25 Feb

2024 NBA picks, Feb. 23 best bets from proven model

The Philadelphia 76ers (32-23) will host the Cleveland Cavaliers (36-18) in an affair on Friday evening. Cleveland is currently second in the Eastern Conference, while Philadelphia is fifth in the conference standings. This is the third matchup of the campaign between these foes after they split the first two contests. Joel Embiid (knee) and Kyle Lowry (reconditioning) are out for the Sixers, while Donovan Mitchell (illness) is questionable for the Cavs.

Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. Cleveland is a 5.5-point favorite in the latest Cavaliers vs. 76ers odds via SportsLine consensus. The over/under for total points is 229.5. Before making any 76ers vs. Cavaliers picks, be sure to see the NBA predictions from SportsLine’s proven model.

The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every NBA game 10,000 times and has returned well over $10,000 in profit for $100 players on its top-rated NBA picks over the past five-plus seasons. The model enters Week 18 of the 2023-24 NBA season on a sizzling 60-36 roll on all top-rated NBA picks this season, returning nearly $2,300. Anyone following it has seen huge returns.

Now, the model has set its sights on Cavs vs. Sixers. You can head to SportsLine now to see its picks. Here are several NBA betting lines and trends for Sixers vs. Cavs:

Cavaliers vs. 76ers spread: Cleveland -5.5
Cavaliers vs. 76ers over/under: 229.5 points
Cavaliers vs. 76ers money line: Cleveland -214, Philadelphia +176
PHI: Sixers are 31-23 ATS this season
CLE: Cavaliers are 14-10 ATS on the road this season
Cavaliers vs. 76ers picks: See picks at SportsLine
Why the 76ers can cover
Guard Tyrese Maxey is an athletic threat in the backcourt. Maxey thrives in the pick-and-roll as a scorer and facilitator. The 23-year-old is averaging 25.7 points and 6.4 assists per game. He also shoots 37% from downtown and 85% from the free-throw line. In Wednesday’s game versus the Knicks, Maxey dropped 35 points and five assists.

Guard Buddy Hield was recently acquired from the Indiana Pacers and he gives the Sixers another threat on the perimeter who excels as a catch-and-shoot option. The Oklahoma product is averaging 22.3 points, four rebounds and 7.5 assists in four games with the 76ers. On Feb. 14 against the Heat, Hield finished with 22 points, 10 assists and made five threes. See who to back at SportsLine.

Why the Cavaliers can cover
Guard Darius Garland is a smooth offensive weapon who possesses a quick release on his jumpers and will knock down shots on the perimeter. The Vanderbilt product logs 18.2 points and 5.9 assists per game. He’s dished out at least seven assists in four straight games. In the Feb. 12 game against the 76ers, Garland dropped 21 points and nine assists.

Center Jarrett Allen is a terrific two-way presence on the floor. Allen’s length disturbs shooting lanes and helps him be an effective shot blocker. The Texas product can rack up easy looks in the lane. Allen is eighth in the NBA in rebounds (10.6) and fifth in field-goal percentage (64%). He’s also notched five straight double-doubles. See who to back at SportsLine.

How to make Cavaliers vs. 76ers picks
SportsLine’s model is leaning Under on the total, projecting the teams to combine for 226 points. The model also says one side hits in well over 50% of simulations. You can only see the picks at SportsLine.

25 Feb

Back Anthony Edwards under 27.5 points

After easily dispatching a Lakers team, sans LeBron James, last night, Steph Curry and the Warriors get a much less potent opponent on Friday. They host the Hornets, and Curry figures to factor into lots of player props against his hometown team. For his career versus any team, the two-time MVP has averaged his fifth-most points (26.7) and fourth-most assists (7.1) against Charlotte. Curry has an NBA props total for points at 28.5 for tonight, while his NBA props line for assists is at 6.5.

Curry has hit the Over on both of those totals in just six games this season. However, his dad, Dell, works for the Hornets, and his brother, Seth Curry, was just traded to Charlotte, so Steph Curry may want to put on a show in front of his family. Should you combine player props for Curry’s points and assists into an NBA parlay for Friday? Before making any NBA prop picks on sites like PrizePicks for Friday, be sure to check out the NBA predictions and betting advice from SportsLine’s proven computer model.

The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every NBA game 10,000 times and has returned well over $10,000 in profit for $100 players on its top-rated NBA picks over the past five-plus seasons. The model enters Week 18 of the 2023-24 NBA season on a sizzling 60-36 roll on all top-rated NBA picks this season, returning nearly $2,300. Anyone following it has seen huge returns.

