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Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks

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The Brooklyn Nets and the Minnesota Timberwolves earned themselves seventh seeds in their respective conferences last night.

This means that the Cavs and the Clippers will have to await the results of these games tonight to find out who they have to play for the final eighth seed in the East and the West. Tonight the Hornets and the Hawks face-off first followed by the Spurs and the Pelicans.

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Best Bets of the Night

Game: Charlotte Hornets at Atlanta Hawks -5

The Hawks have won as many home games this season as the reigning NBA Champions and the third seed in the East: the Milwaukee Bucks. Indeed, Atlanta managed to win 27 games at home this season compared to a mere 14 losses. Last season, the Hawks demonstrated they could do damage in the postseason by eliminating the Knicks in five quick games. In turn, the Hornets have been a rather mediocre team on the road this season, winning 21 and losing 20 of their 41 away games this season. Both teams finished the regular season winning more than half of their last 10 games, but the Hawks easily have the edge in this contest. Gordon Hayward’s absence from the Hornets' lineup annuls John Collins’ absence from the Hawks lineup going into tonight’s game. With Trae Young being the best player on the court in this matchup, the Hawks should cover the spread. Not to mention, Kevin Huerter, De'Andre Hunter, and Danilo Gallinari (six-of-eight in the regular-season finale from long range), and Young make up one of the best three-point shooting lineups in the league, not to mention Clint Capela's massive mismatch against Mason Plumlee at the center position. Atlanta should roll despite the absences of Lou Williams and John Collins.

The Pick: Atlanta Hawks -5 (-115)

Game: San Antonio Spurs at New Orleans Pelicans -5.5

The Spurs have only lost two more games than the Pelicans this season. But the main difference between both teams is talent versus teamwork. Greg Popovich has been able to turn the Spurs into a serious playoff team in the vast majority of the last 15 years. This is important because the Spurs have a chance of upsetting other postseason teams any given season simply because of how they are coached. Furthermore, the Pelicans have struggled with guard, Devonte’ Graham, all season long. Since leaving Charlotte, his production and efficiency have decreased substantially. This season, he’s producing 11.9 PPG while shooting 36.3% from the field and producing 4.2 assists per game. These are all lower figures than what he produced in his last two years in Charlotte. In 2019, Graham averaged 18.2 PPG on 38.2% from the field. The following season, he averaged 14.8 PPG (decreased minutes because LaMelo Ball was drafted) while shooting 37.7% from the field. Now, the Pelicans have relegated Graham to a sixth-man type of role since acquiring C.J. McCollum from the Portland Trail Blazers. The Pelicans' greatest asset outside of McCollum is Brandon Ingram, who is currently listed as a game-time decision. If he's unable to suit up, the Pelicans are in serious trouble.

Even if Ingram can suit up, the Spurs have developed one of the best point guards in the league in Dejounte Murray. Murray almost averaged a triple-double with 21.1 points, 9.2 assists, and 8.3 rebounds per game, plus 2.0 steals per contest. The Spurs have a deep bench with Tre Jones backing up Murray, Lonnie Walker, and Josh Richardson. San Antonio should out-hustle and out-coach the Pelicans tonight.

The Pick: San Antonio Spurs ML +194

NBA Player Props

Game: Charlotte Hornets at Atlanta Hawks -5

Prop: Trae Young, Over 31.5 Points

Trae Young is averaging 28.4 PPG this season, shooting 46% from the field and 38.2% from downtown. But Ice Trae is a different beast once the regular season is over. Last year, in five games against the Knicks in the first round of the playoffs, Young averaged 29.2 PPG.

The Hornets are 13th in the NBA allowing 100 FPTS per game to opposing guards, meaning Young already has a relatively advantageous matchup heading into this matchup. Altogether, the Hornets are an average defense in the league, but a below average defense against guards. If you consider Charlotte’s defense against guards and how Trae Young stepped up in silencing the Knicks in the first round of last year’s playoffs, on paper there’s a good chance for Young to erupt for 32+ points tonight. Now, this is a high Over/Under for points and somewhat of a 50-50 to hit. Im going with the Over because I’ve seen Trae Young in his last playoff run, and if he shoots just a little bit better than he did last season, he could be hitting 30-35+ on most nights during the postseason (especially without John Collins and if the Hawks make it).

