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Fantasy basketball tips and NBA betting picks for Tuesday

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 December 6th are provided by Caesars Sportsbook, and fantasy advice is based on ESPN 10-team leagues.


What you need to know for Tuesday's games

Money Off the Mavs: The Mavericks have yet to cover a spread this season when on the second night of a back-to-back and are just 1-5-1 ATS in their past seven such spots dating back to last season (overs are 6-1 over that stretch).

​​​Hot Hand Hardaway: Speaking of the Mavericks, maybe there is some money to be made investing in Tim Hardaway Jr. amid a hot stretch, as the scoring guard has averaged 23.3 points during his last four games, all starts. One of the best values of the three-game slate at just $4,400 on DraftKings, Hardaway Jr. is likely to play around 30 minutes with freedom to shoot from beyond against a Denver team that ranks 26th in defensive rating.

​​​The Lake Show Is Back: The Lakers have covered 10 times this season and in eight of those games, over tickets have cashed. This offense has found it's groove in December: Anthony Davis has 99 points in 78 minutes this month while Russell Westbrook has handed out 26 assists in his 58 minutes.

​​​Boring Payday: The data shows that the public loves betting favorites and overs. That's not just a basketball thing, that's across all sports. Fade the public's desire in this Miami/Detroit game tonight: the Heat are 4-8-2 ATS when favored this season with five outright losses while unders are 6-3 when the Pistons play a team that plays at a below average pace.

​​​Backcourt Buys: Don't worry about the fact Bruce Brown averages just 11.2 points for Denver, as he's one of the more versatile glue guys in the league in that he's capable of strong rebounding, defensive, and passing production. With Michael Porter Jr. ruled out and with Brown rostered in just a quarter of ESPN leagues, Brown is a strong streaming option ahead of this matchup with Dallas. For Detroit, Cade Cunningham remains out, which means another start for Killian Hayes as the primary point guard for the Pistons. In this role, Hayes (76% available) has averaged 15.3 points and 6.7 dimes during the past week and should play an important role setting the table against Miami tonight.

-- Jim McCormick and Kyle Soppe


Games of the night

Los Angeles Lakers at Cleveland Cavaliers
7:30 p.m. ET, Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, Cleveland, Ohio

Line: Cavaliers (-4.5)
Money line: Cavaliers (-190), Lakers (+158)
Total: 226 points
BPI Projected Total: 232.1 points
BPI Win%: Cavaliers (76%)

Questionable: LeBron James, Anthony Davis
Ruled Out: Jarrett Allen, Dean Wade, Wenyen Gabriel
Note: BPI numbers factored in players who are ruled out but assumes questionable players will play

Best bet: Anthony Davis over 27.5 points Davis is on an historic run lately, not only scoring 99 points over his past two contests, but also reaching 27 points in seven of nine games. He's scored more than 50 fantasy points in 10 consecutive games. The Cavaliers defend well with their twin towers, but Jarrett Allen has missed five consecutive games with a back contusion and may not play. -- Eric Karabell

Best bet: Donovan Mitchell over 26.5 points. Mitchell and the Cavaliers lost to the Knicks on Sunday, which is bad news. The good news is that Mitchell faces a Lakers team that ranks 17th in points allowed per 100 possessions. This season, he averages 28.4 points per game. In this game, the Cavaliers should bounce back nicely. -- Eric Moody

Fantasy streamer: Lonnie Walker IV (rostered in 29.2% of ESPN leagues) has scored 20 or more fantasy points in three of his last four games. With a usage rate of 19.6%, he averages 31.2 MPG this season. Walker IV doesn't have the highest ceiling playing alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis but does provide fantasy managers with a decent floor. -- Moody

Detroit Pistons at Miami Heat
7:30 p.m. ET, FTX Arena, Miami, Florida

Line: Heat (-8.5)
Money line: Heat (-355), Pistons (+278)
Total: 221 points
BPI Projected Total: 226.7 points
BPI Win%: Heat (79.5%)

Ruled Out: Isaiah Livers, Cade Cunningham
Note: BPI numbers factored in players who are ruled out but assumes questionable players will play

Fantasy streamer: Killian Hayes, Pistons (23.5% rostered in ESPN leagues). We keep recommending Hayes because he continues to improve and produce fantasy points. Hayes has topped 30 fantasy points in five consecutive games, as he continues to improve his outside shot and pile on the assists. There's no sign of Cade Cunningham returning anytime soon. Add Hayes before someone else does. -- Karabell

Best bet: Bam Adebayo over 29.5 points + rebounds. Adebayo only had 15 points and five rebounds against the Grizzlies on Monday night but has played well in the previous four games. Adebayo averaged 30.3 PPG and 8.5 RPG over that time frame. He's in a better position to bounce back against a Pistons team that ranks 29th in points allowed per 100 possessions. -- Moody

Dallas Mavericks at Denver Nuggets
10 p.m. ET, Ball Arena, Denver, Colorado

Line: Nuggets (-4.5)
Money line: Nuggets (-190), Mavericks (+158)
Total: 222.5 points
BPI Projected Total: 230.9 points
BPI Win%: Nuggets (56.3%)

Questionable: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
Ruled Out: Michael Porter Jr., Jeff Green, Collin Gillespie
Note: BPI numbers factored in players who are ruled out but assumes questionable players will play

Best bet: Nikola Jokic over 11.5 rebounds. The Mavericks have done a very good job of limiting opposing centers' rebounds this season. Jokic isn't your typical NBA center, however. In three of his last five games, he has surpassed 11.5 rebounds. This prop should be considered by bettors at plus odds. -- Moody

Best bet: Luka Doncic over 47.5 points + assists + rebounds. There is no doubt that Doncic is capable of taking over a game all by himself, and the Nuggets rank 27th in points allowed per 100 possessions. The stage is set for Doncic to have another epic performance. In three of his last five games, he has reached 47 PAR or more. -- Moody

Best bet: Tim Hardaway Jr. over 15.5 points. Hardaway entered the starting lineup five games ago and has scored 22 or more points in three of the past four, while draining five or more 3-pointers in those games. Hardaway wasn't doing much off the bench, but 19.8 PPG, 3.8 RPG and 5.2 3PG works for fantasy managers, and with no end in sight to how many open shots he's getting, fantasy managers should act. -- Karabell