For Friday’s NBA schedule, the model has locked in its NBA best bets. You can only see the model’s NBA prop picks at SportsLine.

Top NBA prop bet for Friday
After simulating every game on Friday’s NBA schedule 10,000 times, the model is picking Under 27.5 points for Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards at -115 odds. Minnesota takes on Milwaukee, and this will be the Wolves’ first game out of the All-Star break. Edwards has a trend of putting out somewhat underwhelming performances when coming off long breaks as he’s gone Under 27.5 points in all four of his games this season coming off a rest of at least three days. That trend isn’t just reserved for this season, as for his career, his scoring average of 21.3 points per game with three-plus days of rest is lower than after any other rest interval.

Edwards is averaging just 20.1 points over his last eight home games, and the Target Center will play host tonight. He actually has more games with single-digit points (three) over this stretch than he has games with 30-plus points (two). Add in that he’s scored under 27.5 points in six of seven career games versus the Bucks, and the model comfortably backs the Under in this matchup. You can see which other NBA picks to back here.

All NBA prop bets for Friday
See Raptors vs. Hawks props here
See 76ers vs. Cavaliers props here
See Suns vs. Rockets props here
See Thunder vs. Wizards props here
See Clippers vs. Grizzlies props here
See Heat vs. Pelicans props here
See Bucks vs. Timberwolves props here
See Warriors vs. Hornets props here
See Nuggets vs. Trail Blazers props here
See Lakers vs. Spurs props here

How to make NBA prop picks for Friday
The model has simulated every NBA game 10,000 times and has some surprising projections for Friday’s schedule. You can only see the model’s NBA best bets and SGP picks at SportsLine.

25 Feb

Bulls’ Patrick Williams, former NBA Draft top-five pick, to undergo season-ending foot surgery

The Chicago Bulls will be without Patrick Williams for the remainder of the season, as the fourth-year forward is expected to undergo season-ending surgery on his left foot to repair a stress reaction. The Bulls announced Friday afternoon that while Williams underwent routine imaging on what was initially announced as bone edema, the injury worsened into a stress reaction, which will result in surgery.

It’s a significant blow for Williams and the Bulls, who have dealt with injuries to key players throughout this season. Most recently, Zach LaVine also underwent season-ending surgery on his right foot in early February. That’s in addition to also being without Lonzo Ball for almost two seasons now with a knee injury.

While the Bulls have struggled to field a fully healthy team for two seasons now, this stings more for Williams who was in the midst of a contract year. He’s playing on the final year of his rookie contract, and will become a restricted free agent this summer. Being a restricted free agent allows the Bulls to match any offer sheet Williams gets from an opposing team in free agency, but given this injury, and the pedestrian stats he’s posted through four seasons, it’s unlikely that he’ll command a ton of attention. He’s struggled to be aggressive on offense, though his defensive value is a positive for Chicago.

Through 43 games this season, Williams averaged 10 points and 3.9 rebounds, while shooting 44.3% from the field and 39.9% from deep.

For Chicago, the impact this has on the current season isn’t too significant, given that the Bulls have been playing without Williams for some time now. Losing him is unfortunate for Chicago, especially on the defensive end, where he’s shown flashes of being a stout defender. As the Bulls continue to hunt for a playoff spot, not having Williams in the rotation going forward means Chicago will be a little light with its depth through the home stretch of the season.

24 Jan

Heat land high-scoring guard from Hornets for Kyle Lowry, first-round pick, per report

The Charlotte Hornets are going to be sellers at 2024 NBA trade deadline, and they made their first move on Tuesday. The Hornets are sending Terry Rozier to the Miami Heat in exchange for Kyle Lowry and a 2027 first-round pick, according to Adrian Wojnarowski. The pick is lottery protected in 2027 and unprotected if it conveys to 2028, per Wojnarowski.

Rozier is averaging career highs in points (23.2) and assists (6.6) this year and had to carry a heavier load when LaMelo Ball missed a lengthy spell with an ankle injury. Now he’ll get a chance to form a new backcourt duo alongside Tyler Herro in Miami. Rozier has spent nine seasons in the NBA (four in Boston, five in Charlotte) and is ninth in the league in 3-pointers made since the start of the 2019-20 season.

The Heat (24-19, sixth in the East) have been in the market for a new point guard for a while. Their pursuit of Damian Lillard was unsuccessful over the offseason and Lowry’s decline has left them longing for more backcourt production. Now they’ll bring in the 29-year-old Rozier who’s quietly having his best season yet.

