 34-37 (33-36-2)

Line: Lakers (-6.5)
BPI Projection: Lakers: 129.8-124.6
Money Line: Magic (205), Lakers (-250)
BPI Projected winner: Lakers (58.8%)
Total: 230 BPI Projected Total: 251.7

Injury Report:
Magic: Jalen Suggs, (GTD – Concussion); Jonathan Isaac, (OUT – Thigh)
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

Trend: Are the Magic getting enough respect? They are young, but they are 17-13 ATS over their past 30 and showed resilience yesterday afternoon against the Blazers. The Lakers are anything but showtime these days, as they’ve cashed the under tickets in 10 of their past 13 games… fine by Orlando! The Magic have covered 12 of their past 17 games that came in under the projected total. This youthful team hasn’t had a back-to-back since Valentine’s Day (not to mention the day game/night game dynamic here with no travel), so I’m not too worried about fatigue in this instance. -Soppe