After last night’s play-in games, it would be unwise to suggest Trae Young doesn’t have a huge night. Here are a few big-name guards who went off in each of last night’s two play-in games: Darius Garland and Kyrie Irving both dropped 34 points. D'Angelo Russell tallied 29 points, and Reggie Jackson scored 17 points despite a subpar night from the field (7-of-18). Although Paul George is more of a forward than a guard, he also scored 34 points. The point is that the big-time guards in particular dominated in last night's play-in games. It’s equally impressive that Garland, Irving, and George all scored 34 points last night as it is a coincidence. There are multiple reasons why Trae Young should hit 32 points against Charlotte. But the biggest reason is that it's unwise to bet against Young in the playoffs.

Prop: Clint Capela, Over 12.5 Rebounds

Clint Capela could be one of the most efficient rebounders in the league. This season, he’s averaging 11.9 rebounds per game although he’s only playing 27.6 minutes per contest. The 6’10’’ big man from Geneva has hauled in 11+ rebounds in eight of his last 10 games. He recorded 13+ rebounds in six of the eight games in which he recorded 11+ boards. Additionally, through his last 10 contests, he’s only logged 30+ minutes four times, meaning that he’s rebounding well into double-figures despite playing less than 30 minutes most nights. In a game as pivotal as tonight's matchup, Capela should see closer to 33ish minutes. That should give him sufficient time to dominate the glass over the Hornets' big man, Mason Plumlee, who is not nearly as much of a physical specimen as Capela.

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Darius Garland, Cleveland Cavaliers
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Finally, the NBA regular season has come to an end.

But before we get into the playoffs, we have six play-in games set for this week including two that tip-off tonight. The winning teams of tonight's games will earn the seventh seed within their respective conferences. Let's take a look at the best bets for tonight's action.

Best Bets of The Night

Game: Cleveland Cavaliers at Brooklyn Nets -8.5

In this game, I’m really excited to see the Darius Garland and Kyrie Irving matchup. Nonetheless, the Nets should defend the home floor easily at Barclays Center. Cleveland allows the fourth-fewest points per game against opposing teams this season. The Cavaliers are one of the best defensive teams in the league with rookie Evan Mobley blocking shots, Garland guarding the perimeter, and Jarrett Allen as the anchor down low in the post, not to mention Isaac Okoro's on-ball ferociousness. It’s noteworthy that Allen has been ruled out for tonight’s game. Although the Nets aren't known for their big men, Allen's absence is significant and should result in Andre Drummond and Nicolas Claxton cleaning up on the boards as Mobley will be forced to start at the center position rather than power forward. The Cavs will have to play stifling defense to keep this game competitive and interesting. The Over/Under for tonight’s game is currently set at a relatively high 228.5 points. Despite Brooklyn's firepower on offense, Cleveland's defense should keep this game relatively low-scoring.

The Pick: Under 228.5 Total Points

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Game: Los Angeles Clippers at Minnesota Timberwolves -3

With Paul George energized after what will be almost one week of rest, the Clippers’ outlook for tonight’s game against the Timberwolves isn’t bad at all. In fact, there are good reasons to think the Clippers will upset the T-Wolves and steal the seventh seed in the Western Conference. Los Angeles finished the season on a five-game winning streak, including their final victory of the season on Sunday despite resting Paul George, Nicolas Batum, and Reggie Jackson. The Clippers dropped a whopping 138 points in a dominant win over the atrocious Oklahoma City Thunder. What really stands out is that seven of the Clippers’ nine active players scored in double figures on Sunday. Amir Coffey, who is averaging 22.7 MPG and nine points per game this season, blew up for 35 points (13-22 FG) and 13 rebounds. If the Clippers scored that many points without their starters, what could they do to the T-Wolves with PG-13 and company active? To play it safe, we’ll take the Clippers to cover the spread tonight in Minnesota. That said, don't expect an easy win with D'Angelo Russell, Anthony Edwards, and Karl-Anthony Towns healthy and hyped to defend their home floor. This game is going to come down to the wire but if Paul George gets hot, the Clips could very well pull off the upset.