Rozier’s four-year, $97 million contract is set to expire in 2026, while Lowry — who is making more than $29 million this season — is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. The Hornets have no immediate buyout plans for him and are expected to look for a suitable trade partner for Lowry before the Feb. 8 trade deadline, according to Wojnarowski. But if Lowry is not part of another deal in the next two-plus weeks, he very well could become one of the biggest names on the buyout market.

Lowry, who turns 38 in March, is averaging 8.2 points and 28 minutes per game this season. A six-time All-Star, Lowry came off the bench for the Heat in his last two games after starting in his first 35 appearances this season.

The rebuilding Hornets (10-31, 13th in the East) are expected to be one of the most active trade deadline sellers in the NBA. Charlotte could also move veterans like Gordon Hayward, Miles Bridges, PJ Washington and Cody Martin. Hayward is averaging 14.5 points per game, but his hefty expiring contract ($31.5 million) could make him difficult to trade.

24 Jan

Cavaliers’ Tristan Thompson suspended 25 games by NBA after testing positive for banned substances

The NBA announced Tuesday that Cleveland Cavaliers forward Tristan Thompson has received a 25-game suspension for violating the NBA’s anti-drug program. He tested positive for ibutamoren and SARM LGD-4033, per the NBA’s release. Thompson will not be paid during his suspension.

The following was released by the NBA: pic.twitter.com/oqNXP7Zvak

— NBA Communications (@NBAPR) January 23, 2024
Ibutamoren and SARM LGD-4033 are banned substances that artificially raise HGH levels and improve strength, per Rachel Nichols.

Thompson, a 32-year-old veteran in his second stint with the Cavs, has provided valuable backup center minutes for them this season. Evan Mobley hasn’t played in over a month due to a knee injury that required surgery and is ramping up his training to return to the hardwood. Thompson has helped stabilize Cleveland’s rotation with five points and five rebounds per game since Mobley last played on Dec. 6. Now the Cavs will have to look elsewhere for bench production.

Thompson spent the first nine seasons with the Cavaliers and helped them win the franchise’s first and only championship in 2016 alongside LeBron James and Kyrie Irving. Thompson also had stints with the Celtics, Kings, Pacers, Bulls and Lakers before returning to Cleveland at the start of this season.

Damian Jones is the most likely candidate to fill in for Thompson, as Isaiah Mobley has appeared in just three games this season. Cleveland could also look for frontcourt depth on the trade market ahead of the Feb. 8 deadline.

Thompson’s suspension is set to begin immediately. He is set to be eligible to return to the floor on March 16 against the Rockets.

24 Jan

Joel Embiid is MVP if he plays enough, can Celtics win it all?

The 2023-24 NBA season has reached the midway point, which means it’s time to zoom out and take stock of the league. Part of that process is reassessing the award races and making predictions about which team will lift the trophy in June. All of our experts have submitted their ballots, so let’s take a look.

To little surprise, there was a clear leader in the MVP race, with Joel Embiid tabbed to go back-to-back. The Philadelphia 76ers big man — fresh off a jaw-dropping 70-point performance on Monday night — is averaging a league-leading and career-high 36.1 points, 11.6 rebounds, 5.9 assists and 1.9 blocks. As it stands, Embiid’s health looks to be the only thing standing between him and another MVP. He’s on pace to play 62 games, which would fall short of the new 65-game threshold.

Coming into the season, No. 1 overall pick Victor Wembanyama was the runaway Rookie of the Year favorite. That’s changed, as the San Antonio Spurs phenom has been matched by Oklahoma City Thunder center Chet Holmgren, who is now the slight betting favorite. Holmgren also received five of seven votes from our panel.

Defensive Player of the Year was the only award that a player swept. Minnesota Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert has been the centerpiece of the league’s best defense, and our experts fully expect him to take home that trophy for the fourth time in his career.

Off the court, there was much more debate about Coach of the Year than Executive of the Year.

Oklahoma City Thunder head coach Mark Daigneault and Philadelphia 76ers head coach Nick Nurse each received three votes for Coach of the Year, while Chris Finch of the Minnesota Timberwolves picked up one.

Brad Stevens, meanwhile, was the unanimous choice for Executive of the Year after bringing Kristaps Porzingis and Jrue Holiday to Boston for the league-leading Celtics.

Finally, it was time to gaze into the crystal ball and make picks for the Eastern Conference finals, Western Conference finals and NBA Finals.

