Top DraftKings, FanDuel daily Fantasy basketball picks for Sunday, Oct. 29 include Joel Embiid

The 2023-24 NBA season continues with six games on Sunday and NBA daily Fantasy players are trying to dial in their NBA DFS strategies early. The looming in-season NBA tournament and the threat of fines for resting players have led to some stars playing restricted minutes to begin the season. The Lakers, for example, have capped LeBron James’ minutes in his 21st season and it appears that he’ll generally play 28-30 minutes per night to save his body for the postseason.

However, James and the Lakers made an exception in a big matchup against the Suns on Thursday, so might he be worth consideration for your NBA DFS lineups on Sunday against the Kings? Sunday’s NBA DFS player pool features plenty of star power, including James, Victor Wembanyama, Stephen Curry and Giannis Antetokounmpo. 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 Saturday, McClure highlighted Cavaliers forward Evan Mobley as one of his top picks in his NBA DFS player pool on both sites. The result: Mobley had 33 points, 14 rebounds, three assists and three blocks, returning 62 points on DraftKings and 61.3 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 the beginning of the 2023-24 NBA season on Sunday and locked in his top daily Fantasy basketball picks. You can only see them by heading to SportsLine.

Top NBA DFS picks for Sunday, October 29
For Sunday, one of McClure’s top NBA DFS picks is Rockets guard Jalen Green, who is listed at $6,100 on DraftKings and $6,500 on FanDuel. The No. 2 overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, Green is now in his third season and averaged 22.1 points per game last year to lead the Rockets in scoring.

He shot 41.6% from the floor and 33.8% from the 3-point line, so he’s still somewhat streaky but his shot volume makes him a player with significant upside. Even with the additions of veterans Fred VanVleet and Dillon Brooks, Green is a cornerstone at 21 and you should have some level of exposure to him on Sunday night against Golden State.

Another part of McClure’s optimal NBA DFS strategy includes rostering 76ers center Joel Embiid ($10,700 on DraftKings and $11,200 on FanDuel). The reigning NBA MVP led the league in scoring (33.1 points per game) and also averaged 10.2 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 1.7 blocks and 1.0 steals per game.

He’s coming off a performance where he put up over 60 points on FanDuel and DraftKings on Saturday night against the Raptors. Now he’ll take on a Trail Blazers squad that is off to a 0-2 start after completing overhauling their roster this offseason. See McClure’s other NBA DFS picks right here.

How to set your NBA DFS lineups for Sunday, October 29
McClure is also targeting a player who could go off for massive numbers on Saturday 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.

2023 NBA picks, Oct. 29 predictions, best bets from proven model

After both teams made the playoffs in the Western Conference last season, the Los Angeles Lakers and Sacramento Kings will go head-to-head in an early-season matchup on Sunday. Each team is off to a 1-1 start with the Kings beating the Jazz but losing to the Warriors over their first two games. The Lakers were beaten soundly by the Nuggets in the season-opener but defeated the short-handed Suns on Thursday. Sacramento has won outright and covered the spread in six of the last 10 head-to-head meetings between these two in-state rivals

Tip-off is scheduled for 9 p.m. ET at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento. Sacramento is favored by 2.5 points in the latest Kings vs. Lakers odds from the SportsLine consensus, while the over/under is 235 points. Before entering any Lakers vs. Kings picks, you’ll want to see the NBA predictions from the proven computer model at SportsLine.

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 four-plus seasons. The model finished the 2022-23 NBA season on a 72-39 roll on all top-rated NBA picks, returning nearly $2,800. Anyone following it has seen huge returns.

The model has set its sights on Los Angeles vs. Sacramento. You can head to SportsLine to see its NBA picks. Here are several NBA betting lines for Lakers vs. Kings:

Kings vs. Lakers spread: Kings -2.5
Kings vs. Lakers over/under: 235 points
Kings vs. Lakers money line: Kings -142, Lakers +120
Kings vs. Lakers picks: See picks here
What you need to know about the Lakers
Los Angeles is coming off a 43-39 season where it finished seventh in the West and had to earn its way into the 2023 NBA Playoffs through the play-in tournament. However, the Lakers were able to dispatch the Grizzlies and the Golden State Warriors on their way to the Western Conference Finals before being swept by the Nuggets.

