Fantasy basketball tips and betting picks for Wednesday

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. Odds for NBA games on Feb. 15 are provided by Caesars Sportsbook and fantasy tips are based on Sportzshala’s 10-team leagues.

What you need to know about games on Wednesday

Going to the top was a strategy that Sam Hinkie made infamous, but has since been adopted by teams like the Houston Rockets, Oklahoma City Thunder, and San Antonio Spurs, to name a few. Sending has always been simpler than the actual process; losing games on the way to accumulating increased chances of entering the lottery and attracting young talent.

The Spurs moved several veterans to the deadline, which secured more minutes and boosted the fantasy influence of Zach Collins (92% available in Sportzshala leagues) and Devonte Graham (92%). Just three games ago, Collins set a new career high in scoring and has amassed 10 dimes and five combined blocks and steals in two games since. Graham, meanwhile, has hit an incredible 31 threes in three games for San Antonio since he was traded from the New Orleans Pelicans. Both stand out as valuables for tonight’s game against the Charlotte Hornets.

Even teams as unintentionally bad as those Hornets are experiencing an influx of young talent like PJ Washington, who is a free agent in nearly 30% of the leagues despite averaging 20.3 points last week with outstanding protection indicators. Top rookie player Mark Williams (90% availability) is no longer behind Mason Plumley and has several blocks in four of his last five games. The Rockets will take on the Thunder this evening in a game that sees Kenyon Martin Jr. (84% available) build on his recent streak of strong fantasy fiction.

Fantasy managers should still invest in these lineups as they are built, especially with how many minutes and touches such teams can afford to surprise players.

— Jim McCormick

Games of the night

Cleveland Cavaliers at the Philadelphia 76ers
7:30 pm ET, Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA.

Records (against spread)

Cavaliers: 38-22 (32-26-2)
76ers: 37-19 (31-24-1)

Line: 76ers (-2)
Performance Index Forecast: Cavaliers (118-115.6)
Money line: Cavaliers (+105), 76ers (-125)
Predicted BPI Winner: Cavaliers (52.3%)
General: 216.5 points Predicted BPI: 231.8 points

Injury Report:

Cavaliers: not reported
76ers: Duane Dedmon (GTD – non-injury related); Joel Embiid (GTD – Foot); PJ Tucker, (GTD – calf); Furkan Korkmaz, (OUT – Personal)
Note: BPI figures include players who are excluded but assume that GTD players will play.

Trend: The Cavaliers don’t often turn out to be underdogs, but when they do, the bookies are right. With the Cavs covering two of their first three games as “dogs” this season, they only have 2-6 ATS in places like this as it’s a tough trend to take a lower total game against the Philadelphia 76ers, a team that has 12-7 ATS with overweight less than 220 points. Speaking of totals, eight of those 12 76er covers won more tickets. — Kyle Soppe

New Orleans Pelicans – Los Angeles Lakers.
10:00 pm ET, Arena, Los Angeles, CA

Records (against spread)

Pelicans: 30-28 (28-29-1)
Lakers: 26-32 (25-31-2)

Line: Lakers (-3.5)
Performance Index Forecast: Lakers (124-117.5)
Money line: Pelicans (+140), Lakers (-165)
Predicted BPI Winner: Lakers (60%)
General: 234.5 points Predicted BPI: 237.8 points

Injury Report:

Pelicans: CJ McCollum (GTD – Ankle); Dyson Daniels, (OUT – Ankle); Zion Williamson (REDACTED – Hamstring); E. J. Liddell (EXIT – Knee)
Lakers: Anthony Davis (GTD – ft.) LeBron James (GTD – Ankle)
Note: BPI figures include players who are excluded but assume that GTD players will play.

Fantasy Streamer: Lakers 4. The Lakers have yet to play a game with their new roster as LeBron James has not played since breaking the scoring record last week and has yet to play with his recently traded teammates. But despite the decision being made during the game, LeBron said on Monday that he expects to return to play today, and with Anthony Davis also listed as likely, we could see the full roster tonight. The “new” Lakers with three-point snipers surrounding LeBron and A.D. should be able to handle a Pelicans team that doesn’t have Zion Williamson and possibly CJ McCollum (GTD, ankle) in Game 2 contract. — Andre Snellings

Breaking down the rest of the environment list

San Antonio Spurs – Charlotte Hornets.
7:00 pm ET, Spectrum Center, Charlotte, NC.

Records (against spread)

Spurs: 14-44 (24-34-0)
Hornets: 16-43 (24-33-2)

Line: Hornets (-7)
Performance Index Forecast: Hornets (128.3-121)
Money line: Spurs (+222), Hornets (-278)
Predicted BPI Winner: Hornets (74%)
General: 241.5 points Predicted BPI: 249.3 points

Injury Report:

Spurs: Doug McDermott (GTD – Achilles) Devin Wassel (WAY – Knee); Isaiah Robie, (OUTSIDE – Ankle); Khem birch, (CARE – Knee); Romeo Langford, (OUT – Thigh); Tre Jones, (OUT – Foot)
Hornets: Kai Jones, (GTD – Ankle); Cody Martin (EXIT – Knee); Kelly Obre, Jr. (OUT – Hand); Reggie Jackson (GTD – non-injury related)
Note: BPI figures include players who are excluded but assume that GTD players will play.

