Fantasy basketball tips and NBA betting picks for Monday

The ESPN Fantasy Basketball Cheat Sheet and Basketball Betting Tips is your pregame destination for basketball betting predictions and our best insights and data to help you make smart Fantasy and betting decisions. NBA game odds for December 26 are provided by Caesars Sportsbook, and fantasy tips are based on ESPN’s 10-team leagues.


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

Spray on the Pacers: The Pacers are a huge underdog tonight in New Orleans … right where the gamblers want them. If you’ve bet Indiana on the money line every time this season when they get at least five points (tonight lines up to be the 13th such game), you’re up 12.3 units. No. Also. Worn out.

Bearish on the bulls: The number will fluctuate throughout the day, but Chicago will be the favorite when they host Houston tonight and that gives you license to wipe them out. The Bulls have failed to cover six of their last seven games when favored, losing five of those games outright.

— Jim McCormick and Kyle Soppe


game night

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

Line: Heat (-3)
money line: Heat (-155), Timberwolves (+130)
Total: 221.5 points
BIS Projected Total: 231.3 points
% BPI Gain: Heat (57.6%)

Questionable: caleb martin, Bam Adebayo, jimmy butler
Discarded: taurus prince, jordan mclaughlin, kyle anderson, Karl-Anthony Towns, Dewayne Dedmont, gabe vincent
Note: BPI numbers are taken into account for players who are out, but it is assumed that questionable players will play

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

Best bet: Anthony Edwards more than 23.5 points. Edwards has been on a tear for the past week. He has averaged 29.3 PPG in his last 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 playing alongside Towns. With Towns still out, Edwards should get a big chunk of the offense on Monday. –Snellings


Breaking down the rest of the board

Brooklyn Nets at Cleveland Cavaliers
7 pm ET, Rocket Mortgage Field House, Cleveland

Line: Knights (-2)
money line: Cavaliers (-140), Nets (+118)
Total: 221.5 points
BIS Projected Total: 233.1 points
% BPI Gain: Gentlemen (65.3%)

Discarded: joseph harris
Note: BPI numbers are taken into account for players who are out, but it is assumed that questionable players will play

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

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

Line: Clippers (-5.5)
money line: Clippers (-225), Pistons (+185)
Total: 222.5 points
BIS Projected Total: 230.1 points
% BPI Gain: Razors (65.2%)

Discarded: kawhi leonard
Note: BPI numbers are taken into account for players who are out, but it is assumed that questionable players will play

Fantasy streamers: Norman Powell (available in 83.4% of leagues), Terence Mann (available in 96.0% of the leagues) and luke kennard (available in 98.5% of leagues) are all reasonable streaming options with Kawhi Leonard coming Monday night. All three have a 20-point effort in recent games, with Powell coming back from injury and dropping 21 points in 23 minutes on Friday. Kennard scored 20 points with four 3-pointers three games ago and Mann took a big step forward the last time Leonard sat out, posting a double-double of 22 points and 11 rebounds with four assists and four 3-pointers in 34 minutes against the Suns. — andre snellings

Best bet: bojan bogdanovic more than 19.5 points. Bogdanovic is a bucket, and he rebounded from two bad games early last week with a 23-point effort on Friday. He has scored at least 22 points in five of his last seven games and faces a Clippers defense that is in the middle of the pack in points allowed to opposing forwards. Los Angeles also ranks sixth worst in 3-pointers allowed at the position, and Bogdanovic loves to operate from beyond the arc. –Snellings

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

Line: Bulls (-7.5)
money line: Bulls (-320), Rockets (+250)
Total: 229 points
BIS Projected Total: 240.8 points
% BPI Gain: Bulls (75.8%)

Doubtful: Derrick Jones Jr..
Questionable: eric gordon
Discarded: Green Javonte, alex caruso, Jae Sean Tate
Note: BPI numbers are taken into account for players who are out, but it is assumed that 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 in his last nine games and has averaged 13.7 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 1.8 3PG, 1.1 BPG and 0.7 SPG on 31.8 MPG during that span. –Snellings

Best bet: Nikola Vucevic over 27.5 points + rebounds. Vucevic has averaged 19.9 points and 9.1 rebounds per game in his last nine games. He’s in a great place 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 pm ET, Smoothie King Center, New Orleans

Line: Pelicans (-6.5)
money line: Pelicans (-260), Pacers (+210)
Total: 235.5 points
BIS Projected Total: 236.9 points
% BPI Gain: Pelicans (62.5%)

Questionable: Aaron Nesmith, jalen smith
Discarded: Brandon Ingram, Larry Nance Jr..
Note: BPI numbers are taken into account for players who are out, but it is assumed that questionable players will play

Best bet: Tyrese Haliburton over 29.5 points + assists. Haliburton has averaged 20.7 PPG and a career-high 10.5 APG this season. He’s playing the best basketball of his career and I don’t believe it. C.J. McCollum Y Joseph Alvarado you’ll be able to contain it Monday night. — Moody

Utah Jazz at San Antonio Spurs
8 pm ET, AT&T Center, San Antonio

Line:jazz (-4.5)
money line: Jazz (-195), Spurs (+162)
Total: 235.5 points
BIS Projected Total: 240.9 points
% BPI Gain: Jazz (70.8%)

Discarded: kelly olynyk
Note: BPI numbers are taken into account for players who are out, but it is assumed that questionable players will play

Best bet: Lauri Markkanen more than 22.5 points. Markkanen has been the leading scorer for the Jazz and has topped 22.5 points in three of his last five and six of his last 10 games. During those 10 games, he averaged a robust 25.1 PPG. On Monday he faces a very friendly Spurs defense in a game where many points must be scored. –Snellings

Best bet: jordan clarkson 29.5+ points + assists + rebounds. Clarkson has 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 in the last nine games. — Moody

Fantasy Streamer: Walker Kessler (included in 16.2% of ESPN leagues). Kessler is a great streamer for Monday nights. 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 last five games. — Moody

Charlotte Hornets at Portland Trail Blazers
10 pm ET, Moda Center, Portland, Oregon

Line: American (-6)
money line: Blazers (-225), Hornets (+185)
Total: 239 points
BIS Projected Total: 241.7 points
% BPI Gain: American (58.7%)

Questionable: nick richards, joseph hart, jusuf nurkic
Discarded: dennis smith jr., cody martin, justise winslow, Gary Payton II
Note: BPI numbers are taken into account for players who are out, but it is assumed that questionable players will play

Best bet: LaMelo Ball 23.5+ points, 30.5+ combined points + assists. Ball has scored at least 23 points in the 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 averaged 10.3 APG in those settings. The Trail Blazers have a friendly defense, and the total is high

Best bet: Jusuf Nurkic with 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 has averaged 14.4 points and 9.3 rebounds per game and plays even better at home. Nurkic is well positioned to top these averages against the Hornets on Monday night. — Moody

Leave a Reply

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