Every single expert picked the Celtics to win the East, though some thought it would be over the Milwaukee Bucks, while others had them toppling the 76ers. Out West, the Denver Nuggets were the clear favorite, though the Los Angeles Clippers did receive one vote. As for the Finals, the Celtics got five votes, while the defending champion Nuggets received two.

24 Jan

Why Shai Gilgeous-Alexander deserves serious MVP consideration alongside Joel Embiid, Nikola Jokic

Third parties haven’t historically experienced much success in this country. No candidate outside of the two major political parties has won the presidency since the 1800s. No third-party candidate has even won a state since 1968.

Oklahoma City guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, through his phenomenal play this season, is doing his best to flip that third-party narrative.

The 2023-24 MVP race, as it has for the past four seasons, features dominant centers Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid as the hands-down favorites, and with good reason. Nobody in their right mind can sit here and tell you that neither Jokic nor Embiid deserves the award. They’re outstanding, unstoppable, transcendent — choose your most laudatory adjective.

But if you’re not at least including Gilgeous-Alexander in the conversation, you’re leaving out a key component to the MVP equation. Let’s take a look at just a few reasons why.

First off, the sixth-year guard is one of the best and most unique bucket-getters you’ll ever see. He’s averaging over 31 points for the second consecutive year, and he’s largely done it without the aid of the ubiquitous 3-point shot. No guard has averaged over 30 points while making fewer than two 3-pointers per game since Dwyane Wade 15 years ago. Gilgeous-Alexander is doing it for the second straight season. His mastery of the mid-range and finishing ability around the basket continue to baffle defenses.

He gets wherever he wants, whenever he wants — and when he gets there, he shoots 52% on midrange jumpers, the most accurate of any player averaging at least four midrange shots per game, per NBA.com.

If you defend against the jumper, Gilgeous-Alexander uses his lithe 6-foot-6 frame to slither into the tightest of gaps and finish creatively with either hand.

He averages 1.383 points per possession around the rim, per Synergy Sports, putting him in the company of massive human beings like Giannis Antetokounmpo, LeBron James and Zion Williamson. The only guard remotely in SGA’s league when it comes to efficiency at the basket is Tyrese Maxey, and there’s a large drop-off.

But don’t be mistaken — Gilgeous-Alexander is far more than just a scorer.

It’s one thing to put up massive numbers — if you want to be in the mix with guys like Jokic and Embiid, your team needs to perform when you’re on the floor. That’s not a problem for Gilgeous-Alexander, who does the heavy lifting for the Thunder’s top-five offense. When he’s on the bench, OKC scores 111 points per 100 possessions. When he’s on the court, that balloons to 122.5 points per 100 possessions — better than the league’s top offense.

Gilgeous-Alexander averages over six assists per game, a career-high, but his impact goes well beyond those numbers. As head coach Mark Daigneault readily professes, the entire OKC offense is built around SGA and the defensive attention he commands on every possession.

“We had players on the team that they weren’t guarding. They were just loading up on Shai,” Daigneault said. “And it’s like, OK, where do we space them? We learned different spacing from that. We learned the cutting triggers and how to activate that from that experience.”

Here’s an example of the kind of cutting Daigneault is talking about. Watch how Gilgeous-Alexander draws a second defender — not once, but twice in the same possession — and it leads to successive hard cuts resulting in an easy and-one layup for Josh Giddey. No assist for SGA, but he’s chiefly responsible for the bucket.

On this play, the Heat are so concerned with Gilgeous-Alexander on a simple back-screen that they leave two defenders with him and completely ignore a wide-open Isaiah Joe under the basket. Sure, it’s a horrendous defensive breakdown from a normally disciplined team, but that’s what a talent like SGA does to you.

Gilgeous-Alexander isn’t a one-way player, either. Nobody will ever confuse him for a lockdown defensive stopper, but he uses his length, quick hands and anticipation so well that he leads the NBA in steals per game this season. Watch as he moves his feet to stay with offensive dynamo Jamal Murray, avoiding fouling before he eventually picks his pocket.

When it comes down to it, Gilgeous-Alexander is a stout enough defender that other teams can’t effectively hunt him possession after possession — and that’s what’s going to matter as the Thunder attempt to make a deep playoff run. Speaking of which …

The Thunder were a cute story last season, winning 40 games and making the play-in after landing in the 20s the previous two years. But this season’s team has a legitimate chance to not only earn the top seed in the Western Conference, but also potentially win the NBA title. They’re in the top six in both offensive and defensive efficiency, a traditional marker of a championship contender. The Thunder are perhaps the premier feel-good story of the NBA season — and what is the MVP about, if not a feel-good story?