LeBron James is now in his 21st season and with the in-season tournament and new rules threatening heavy fines for resting players, the Lakers are attempting to cap the superstar’s minutes at 28-30 per night. However, James exceeded that limit to play 35 minutes in a win over the Suns on Thursday and it’s clear that there will be instances where he’s let loose, particularly against fellow contenders in the West.

What you need to know about the Kings
The Kings finished as the No. 3 seed last year but were eliminated in the first round by the Warriors in a thrilling seven-game series. De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis headline an impressive young roster and Sacramento led the NBA in scoring (120.7 ppg) and offensive rating (119.4) in 2022-23.

The offense looks similarly explosive in the early going, earning a 130-114 win over the Jazz on opening night and then suffering a 122-114 defeat to Golden State on Friday. Fox, Sabonis and Harrison Barnes are all averaging over 20 points per game over the first two contests and they’ll look to push the pace against an aging Lakers roster that they beat in three of four head-to-head matchups last season.

How to make Kings vs. Lakers picks
The model has simulated Lakers vs. Kings 10,000 times and the results are in. The model is leaning Over and it’s also generated a point-spread pick where one side hits almost 60% of the time. You can only see the pick at SportsLine.

Remembering LeBron James’ debut 20 years ago as NBA legend returns to where it all began

Before LeBron James was breaking the record for most points scored in NBA history, before bellowing CLEVELAND, THIS ONE’S FOR YOU!!! after winning his third championship and before he began piecing together a career that could be considered the benchmark for the greatest ever, he was a 18-year-old phenom making his NBA debut.

Twenty years ago to the day, October 29, 2003, James, who was drafted No. 1 overall by his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers four months after he finished high school, made his highly anticipated NBA debut against the Sacramento Kings. He finished the night with 25 points, 9 assists, 6 rebounds and 4 steals, laying the groundwork for what would become one of the greatest careers, if not the best, in NBA history.

Even with the enormous expectations and pressure placed on LeBron’s shoulders at the time of his NBA debut, he still surpassed those predictions over the course of 20 years.

During his first stint with the Cavaliers, while he didn’t win a championship in those first seven years, he led an improbable Cavaliers team to the 2007 NBA Finals. His Game 5 performance in the East finals against the heavily favored Detroit Pistons was early proof of the legendary career that was to come. So too was the iconic buzzer-beating, game-winning 3-pointer in Game 1 of the East finals against the Orlando Magic in 2009.

The next era of LeBron’s career, which started when he joined the Miami Heat in 2010 and was a highly controversial move at the time, is where he saw his most success. It’s where he earned his first two championships, in back-to-back fashion. As well as two of his four league MVP trophies, also in back-to-back seasons. LeBron’s Miami era is also where he was viewed as a villain for “The Decision,” where his words “I’m taking my talents to South Beach,” simultaneously broke the hearts of Cavaliers fans and ignited a Heat fanbase for years to come.

But after all that sunshine and success, LeBron sought a new challenge. So he returned home to Cleveland, but this time with significantly more help in the form of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. In what should be considered LeBron’s greatest accomplishment of his career, he led the Cavaliers to a 2016 championship over the juggernaut Golden State Warriors after being down 3-1 in the series. It was a redemption moment for LeBron and the city of Cleveland, and his block of Andre Iguodala in the waning moments of Game 7 to help win the title for the Cavs is amongst the greatest moments in NBA Finals history.

After those four years with the Cavaliers, LeBron’s next — and current — era began with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2018. Though his legacy is still being written with L.A., he’s already led the team to a championship in 2020, and became the all-time leading scorer in NBA history by breaking Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s record last season. He carried the Lakers to an unlikely Western Conference finals last spring, and he could very well do the same again next spring when he’ll be 39 years young.

While LeBron’s durability has been tested the most during his Lakers stint, he’s still performing near peak levels every time he puts up a monster performance. And while most players are nearing the end of their careers as they enter Year 20, LeBron has said multiple times his goal is to play with both of his sons in the league before he retires.

