Fantasy basketball tips and NBA betting picks for Thursday

ESPN’s fantasy basketball and basketball betting tips cheat sheet is your pregame destination for basketball betting predictions and our best intel and data to help you make smart fantasy and wagering decisions. NBA game odds for November 3 are provided by Caesars Sportsbook, and fantasy advice is based on ESPN 10-team leagues.

What you need to know for Thursday’s games

Tracking The Spread: The Warriors are going to be heavy favorites in Orlando no matter what, but that magic number of 8 seems to hold value. Since the beginning of last season, when favored by at least eight points, Warrior games go under 60.7% of the time and 48.8% in all other instances.

Eyeing OKC: During this two-plus year run of dominance from Nikola Jokic, the Nuggets are just 23-26 ATS as road favorites. Not even Thunder fans are looking into playoff tickets at the moment, but their hot start includes an impressive 6-1 mark ATS with three outright wins as an underdog.

Banking on Bol: Prior to this past Sunday, Orlando’s Bol Bol had never recorded a double-double in the NBA, and yet has already produced two this week. Available in free agency in nearly 70% of ESPN leagues, Bol has earned a sizable role in Orlando’s oversized rotation. The key stat driving Bol’s fantasy profile is his league-leading block percentage of 11.1%, which means he’s blocking roughly one out of every nine of an opponents’ two-point field goal attempts while on the floor. That’s just absurd, but he’s merely carrying on his father’s defensive legacy of him. On a light two-game slate, acquiring and streaming Bol is a winning move, as is targeting him in DFS and for double-double and defensive props in a matchup with the road-weary Warriors.

Pok√©mon Party: The Thunder have been giving Aleksej Pokusevski (94% available) more opportunities in recent games and the young Serbian forward has responded with some big lines. “Poku” has swatted five shots across his last two appearances and has scored at least 15 points in two of the last three. The floor is pretty low for Pokusevski, but with Denver’s struggling defense (25th in defensive rating) and this recent uptick in playing time, he’s one of the strongest streaming candidates of the slate.

Streaming Suggestions: Just a few weeks into the season, Orlando has already dealt with a wave of injuries to its backcourt. The good news is that Jalen Suggs (45% available) returned to action a few nights ago against Oklahoma City and delivered strong defensive rates. He struggled to find his shot from him, but it’s encouraging that Suggs lofted nine 3-pointers in the process. Terrence Ross left that game after just four minutes of action due to a knee injury, which could signal another robust shot diet for Suggs this evening.

— Jim McCormick and Kyle Soppe

games of the night

Golden State Warriors at Orlando Magic
7 p.m. ET, Amway Center, Orlando, Fla.

Line: Warriors (-8.5)
moneyline: Warriors (-355), Magic (+278)
Total: 226 points
BPI Projected Total: 231.4 points
BPI Win%: Warriors (76.4%)

questionable: Terrence Ross (knee)
Ruled Out: Moritz Wagner (foot), Gary Harris (knee)
Note: BPI numbers factored in players who are ruled out but assumes questionable players will play

Best bet: Franz Wagner over 26.5 points + assists + rebounds. The Warriors aren’t off to the best start defensively this season. Golden State ranks 22nd in points allowed per 100 possessions. One player who can exploit their defensive weaknesses is Wagner. He’s averaged 15.8 PPG, 4.4 APG and 4.0 RPG in 33.9 MPG this season. Wagner has had at least four assists in five straight games. Against the Warriors, he will also have additional motivation. Jonathan Kuminga was selected seventh overall by Golden State. Guess who the Magic picked with the eighth pick? Wagner. –Eric Moody

Fantasy streamer: James Wiseman (available in 74.2% of leagues) has only played played 9.0 MPG in his last three games, all Warriors losses, but he had averaged almost twice as many minutes in the five games before that. There could be an element of the Warriors playing their young center more in games that are winnable. If so, Thursday shapes up as a game when Wiseman could get more time on the court. In those first five games, I averaged 11.0 PPG and 5.4 RPG in 17.0 MPG. — Andre Snellings

Best bet: Klay Thompson over 17.5 points. Thompson has started this season slowly, playing on a minute restriction as he continues to work his way back from his two catastrophic leg injuries. However, in the last week his minute restriction has lifted and he’s played at least 29 minutes in his last three games. He scored 19 points in two of those three, including his most recent game on Tuesday. Thompson has yet to score 20 points in a game yet this season, but the time feels right for him to reach that plateau as soon as Thursday night. –Snellings

Denver Nuggets at Oklahoma City Thunder
8 p.m. ET, Paycom Center, Oklahoma City, Okla.

Line: Nuggets (-6)
moneyline: Nuggets (-225), Thunder (+185)
Total: 229.0 points
BPI Projected Total: 224.3 points
BPI Win%: Nuggets (69.2%)

questionable: Bones Hyland (hip), Ish Smith (calf)
Note: BPI numbers factored in players who are ruled out but assumes questionable players will play

Best bet: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander over 37.5 points + assists + rebounds. The Thunder are trying to win their fourth straight at home and Gilgeous-Alexander is playing well right now, so I think they have a good chance tonight. He has averaged 31.5 PPG, 6.8 APG and 4.8 RPG so far this season. Oklahoma City is 4-0 record ATS and a 4-0 when giving up fewer than 114.1 points. The Thunder also aren’t slouches on the defensive end ranking fifth in points allowed per 100 possessions. — Moody

Fantasy streamer: Luguentz Dort (available in 69.2% of leagues) has scored at least 14 points in three straight games, averaging 17.0 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 2.7 APG, 1.7 SPG and 1.7 3PG in 35.3 MPG during that stretch. He’s a big minute player for the Thunder, and has plenty of opportunity to produce fantasy-worthy numbers on a nightly basis. — snellings

Best bet: Nikola Jokic over 47.5 total points + assists + rebounds; Jokic Triple Double (+202). The Thunder are small in the middle, with young, converted forwards Jeremiah Robinson-Earl and Aleksej Pokusevski at the top of the center depth chart and 6-3 wing Luguentz Dort at the top of the power forward depth chart. Unsurprisingly, the Thunder struggle against opposing centers, among the bottom-7 in the NBA in each of points, rebounds and assists allowed to position. Jokic is too big and too talented for the Thunder to even hope to slow, and if they are able to keep the game competitive enough for Jokic to play the whole game it just increases the odds that he puts big numbers on the board. –Snellings

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