Fantasy basketball tips and NBA betting picks for Saturday

ESPN's fantasy basketball and basketball betting tips cheat sheet is your pregame destination for basketball betting predictions and our best intel and data, featuring ESPN's proprietary Basketball Power Index (BPI) to help you make smart fantasy and wagering decisions. NBA game odds for Saturday, April 1 are provided by Caesars Sportsbook, and fantasy advice is based on ESPN 10-team leagues.

What you need to know for Saturday's games

Saturday's two-game schedule appears to be the cost of having flush 13-game slates on Friday and Sunday bookend the weekend. Despite the light schedule, it's encouraging that both of today's contests are between teams with sincere winning intentions and relatively predictable rotations. Such elements help towards building DFS lineups and pricing player props.

The small point spreads for both games align with this premise. Given the smaller player pool, the list of potential streaming candidates dwindles. You likely already know that Trey Murphy III is a winning addition to fantasy rosters, but fewer recognize Bones Hyland's recent revival with the Clippers in the wake of Paul George's injury.

In regards to DFS strategy, a two-game market offers only a handful of high-cost stars to build around. Surveying this tier, my projection model loves Brandon Ingram and his triple-double skill set most among Saturday's stars. The best matchup of the slate might just be Miami's Bam Adebayo, as there are multiple paths to 50 DraftKings points for the two-way big facing a porous Dallas frontcourt.

-- Jim McCormick

Breaking down the slate

Dallas Mavericks at Miami Heat
4:30 p.m ET, FTX Arena, Miami, FLA

Records (Against the Spread)
Mavericks: 37-40 (29-45-3)
Heat: 40-37 (27-47-3)

Line: Heat (-1)
BPI Projection: Mavericks: 127.6-127.1
Money Line: Mavericks (-105), Heat (-115)
BPI Projected winner: Mavericks (51.6%)
Total: 224.5 BPI Projected Total: 254.7

Injury Report:
Mavericks: Frank Ntilikina, (GTD - Knee)
Heat: Bam Adebayo, (GTD - Hip); Kyle Lowry, (GTD - Knee); Nikola Jovic, (OUT - Back)
Note: BPI numbers factor players who are ruled out but assumes GTD players will play

Trend: It's difficult to get a good read on either of these teams, especially as both have been relatively brutal against the spread for the season. A more bankable element might just be tempo, as Dallas ranks 24th in pace with Miami 29th, suggesting the under has some interest in a meeting of deliberate offenses. -- McCormick

Best bet: Luka Doncic over 45.5 points+assists+rebounds. Both teams have playoff implications in this matchup. The Mavericks would edge closer to the play-in tournament if they win. Dallas, however, has the same number of losses as Thunder. Over the last five games, Doncic has averaged 30.6 points, 9.4 assists and 9.2 rebounds. I'm expecting a similar performance from him against Miami. -- Eric Moody

Fantasy streamer: Tim Hardaway Jr. (rostered in 18.4% of ESPN leagues) is fantasy relevant whenever he's shooting the basketball well. In the last three games, he has averaged 26.6 fantasy points and shot 46% from the field. Hardaway Jr. shouldn't be overlooked by fantasy managers in deeper formats. -- Moody

LA Clippers at New Orleans Pelicans
5:30 p.m ET, Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, LA

Records (Against the Spread)
Clippers: 41-37 (39-39-0)
Pelicans: 39-38 (37-39-1)

Line: Pelicans (-3)
BPI Projection: Pelicans: 129.3-127.5
Money Line: Clippers (130), Pelicans (-155)
BPI Projected winner: Pelicans (56.4%)
Total: 226.5 BPI Projected Total: 256.8

Injury Report:
Clippers: Eric Gordon, (GTD - Hip); Paul George, (OUT - Knee); Marcus Morris Sr. (OUT - COVID-19) Pelicans: Zion Williamson, (OUT - Hamstring); Jose Alvarado, (OUT - Tibia)
Note: BPI numbers factor players who are ruled out but assumes GTD players will play

Trend: This game also has some under potential, as the Pelicans surprisingly have the league's top defense over the past 10 games and host a Clippers team on the second leg of a back-to-back. For DFS purposes, it does help that the Clippers employed a unique rest strategy in having Kawhi Leonard not play the second half last night, setting him up for a fuller role versus the Pelicans. -- McCormick

Best bet: Kawhi Leonard over 33.5 points+assists+rebounds. The Clippers are only one game ahead of the Pelicans in the loss column going into Saturday's game. Leonard played only 18 minutes on Friday, but he'll get a normal workload against the Pelicans. In the 38 games he's played 30 or more minutes this season, Leonard has averaged 26.3 points, 4.1 assists and 6.7 rebounds. -- Moody

Fantasy streamer: Trey Murphy III (rostered in 46.7% of ESPN leagues) continues to be a reliable source of points and triples, and he also provides assists, rebounds and steals. In five straight games, Murphy III has scored 20 or more fantasy points, including three with 39 or more. The Pelicans will continue to give him ample playing time. -- Moody

Best bet: Jonas Valanciunas over 29.5 points+assists+rebounds. Over the last 10 games, he's averaged 15.6 points, 13.6 rebounds and 2.5 assists. Over that time, Valanciunas has eight double-doubles. Valanciunas' strong play should continue on their home floor against the Clippers. -- Moody