The Pick: Los Angeles Clippers +3

NBA Player Props

Game: Cleveland Cavaliers at Brooklyn Nets -8.5

Prop: Evan Mobley, Over 9.5 Rebounds (-102)

Jarrett Allen will be inactive tonight and rookie stud Evan Mobley will serve as Cleveland's defensive anchor in the paint. Mobley is going to be asked to do a lot on both ends of the court if the Cavs have any chance at upsetting the Nets in Brooklyn. Although Mobley averaged 8.3 rebounds per game this season, he’s the Cavs' only big man who has the wingspan and strength to haul in a ton of rebounds. Brooklyn is 12th in shots taken per game this season, averaging 88.4 field goals attempted as a team per game. This should help Mobley get into double-figures tonight off the glass, especially without Allen on the floor. Don't be shocked to see Mobley play 40 minutes tonight given Cleveland's lack of healthy big men.

Prop: Darius Garland, Over 25.5 Points (-108)

With Allen sidelined, Darius Garland will score closer to 30 points than the 25-26 points currently set for his line. Though he’s averaging 21.7 PPG this season, Garland has scored at least 25 points in six of his last 10 games. Especially against what should be a lethal offense between Kyrie and KD, the Cavs will need a big scoring night from their main ball-handler. Garland is a rising stud at the point guard position and is one of the league leaders in assists (8.6 per game and sixth in the NBA) but something tells me that with the seventh seed on the line, Garland will look to shoot more and get to the basket with his elite dribble-drive rather than serving as the playmaker for his teammates. Sure, he'll tally some sweet dimes but if the Cavs are going to compete, they need a monster game out of their young point guard. With Collin Sexton already out for the season, Garland is the only severe threat in Cleveland's backcourt. And don't forget that he dropped 31 points while only dishing out three assists in a losing effort to the Nets in the second-to-last game of the season. In four games against Brooklyn this season, Garland averaged 25.3 points and 8.0 assists in 39 minutes per game. Garland's percentages against the Nets from the field and deep were well below his season averages, not to mention, that he could play close to 45 minutes in this critical matchup. He should have no problem dropping at least 26 points.

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Trae Young of Atlanta Hawks

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On this last Friday night of the regular season, we have a slate of nine NBA games.

The most interesting matchups on the schedule feature the Hornets vs the Bulls, the Cavaliers vs the Nets, and the Suns vs the Jazz. Let’s jump in.

All odds are accurate as of 3:00 PM EST on Fanduel Sportsbook.

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Best Bets of the Night

Game 1: Charlotte Hornets at Chicago Bulls -2.5

Heading into tonight, both the Chicago Bulls and the Charlotte Hornets are very healthy. The Hornets will only be without Gordon Hayward, who hasn’t played in months. Chicago has lost Lonzo Ball for the season, and currently has Zach Lavine listed as a game-time decision for tonight’s game. This is a tricky pick because the Chicago Bulls have lost their last three home games badly. Will they really lose a fourth and final home game of the regular season against the Charlotte Hornets? Even if Lavine doesn’t play, the Hornets are an easier matchup for the Bulls than the three teams they’ve hosted since Saturday (Bucks, Heat, and Celtics) without Lavine in the lineup. Even if LaVine doesn’t play tonight, I’d truly be shocked if the Bulls lost their fourth consecutive home game. The Hornets are one of the worst teams in the Association facing opposing guards allowing them to produce an average of 101 FPTS per game against them. The 10th seeded Hornets are just one game behind the Hawks in the Eastern Conference standings and will be competing hard tonight in the hopes of taking the higher seed away from Atlanta. Although Chicago has lost their last three consecutive games, all at home, I do not think they will allow the Hornets to embarrass them in their last home game of the season.

The Pick: Chicago Bulls - 2.5 (-110)

Game 2: Cleveland Cavaliers at Brooklyn Nets - 9

The Brooklyn Nets have a switch that they can turn on any time they want. They proved that in that last game after overcoming a 21-point deficit against the embarrassing New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday. Especially now that Kyrie Irving is eligible to play in New York City, the Nets have been looking ferocious. Brooklyn should seal the deal at home tonight, but I think the Cavaliers have a good chance of keeping it somewhat interesting. If Cleveland loses by eight points or less, this bet hits. Jarett Allen remains out and likely will be inactive until the postseason begins. Evan Mobley is listed as a game-time decision for tonight’s game.