Clutch moments like this step-back 3-pointer to seal the win over the West-leading Minnesota Timberwolves only strengthen Gilgeous-Alexander’s narrative.

Stepback Shai for three 🎯 pic.twitter.com/XMva5LWjbb

— OKC THUNDER (@okcthunder) January 21, 2024
OKC’s only meaningful addition this season was rookie Chet Holmgren, and he’s been phenomenal. But ultimately this team’s success comes down to their superstar, and Gilgeous-Alexander has been the conductor of the NBA’s Little Engine That Could. Jokic and Embiid deservingly dominate the conversation, but there’s a strong argument to be made that Gilgeous-Alexander should be directly alongside them when it comes to MVP favorites.

24 Jan

Heat send Kyle Lowry, 2027 first-round pick to Hornets for scoring punch

The Miami Heat got themselves some more firepower on Tuesday, acquiring guard Terry Rozier from the Charlotte Hornets in exchange for guard Kyle Lowry and a 2027 first-round pick. Rozier, who turns 30 in March, is having a career year and will be expected to give the NBA’s 20th-ranked offense a boost. The pick going to the Hornets is lottery-protected in 2027 and unprotected in 2028, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Lowry, who turns 37 in March, is on a $29.7 million expiring contract and doesn’t have much of a future with a Charlotte team that is 10-31 this season. The Hornets will try to trade him before the deadline, rather than immediately working on a buyout, according to ESPN.

Let’s grade the trade.

Heat: A-
You can’t quibble with this trade in terms of value. Miami, a team that made the NBA Finals last season, turned a veteran on an expiring deal into a guy who’s averaging 23.2 points and 6.6 assists with a 57.4% true shooting percentage on a difficult shot diet. It cost the Heat a future first-rounder, but it’s not fully unprotected and, if they see themselves as a contender, this sort of thing is what future firsts are for. Rozier is in Year 2 of a four-year, $96.3 million contract; he’ll be 32 and making $26.6 million in 2025-26, the last year of his deal.

The upside here is straightforward: Miami needs offense, and Rozier can provide it. He doesn’t need to dominate the ball, but he can initiate offense and relieve Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro of playmaking responsibility. This season, Rozier is making 39.3% of his pull-up 3s and, according to Cleaning the Glass, making a career-high 50% of his midrange shots, including 51% on long 2s. He gives Miami another player who can hunt mismatches and get buckets when opposing teams are switching and the halfcourt offense is getting bogged down.

Ideally, Rozier will make a smooth transition into a less demanding offensive role. With numerous playmakers next to him, he should not have to take as many tough 2s as he’s been taking in Charlotte. Rozier’s usage rate this season is 26.8%, and according, to pbpstats.com, it was 28.4% in 873 minutes without LaMelo Ball on the court. Butler (24.3% usage rate), Adebayo (27%) and Herro (28%) will create more opportunities for Rozier to either catch and shoot — he’s only made 29.9% of his catch-and-shoot-3s this season, but his volume (2.9 attempts per game) is lower than it has been since he was a backup in Boston — or attack a tilted defense.

The Heat need Rozier to bring the best parts of the guy he’s been for the Hornets lately and the guy he was with the Celtics years ago. As long as he can get comfortable in their offense, he’ll be more efficient than ever. Erik Spoelstra will surely have him in motion off the ball, setting ghost screens and coming off dribble-handoffs. Given how well Duncan Robinson and former Miami wing Max Strus played off of Adebayo, the big man should be able to establish a two-man game with Rozier right away. The Heat will also demand that Rozier use his length (he’s 6-foot-1 with a 6-8 wingspan) on defense, navigate screens and generally be as much of a pest as possible.

Also worth noting: Miami will save $15.4 million in luxury-tax payments this season because of the swap, and it will create a $6.4 million trade exception, per ESPN’s Bobby Marks.

If you aren’t bullish on this move, it might be because you doubt that Rozier can or will do all that. He hasn’t played for an above-average defense since he left Boston, and, according to Cleaning The Glass, the Hornets have been worse on that end with him on the court every year but one. Lowry isn’t the defender that he was in his prime, but his smarts haven’t gone anywhere, he remains one of the league’s best charge-takers and he’s still sturdy when switched onto bigger players. Spoelstra will miss his screening and the way he pushes the pace, too.

