Fantasy basketball tips and betting picks for Thursday

The Sportzshala Fantasy Basketball Betting Tips and Basketball Betting Cheat Sheet is where you can get pre-game basketball betting predictions and our best intelligence and data, including Sportzshala’s own Basketball Power Index (BPI), which will help you make smart betting and fantasy decisions. Feb. 9 NBA odds are provided by Caesars Sportsbook and fantasy tips are based on Sportzshala’s 10-team leagues.

What do you need for Thursday’s games

The NBA really doesn’t sleep. After yesterday’s blockbuster sent Kevin Durant to the Phoenix Suns and Mikal Bridges and a bunch of picks to the Brooklyn Nets, fantasy managers have been tasked with assessing the implications of such a big deal.

The main statistical beneficiary of this deal may simply be the most popular name of the week, Brooklyn’s Cam Thomas (56% available in Sportzshala leagues). The Nets are likely to stick with Thomas – the league’s leading scorer at the moment – as the top perimeter threat from the backcourt. Spencer Dinwiddie also has a big workload ahead of him in the coming weeks. Given the incredible glut of 3-and-D wings in Brooklyn after making two big deals in the past few days, perhaps more trading on Thursday will balance the roster.

Phoenix will be noticeably understaffed on the wing until Durant makes his debut after the All-Star break, which could mean intermediate value for players like Damion Lee (99% availability) and Dario Saric (99%) as the Suns » in the minority will face rivals. Atlanta Hawks tonight. Both have proven their ability to produce when called upon.

The Raptors were considered key sellers ahead of today’s deadline and that may still be true, but Wednesday’s reacquisition of Jakob Poeltl suggests they still have plans to stay competitive. Poeltle’s fantasy reserves are on the rise in Toronto as their strong perimeter defense should guide his rim shots.

Today’s roster is defined by this roster shuffling, with Brooklyn’s Thomas and Nick Claxton being the key building blocks of the DFS against the Chicago Bulls, while the backbone of the Suns team offers multiple streaming options. There will undoubtedly be more deals today. As any hoop coach would advise, keep your head on the swivel.

— Jim McCormick

Breaking down Thursday’s list

Denver Nuggets at Orlando Magic
7:00 pm ET, Amway Center, Orlando, Florida

Records (against spread)

Nuggets: 38-17 (29-25-1)
Magic: 22-33 (31-22-2)

Line: Nuggets (-6)
Performance Index Forecast: Nuggets (121.3–116.7)
Money line: Nuggets (-250), Magic (+205)
Predicted BPI Winner: Nuggets (66.2%)
General: 232 points Predicted BPI: 238 points

Injury Report:

Nuggets: Jamal Murray (GTD – Knee); Zeke Nnaji, (GTD – Shoulder)
Magic: Gary Harris, (GTD – groin); Mo Bamba, (OUT – Pendant)
Note: BPI figures include players who are excluded but assume that GTD players will play.

Fantasy streamer: Markell Fultz (participates in 46% of Sportzshala leagues). Fultz still isn’t an outside shooter and probably never will be, but the Orlando point guard has a fantastic 40 in two of his five games and his minutes and shots seem safe at this point. Denver’s Jamal Murray is in question with a knee injury, but even if he plays, Fultz should show up. — Eric Carabelle

Best bet: Aaron Gordon over 26.5 points + assists + rebounds. I’ll buy the rematch story as Gordon was acquired by the Magic in March 2021. Gordon is averaging 16.9 points, 2.9 assists and 6.7 rebounds this season. Magic ranks 18th in points scored per 100 possessions. Orlando also allows opponents to hit 55.2% of effective field goals. — Eric Moody

Best bet: Michael Porter Jr. will score over 17.5 points.. Porter has been a top scorer lately, thanks especially to Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray, who take turns missing games. Porter has averaged 20.6 points per game in his last seven games, averaging over 17.5 points in five of those seven, including the last three games in a row. — Andre Snellings

Phoenix Suns – Atlanta Hawks.
7:30 pm ET, State Farm Arena, Atlanta, Georgia

Records (against spread)

Suns: 30-26 (30-26-0)
Hawks: 27-28 (24-29-2)

Line: Hawks (-7)
Performance Index Forecast: Hawks: 122.3–113.9
Money line: Sans (+222), Hawks (-278)
Predicted BPI Winner: Hawks (77.6%)
General: 228.5 Predicted BPI: 236.2

Injury Report:

Suns: Devin Booker (EXIT – groin); TJ Warren, (OUT – injury not related); Cameron Payne (EXIT – Foot); Kevin Durant (EXIT – Knee); Landry Chamet, (OUT – Leg)
Hawks: not reported
Note: BPI figures include players who are excluded but assume that GTD players will play.