The Pick: Cleveland Cavaliers +9 (-112)

Game 3: Phoenix Suns at Utah Jazz - 2

Devin Booker, DeAndre Ayton, Chris Paul, and Jamison Crowder all did not play in a 109-113 road loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday night. Tonight, it seems CP3 will be active against the Jazz as he missed the last game due to injury management. In fact, all the starters that were inactive Tuesday were not included in today’s injury report ahead of tonight’s game in Utah. While Booker, Paul, and Ayton could play fewer minutes than the 30+ they get each night, reports suggest they’ll be out on the floor. Utah finds itself two games behind the Dallas Mavericks, currently with the fifth seed in the West. Tonight’s matchup can be seen as a potential playoff series. Both teams will compete tonight. The Jazz’s roster is completely healthy and has a good chance to defend the home floor. The last time the two teams played was February 27, in Phoenix, where Utah sealed a thrilling 118-114 victory. I like the Suns to give the Jazz payback on the road tonight, after being served by Utah at home. Especially with all of Phoenix’s starters active tonight, this is the ML pick of the night.

The Pick: Phoenix Suns ML +118

NBA Player Props of the Night

Game: Atlanta Hawks at Miami Heat +2

Prop 1: Trae Young, Over 3.5 Rebounds (-102)

Trae Young is averaging 3.7 rebounds a game this season. He’s getting four or more rebounds a game approximately every other night. Although Miami is one of the best teams in the East, they are an average team shooting the ball from the field. This means that Atlanta might get more opportunities to catch rebounds than they otherwise might not. For that reason, Ice Trae has a better chance of hitting the over on rebounds tonight than the under.

Prop 2: Danillo Gallinari, Over 1.5 Three-Pointers Made (-200)

Danillo Gallinari is coming off of a huge 26-point (11-19 FG) in a dominant 118-103 victory over the Washington Wizards on Tuesday. In that game, he shot four-of-seven from beyond the arc. This season, the Italian veteran is shooting a respectable 37.5% from beyond the arc. He’s also attempted at least five three-pointers and knocked down at least two of them in four of his last six games. Gallinari will also have a good chance in his matchups tonight, likely against wings Markieff Morris and Duncan Robinson. The way I see things, Miami will be caught sleeping on Gallinari at least once or twice tonight, where he will get multiple open looks from beyond the arc. This to me suggests he will hit at least two three-pointers tonight against the Miami Heat.


Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics

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Tonight, the NBA has a six-game slate featuring the battle of New York City when the Brooklyn Nets take on the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden.

The Bulls will be looking to defend their home floor against the Celtics after losing their last two home games in Chicago. Let's dive into the best bets and props for tonight's slate of NBA games.

Please Note: All odds are listed from FanDuel Sportsbook at 3:30 PM EST. Lines are subject to change.

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Best Bets of the Night

Game 1: Brooklyn Nets at New York Knicks +5

The only battle left for the Knicks is a battle for dignity. This season, the New York Knicks have been one of the biggest disappointments in the league (behind the Lakers). When the Nets play the Knicks, it’s a battle for pride and representation of one of the greatest cities in the world. The Knicks have nothing left to play for but this is a must-win game for the Nets. Despite how bad the Knicks have played this season, they packed on some late-season wins in a failed attempt to capture the 10th seed. Knicks fans will pack Madison Square Garden tonight and the Knicks will feast off of the energy in an attempt to cover the spread (despite a sidelined Julius Randle). To me, this suggests that it will be a competitive game. Brooklyn is the ninth-highest scoring team in the league (112.6 PPG) and the Knicks have the grit and physicality to match them. The Nets have won six straight against the Knicks, including a game earlier this year in which they erased a 26-point deficit. That said, all the games have been incredibly close. With Seth Curry listed as a game-time decision but unlikely to suit up, the Knicks will try to take advantage of Brooklyn's lack of depth. Last year, the Knicks were one of the best defensive teams in the NBA and they have recently improved in that category after a dismal start to the season. I expect the Nets to score 100-105 points tonight but I think the Knicks will manage to keep it close as they often do against their Atlantic division rival. Both teams will be competing in a fierce rivalry which will push the teams to defend more ferociously tonight. The Nets also might have a tough time scoring 110+ points at Madison Square Garden. For that reason, I don't believe the two squads will produce a total of 228.5 combined points.