There’s also the opportunity cost. Trading the pick doesn’t necessarily make it impossible for the Heat to acquire a star player in the near future, but it certainly makes it more difficult before this year’s deadline, particularly if their delightful rookie, Jaime Jaquez Jr., is assumed to be untouchable. (Miami now can only trade one unprotected first-rounder: Its 2030 pick.) Does this deal move the needle enough to justify missing out on something bigger? Miami’s offense hasn’t been awesome, but how much of that is simply a result of injuries? Herro and Rozier are fairly similar offensively, and Rozier’s presence might complicate Jaquez’s growth and Robinson’s playing time.

Mitigating all that, though, is Rozier’s contract. Since the Heat didn’t go out and get someone like the Chicago Bulls’ Zach LaVine, who is owed $49 million in 2026-27, this doesn’t feel desperate. As long as Rozier plays well, he should have trade value next offseason and beyond. He could even be included in an eventual trade for a star. If Miami determined that it was unlikely to use Lowry’s contract and this pick to trade for a star in the next 16 days, then a move like this is the next best thing.

Hornets: A
It’s not that Charlotte “won” the trade. It just gets the slightly higher grade because its situation is simpler. The Hornets are halfway through a dark, forgettable season, and it’s time to get what they can for the players who aren’t a part of their future. They’re not done making future-focused moves, according to ESPN, and no one will be surprised if Miles Bridges and Gordon Hayward, both of whom are on expiring contracts, are elsewhere soon. It’s reasonable to wonder if the Hornets might move PJ Washington, who signed a team-friendly contract last offseason, too.

Charlotte was probably never going to get a valuable young player for Rozier, and it didn’t manage to get a fully unprotected first-round pick way into the future. It got a pretty good one, though, particularly if it doesn’t convey in 2027. Butler is 34, and if the Heat happen to miss the playoffs in 2026-27 and have a down season in 2027-28, the Hornets will look brilliant.

(An aside that you should skip if you don’t care about dorky NBA minutiae: Since Miami owes the Oklahoma City Thunder a lottery-protected first-round pick in 2025, if it misses the playoffs next season, the pick in this trade will automatically become an unprotected 2028 first, due to the Stepien rule.)

When Charlotte acquired Rozier in a sign-and-trade as Kemba Walker left town, it was not met with rave reviews. His four-year extension wasn’t exactly celebrated at the time, either. Rozier grew immensely as an offensive player in his four and a half years with the Hornets, though, and developed a reputation for hitting difficult shots in the clutch. In an alternate universe, the franchise might have been able to build on the promise it showed in Ball’s first two seasons. In this universe, after a coaching change, some misfires in the draft, an ownership change and a ton of injuries and ugliness, it became clear that Rozier would not be part of the next Charlotte team to make the playoffs, which means trading him for a first-round pick is a win.

It is within the realm of possibility that the Hornets still get more out of this deal. Lowry is a prime buyout candidate, but, due to the restrictions in the NBA’s new collective bargaining agreement, he can’t sign with the Denver Nuggets, Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Clippers, Milwaukee Bucks, Phoenix Suns or the Celtics. If one of those teams would like to acquire him, it would have to trade for him.

Even if Lowry is eventually bought out, though, this move makes sense for Charlotte, whose front office is projected to have more than $45 million of cap space this offseason. Now let’s see who follows Rozier out the door.

24 Jan

DraftKings, FanDuel daily Fantasy basketball picks for Tuesday, Jan. 23 include Zion Williamson

LeBron James (ankle) will miss Tuesday night’s inner-arena matchup for the Lakers against the Clippers. James’ absence will have a huge impact on the outlook of Lakers in the NBA DFS player pool with his 24.8 points, 7.2 rebounds, 7.4 assists and 28.9% usage rate available for others. Lakers guard D’Angelo Russell had 34 points and eight assists playing alongside James on Sunday, but could he be in line for an even greater performance without the NBA’s all-time leading scorer on the floor?

Anthony Davis will likely be a popular selection among NBA DFS picks, and after two big men had incredible performances yesterday with Joel Embiid scoring 70 points and Karl-Anthony Towns totaling 62 points, a tempting NBA DFS strategy could be utilizing the 6-foot-10 center and hoping for another monster performance. Davis is averaging 25.6 points and 11.3 rebounds in 54 games with the Lakers without James, so should daily Fantasy basketball players roster him in NBA DFS lineups? Before making your NBA DFS picks, be sure to check out the NBA DFS advice, player rankings, stacks, and top daily Fantasy basketball picks from SportsLine’s Mike McClure.