Fantasy Streamer: Damion Lee (available in 99.0% of leagues) the default might be a big Thursday night. With Devin Booker joining Cameron Payne and Landry Chamet on the sidelines and newly acquired Kevin Durant and T.J. Warren not yet on the team to replace their traded frontcourt, the Suns will be incredibly weak on Thursday. They’ll need a perimeter scorer alongside Chris Paul, and Lee could fill that role. Lee has scored at least 15 points in three of his four starts this season, and had six games in January in which he averaged 17.3 ppg, 4.0 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 2.5 triple point at 29.8 points per game. — Snellings

Best bet: Trae Young over 9.5 assists. Young is averaging 10 assists per season and he has reached double figures in six of his seven games, including 16 in his most recent competition. The Suns will be short of players in this game after the big Kevin Durant trade, but that shouldn’t stop Young from passing. — Karabel

Best Bet: Bogdan Bogdanovich Over 2.5 3-Point Field Goals. On Thursday, I am attracted to this bet with a plus. Bogdanovich would benefit from the Suns losing to the Hawks. He’s averaged 2.8 triples per game this season. — Moody

Best bet: Chris Paul over 26.5 points + assists. Over the past five games, Paul’s points and assists have fluctuated like a pendulum. That being said, he has a good chance of doing well against the Hawks, who are ranked 20th in points per 100 possessions. With Cameron Johnson and Kevin Durant unlikely to play this game after the blockbuster swap, Paul should see widespread use. — Moody

Trend: The Atlanta Hawks are at their most comfortable when the scoreboard lights up, and that doesn’t change compared to the slower teams: Overs are 10-7 when they face bottom-ten opponents. That’s good news for the Phoenix Suns… they’re 17-9 ATS points this season when they play a game that’s over the top. — Soups

Chicago Bulls to Brooklyn Nets
7:30 pm ET, Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York

Records (against spread)

Bulls: 26-28 (30-24-0)
Networks: 32-22 (29-25-0)

Line: Networks (-1)
Performance Index Forecast: Networks: 122.3-114.1
Money line: Bulls (-105), Nets (-115)
Predicted BPI Winner: Networks (62.5%)
General: 228 Predicted BPI: 231.6

Injury Report:

Bulls: Alex Caruso (GTD – Foot); DeMar DeRozan (GTD – Hip); Patrick Williams (GTD – Ankle); Javonte Green (CARE – Knee); Lonzo Ball (EXIT – Knee)
Nets: Dai’Ron Sharp (GTD – Foot); Yuta Watanabe (GTD – Back); Cameron Johnson (OUT – not due to injury); Jae Crowder (out, not related to injury); Mikal Bridges (KILLED – not linked to injury); Seth Curry (OUTSIDE – Thigh)
Note: BPI figures include players who are excluded but assume that GTD players will play.

Fantasy streamer: Cam Thomas (available in 50.2% of leagues) for obvious reasons, quickly became one of the most popular players in the game. It’s like cheating when he’s in that space after he’s scored 40+ points in three games in a row, but he’s still available in just over half the leagues, so if he’s in your league, make sure you included it in the list as soon as possible. — Snellings

Best bet: Nikola Vucevic over 20.5 points. The Chicago center has averaged 20 points in five of six games and has averaged 21 points per game since early January. Brooklyn has a bunch of new players, but center Nick Claxton remains at the time of this writing, but his presence shouldn’t stop Vucevic, who also made multiple 3-pointers in four of six games, from scoring 21 points. — Eric Karabell

Trend: How exactly the new kind of Brooklyn Nets work remains to be determined, but bookmakers have underestimated their ability at home lately (they have covered eight of the last 11). The Chicago Bulls are only 9-12-1 on the ATS in games with a three-point or less spread this season, so while the public is likely to be on starless networks (barring February’s Cam Thomas), it could be interesting point of purchase.– Soups

Milwaukee Bucks to Los Angeles Lakers
10:00 pm ET, Arena, Los Angeles, CA

Records (against spread)

Bucks: 37-17 (29-22-3)
Lakers: 25-30 (24-29-2)

Line: Bucks (-6)
Performance Index Forecast: Lakers (119.8-119.7)
Money line: Bucks (-250), Lakers (+205)
Predicted BPI Winner: Lakers (50.4%)
General: 240 points Predicted BPI: 239.5 points

Injury Report:

Bucks: Brooke Lopez, (GTD – Disease); Giannis Antetokounmpo, (GTD – Knee); Bobby Portis (EXIT – Knee); Joe Ingles (CARE – Recreation); Serge Ibaka, (OUT – Personal)
Lakers: Anthony Davis (GTD – ft.) D’Angelo Russell (GTD – Personal); Jarred Vanderbilt (GTD – Back); LeBron James (GTD – Ankle); Malik Beasley (KILLED, not linked to injury)
Note: BPI figures include players who are excluded but assume that GTD players will play.

Best bet: Giannis Antetokounpo over 47.5 points + rebounds. Antetokounmpo averaged 39.7 points and 15.0 rebounds in his last six games, and his total points and rebounds were under 47.5 in one of those games. At the moment, he will face the Lakers in the midst of a lot of chaos, from LeBron breaking a scoring record to a major trade with several key players listed on the injury report. I expect another huge effort from Giannis Thursday night. — Snellings

Trend: The Lakers are a popular team, so whenever they get a bunch of points, it deserves attention. They’re 5-10-1 ATS this season, scoring over six cash-in points in nine of those games. Did someone say glasses? Over 11-6 with the Milwaukee Bucks winning by more than six points this season…we don’t…


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