The Pick: Under 228.5 Total Points

Game 2: Boston Celtics at Chicago Bulls +7

Chicago lost last night when I thought they could defend the home floor against the Bucks. The opposite took place. Chicago has one more chance to defend the home floor this week against the Boston Celtics tonight. Toronto won last night, giving them the fifth seed over the Bulls. With two games left, there remains a slight chance that the Bulls could retake the fifth seed. There is no way for them to do this without a win tonight. DeMar DeRozan has been playing out of his mind (40 points against the Bucks yesterday, 26 points against the Heat on April 2, and 50 points against the Clippers on March 31) but Zach LaVine missed yesterday's matchup and Nikola Vucevic only tallied seven points and six rebounds against Milwaukee last night. After two straight losses at home, tonight is the night the Bulls win. Since the Chicago Bulls moneyline failed miserably last night, let’s play it safe and take the Bulls to cover the spread against the Celtics. At the very least, they have to compete and keep it within seven. Regardless of the spread (which I think Chicago will cover tonight), if the Bulls lose, they will be entering the playoffs with a much bleaker outlook than the team did when they held the second seed in the East in January. Nonetheless, it is the Bulls' first playoff berth in the last five seasons.

The Pick: Chicago Bulls +7

Game 3: Phoenix Suns at Los Angeles Clippers -2.5

Phoenix is coming off of a late game last night against the Los Angeles Lakers. While they should beat the Clippers, I think the Suns may be a little gassed in their second game in as many days at the Crypto Center. Obviously, the Suns beat the atrocious Lakers but they very well could struggle to some some degree with fatigue tonight. The Suns are so lethal with Devin Booker at the moment, who’s averaged 33.6 PPG over his last 10 games. Although the Suns have the first seed in the West and are eight games ahead of the second-seeded Memphis Grizzlies, Phoenix is using these meaningless end-of-season games to play hard basketball. Their starters are playing 30+ minutes per contest and using these last regular-season games as an opportunity to practice. Even if the Suns were to play their bench tonight against Paul George and the Clippers, they would still have a good chance to come out on top. Since Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton, and Chris Paul are playing consistently and are expected to suit up tonight, I see them as being the clear favorites tonight in Los Angeles, despite the potential fatigue and the possibility of complacency as a result of having the first seed in the West secured.

The Pick: Phoenix Suns ML +118

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Player Props

Game: Boston Celtics at Chicago Bulls

Prop #1: Al Horford, Over 9.5 Points

Horford has some back issues but is probable to play tonight. Still, it's important to monitor his status before placing your wager. Horford has seen a slight uptick in minutes late in the season because of Robert Williams III’s likely season-ending injury. Along with Daniel Theis, Horford is truly the team’s best big. He’s averaging 10 PPG this season but is coming off of a 17-point game against the Pacers in which he shot seven-of-eight from the field, followed by a 10-point (4-9 FG) performance against the Wizards. His numbers over the last 10 games haven’t been too impressive, but Horford has a much better chance of scoring in double-figures on any night than he did in March when Williams was playing significant minutes. Tonight, Nikola Vucevic will have difficulties guarding Horford from downtown and remaining in the paint to protect the rim.

Prop #2: Jayson Tatum, Over 2.5 Three-Pointers Made

Tatum joined Horford on the injury report with a knee injury but is also probable to suit up on the frontend of back-to-back outings for Boston as they play the Milwaukee Bucks tomorrow. Tatum is out there all night long, and much of his scoring comes from downtown. Over his last nine games, he’s knocked down at least three three-pointers seven times, and at least five three-pointers five times. However, Tatum has gone 4-of-19 from beyond the arc over his last three games, which explains why his O/U has dropped down to 2.5. Tonight, Tatum will regain his shooting stroke and knock down at least three shots from beyond the arc. He's got the size advantage over DeRozan, who is likely to be tasked with guarding his fellow All-Star.

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