McClure is a DFS professional with more than $2 million in career winnings. He’s also a predictive data engineer at SportsLine who uses a powerful prediction model that simulates every minute of every game 10,000 times, taking factors like matchups, statistical trends and injuries into account.

This allows him to find the best NBA DFS values and create optimal lineups that he shares only over at SportsLine. They’re a must-see for any NBA DFS player.

On Monday, McClure highlighted Raptors guard Immanuel Quickley as one of his top picks in his NBA DFS player pool on both sites. The result: Quickley had eight points, five rebounds, 10 assists and two steals, returning 32.25 points on DraftKings and 31 points on FanDuel. Anybody who included him in their lineups was well on the way to a profitable day.

McClure has turned his attention to NBA action on Tuesday and locked in his top daily Fantasy basketball picks. You can only see them by heading to SportsLine.

Top NBA DFS picks for Tuesday, January 23
For Tuesday, one of McClure’s top NBA DFS picks is Pelicans power forward Zion Williamson, who is listed at $7,400 on DraftKings and $7,700 on FanDuel. Williamson had 24 points on 64.7% shooting in a 123-109 loss to the Suns on Friday. The 23-year-old is averaging 22 points, 5.7 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game while shooting 58.8% from the field this season.

Williamson, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, has showcased why he was such a highly-touted prospect when healthy. He’s averaging 24.9 points and 6.7 rebounds throughout his NBA career, but health has always been his biggest issue, playing only 29 games last season. But daily Fantasy basketball players don’t have to worry about his season-long health, and with Williamson healthy on Tuesday, he’s a strong option for NBA DFS lineups against the Jazz, who are allowing 122.8 points over their last four contests.

Another part of McClure’s optimal NBA DFS strategy includes Lakers combo guard/forward Austin Reaves ($5,800 on DraftKings and $6,100 on FanDuel). He’s a prime example of a player that could see an increase in usage and production with James out. Reaves had 19 points against the Jazz with James out of the lineup, compared to averaging 15 ppg on the season. He also had 20 points, eight rebounds and five assists while taking 14 shots against the Timberwolves without James on the floor.

The third-year pro is averaging career-highs in scoring (15 ppg), rebounds (4.2 per game) and assists (5.1 per game). The 25-year-old, who went undrafted after playing his final two college basketball seasons at Oklahoma, seems to be coming into his own in the NBA. McClure loves Reaves’ value to add depth to NBA DFS lineups while leaving money to spend on some of the higher-priced options in Tuesday’s NBA DFS player pool. See McClure’s other NBA DFS picks right here.

How to set your NBA DFS lineups for Tuesday, January 23
McClure is also targeting a player who could go off for massive numbers on Tuesday because of a dream matchup. This pick could be the difference between winning your tournaments and cash games or going home with nothing. You can only see who it is here.

21 Jan

2023 WWE Elimination Chamber predictions, card, matches, PPV preview, start time, location, date

WWE’s final pay-per-view stop on the Road to WrestleMania goes down on Saturday when the Elimination Chamber comes to Montreal. The card is loaded with big matches, which all have significant implications for April’s two-night WrestleMania event.

Two matches are set to take place in the iconic Elimination Chamber. Six women will battle with a shot at Bianca Belair and the Raw women’s championship on the line. On the men’s side, Austin Theory will defend his United States championship against five other men inside the chamber.

Plus, the epic main event is set to see Roman Reigns defend his undisputed universal championship against former teammate Sami Zayn in Zayn’s hometown. The saga that has become The Bloodline reached a boiling point at Royal Rumble when Reigns pushed Zayn to strike his former friend Kevin Owens with a chair while Owens was defenseless. Instead, Zayn struck Reigns and led to an incredible moment that seems to have the faction splitting at the seams.

Plus, a showdown between Brock Lesnar and Bobby Lashley is also set for the card. The pair have faced each other twice in singles matches, splitting the meetings, though Lashley has gotten the better of several brawls as well as eliminating Lesnar from January’s Royal Rumble match.

Let’s take a closer look at who our CBS Sports experts predict will come out on top at WWE Elimination Chamber, which begins Saturday at 8 p.m. ET from Bell Centre in Montreal and streams live on Peacock.