Fantasy streamer: Malachi Branham (claimed in 2.8% of Sportzshala leagues) scored 18 points, two steals and two 3-pointers in his last game, hit double figures in six of seven games in February and is averaging 17.4 points, 3.6 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 0.7 steals and 2.3 three-pointers on 49 percent shooting this month. Over the past couple of weeks, he has returned fantasy value in round 10 and can be locked and loaded the rest of the way for tanking spurs. — Steve Alexander

Fantasy streamer: Zach Collins (played in 7.3% of Sportzshala leagues) is now the Spurs’ starting center, and while he certainly didn’t blow up after his first start on Friday with 29 points and 11 rebounds, he managed to stay relevant, especially after hitting 10 rebounds. 10 assists, two 3-pointers and three steals in the last two games. He has averaged 16.3 points, 7.0 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 3.3 steals and 1.0 threes since Jacob Poeltle joined the Raptors. Collins is worth adding if you need a center. — Alexander

Fantasy streamer: Mark Williams (played in 9.3% of Sportzshala leagues) is now the starting center for the Hornets and had 15 points, five rebounds, two steals and two blocks in Monday’s goal-scoring victory over the Hawks. He is averaging 10.7 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.7 blocks while shooting clean in his three starts since the trade deadline. In the end, he’ll have a breakout game and the Spurs will lose to their rival centers, who have averaged 25.5 points and nearly 16 rebounds against them this season. — Alexander

Best bet: Lamelo Ball over 9.5 assists. Ball has moved into a distributor role lately, averaging 12.3 assists with three consecutive points and double-doubles over the past week. He’s up against a Spurs team that is particularly friendly to opposing point guards, allowing him to rank sixth in scoring in the NBA against opposing PGs. — Snellings

Trend: Check out today’s betting board and you’ll see two predicted total points: the San Antonio Spurs vs. the Charlotte Hornets and the Utah Jazz vs. the Memphis Grizzlies. Both totals are well over 235 and this has been a good spot for the favorites lately and throughout the season. The favorites in these games covered 12 of the last 19, while the under-tickets made money 60.5% of the time in high total games like this one in a season.– Kyle Soppe

Chicago Bulls – Indiana Pacers
7:00 pm ET, Gainbridge Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN.

Records (against spread)

Bulls: 26-31 (30-27-0)
Pacers: 25-34 (30-29-0)

Line: Pacers (-2.5)
Performance Index Forecast: Pacers (128.3-116.5)
Money line: Bulls (+118), Pacers (-140)
Predicted BPI Winner: Pacers (55.3%)
General: 231.5 points Predicted BPI: 234.5 points

Injury Report:

Bulls: Alex Caruso (GTD – Foot); Goran Dragic, (GTD – Knee); DeMar DeRozan, (OUT – Thigh); Derrick Jones Jr. (CARE – groin); Javonte Green (CARE – Knee); Lonzo Ball (EXIT – Knee)
Pacers: Daniel Theis (GTD – Thumb); Miles Turner (GTD – Back)
Note: BPI figures include players who are excluded but assume that GTD players will play.

Best bet: Zach LaVine over 27.5 points. DeMar DeRozan is out today with a hip injury, and LaVine’s utilization rate skyrockets to 32.3 with DeRozan in streetwear. In his four games without DeRozan this season, LaVine is averaging 28.5 points, but only averaging 23.5 points when both of them are on the court together. It’s tough, but today LaVine can earn 30 points. Especially when you consider that the Pacers are trailing the second-highest-scoring shooting guard in the entire league. LaVine had 28 points against the Pacers in their first meeting but struggled with a recent loss in their second meeting. Look for him to make up for it tonight. — Alexander

New York Knicks – Atlanta Hawks.
7:30 pm ET, State Farm Arena, Atlanta, Georgia

Records (against spread)

Knicks: 32-27 (31-27-1)
Hawks: 29-29 (26-30-2)

Line: Hawks (-3)
Performance Index Forecast: Nix: 120.5-120.4
Money line: Knicks (+130), Hawks (-155)
Predicted BPI Winner: Nix (50.4%)
General: 233.5 points Predicted BPI: 240.9 points

Injury Report:

Knicks: Mitchell Robinson, (OUT – Thumb)
Hawks: De’Andre Hunter (GTD – ankle); John Collins (GTD – Hip)
Note: BPI figures include players who are excluded but assume that GTD players will play.

Best bet: Jalen Brunson over 26.5 points. This is a case of two worlds colliding in Atlanta. First, Brunson has scored 40, 38 and 30 points in each of his last three games, has scored at least 30 points in five of his last seven games and is averaging 32.5 points in February. The Hawks defense lost 144 points to the Hornets on Monday, who beat Atlanta for the third time this season. Lamelo Ball looked like he…


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