2023 WWE Elimination Chamber predictions
Undisputed WWE universal championship — Roman Reigns (c) vs. Sami Zayn

At any other point in the year, it feels as though there’d be a bit more unpredictability to how this match could play out. Zayn is as hot a babyface as WWE has had in a long time because of the masterfully crafted Bloodline storyline. The crowd in Montreal will be incredibly hot for Zayn and an upset championship win would be an all-time moment in WWE history. The reality, however, is that Reigns’ long run with the titles is not going to end this close to WrestleMania. The real question is if things play out in a way that alters the WrestleMania main event. Will something happen that inserts Zayn into that match, turning the match between Reigns and Royal Rumble winner Cody Rhodes into a triple threat? That’s still to be seen. Reigns vs. Zayn should have a great atmosphere and tell a good story, but it would be a legitimate shocker if Zayn left Montreal with the titles. Pick: Roman Reigns retains the titles — Brent Brookhouse (also Shakiel Mahjouri)

Elimination Chamber match for a shot at the Raw women’s championship at WrestleMania — Asuka vs. Liv Morgan vs. Nikki Cross vs. Raquel Rodriguez vs. Natalya vs. Carmella

The return of “Evil Asuka” has been a devilish treat. Her makeover at the Royal Rumble elicited a big fan response and she has been booked well since, picking up good wins and showing a return to her old dominance. Asuka is certainly the most credible competitor in this Chamber match and her new gimmick needs to be protected. All acts cool off so it’s imperative that WWE continues to present this unhinged version of Asuka as a threat. With WrestleMania on the horizon, Asuka is also the safest choice for a smooth build to a title match on the biggest show of the year. Pick: Asuka wins — Mahjouri (also Brookhouse)

Elimination Chamber match for the United States championship — Austin Theory (c) vs. Seth Rollins vs. Montez Ford vs. Damian Priest vs. Johnny Gargano vs. Bronson Reed

There aren’t a ton of credible winners heading into the match. Johnny Gargano has largely been a comedy act since returning, Rollins recently lost the title and seems tied to a possible WrestleMania outing against Logan Paul, Priest is a secondary stable member, Reed does not have the momentum — nor have the fans shown any interest in him on Raw — to enter WrestleMania as a defending champion and Ford is one-half of a struggling tag team. If anyone were to dethrone Theory, it would likely be Ford. There is certainly desire in seeing what the athletic, fan-friendly superstar could do as a breakout singles star. Ultimately, WWE seems somewhat committed to Theory’s reign and a credible challenger is on the horizon. Theory told CBS Sports in August “he’s pretty confident” that he would face John Cena at WrestleMania. There aren’t many contestants in the Cena sweepstakes beyond Theory and Logan Paul. If we’re getting Theory vs. Cena, then the champion will certainly leave Elimination Chamber with his title in hand. Pick: Austin Theory retains the title — Mahjouri (also Brookhouse)

Edge & Beth Phoenix vs. Finn Balor & Rhea Ripley

The deciding factor in this match is that Ripley won the Royal Rumble and is heading to WrestleMania to challenge Charlotte Flair for the SmackDown women’s championship. Ripley has not wrestled since winning the Rumble and having her immediately lose momentum by dropping a match to Edge and Phoenix, a couple of established legends who are bulletproof at this point, would make no sense. Sometimes, it really is that easy to determine how a match will play out. Pick: Balor and Ripley win — Brookhouse (also Mahjouri)

Brock Lesnar vs. Bobby Lashley

In all honesty, the most realistic option here may be to have the pair go to a no contest due to a wild brawl, allowing the rubber match to carry over to WrestleMania. There’s likely no bigger Mania match for either man available so blowing off the feud on the big stage may be the best option. Were I forced to pick either man to get the win, I’d have to side with Lesnar. Lashley has gotten over on Lesnar at basically every turn, including directly after Lesnar defeated him at Crown Jewel. At some point, a star like Lesnar gets the “get-right moment.” Pick: No contest or Brock Lesnar wins — Brookhouse

The outcome of this match depends on WWE’s WrestleMania plans. Candidly, the once fantasy feud has run its course but here we are. The hosses are split 1-1 in their series and a no-contest is in play should creative opt to conclude the trilogy at WrestleMania. If someone is getting the win at Elimination Chamber, I’m siding with Lashley. The Hurt Business never really got the run they deserved and there may be interest in reforming the faction. Shelton Benjamin and Cedric Alexander were seen chatting backstage on Raw, MVP’s collaboration with Omos flopped and Lashley is in need of help. Having Hurt Business interfere in the match gives Lashley the upper hand, gives the group a big reintroduction and allows WWE wiggle room to stretch the feud to WrestleMania. Pick: Bobby Lashley wins — Mahjouri