It’s been an illustrious two decades for LeBron, a career that even the best prognosticators couldn’t have predicted 20 years ago on this day when “The Chosen One” was suiting up for the first game of his career. Sunday night, LeBron will suit up for his 1,706th game against the same team that kickstarted his career, the Kings. It’s a full circle moment for James, who at 38 years old and 20 years in the league is still writing his legacy.

2023 NBA picks, Oct. 29 best bets from proven model

The Denver Nuggets (2-0) travel to play the Oklahoma City Thunder (2-0) in a Sunday afternoon showdown. This is the first of four matchups between Northwest Division foes. In 2022, Denver won three of the four regular-season outings. Both teams are off to a 2-0 start, making Sunday’s showdown a pivotal matchup early in the season.

Tip-off is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. ET at the Paycom Center in Oklahoma City. The Nuggets are 3.5-point favorites in the latest Nuggets vs. Thunder odds according to the SportsLine consensus, while the over/under for total points scored is 230. Before making any Thunder vs. Nuggets picks, be sure to see the NBA predictions and betting advice from the proven computer model at SportsLine.

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 seasons. The model finished the 2022-23 NBA season on a 72-39 roll on all top-rated NBA picks, returning nearly $2,800. Anyone following it has seen huge returns.

Now, the model has set its sights on Nuggets vs. Thunder and just locked in its picks and NBA predictions. You can head to SportsLine now to see the model’s picks. Here are several NBA odds and betting lines for Thunder vs. Nuggets:

Nuggets vs. Thunder spread: Denver -3.5
Nuggets vs. Thunder over/under: 230 points
Nuggets vs. Thunder money line: Denver -166, Oklahoma City +140
OKC: The Thunder are 5-1 ATS in their last six games
DEN: The Nuggets are 16-4 in their last 20 games against OKC
Nuggets vs. Thunder picks: See picks at SportsLine
Why the Nuggets can cover
Forward Aaron Gordon is an athletic two-way presence in the frontcourt. Gordon has been excellent at cutting and finishing around the rim. The Arizona product plays defense at a high level and will take on the opposing team’s best offensive player. He’s averaging 12.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, and four assists per game. On Oct. 24 versus the Lakers, Gordon had 15 points, seven boards, and five assists.

Guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope complements his teammates very well due to his ability to play off the ball and space the floor as a knockdown shooter. The Georgia product also plays outstanding defense and will jump into passing lanes. Through two games, he’s averaging 14 points, two rebounds, and four steals per game. In the win over the Lakers, he totaled 20 points and three steals. See which team to pick here.

Why the Thunder can cover
Guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has tremendous size and feel for the game in the backcourt. Gilgeous-Alexander gets to his spots on the floor with ease and has exceptional body control at the rim. The 25-year-old is leading the team in scoring (32.5), assists (7), and steals (3) to go along with eight rebounds per game. In Friday’s win over the Cavaliers, he finished with 34 points, 11 rebounds, and four assists.

Power forward Chet Holmgren has impressive length (7’1) with a knack for piling up blocks and rebounds. Holmgren hovers around the basket on both ends but can step out on the perimeter to knock down jumpers. The Gonzaga product is first on the squad in rebounds (8.5) and blocks (3.5) with 13.5 points per game. In his last outing, Holmgren notched 16 points, 13 rebounds, and seven blocks. See which team to pick here.

How to make Thunder vs. Nuggets picks
SportsLine’s model is leaning Over on the point total, projecting 238 combined points. The model also says one side of the spread has all the value. You can only see the model’s NBA picks at SportsLine.

Why the Grizzlies should be worried about their 0-3 start with tough 10 games ahead

It was always going to be a tough task for the Memphis Grizzlies to carry on without All-Star guard Ja Morant to start this season, but being winless through three games is still pretty surprising. Morant’s currently serving a 25-game suspension, resulting in the Grizzlies having to fill the void left behind by their franchise centerpiece for the time being.

Morant’s production is difficult to replace, but given Memphis went 11-10 without him last season, the overarching thought was that this team could weather the storm until he returned. But through the first three games of the season, Memphis has been paddling upstream, especially on offense. Memphis ranks 26th on offense, and while the defense is keeping them in games, it hasn’t mattered much when the team can’t score.

In the Grizzlies’ season-opening loss to the Pelicans, they were manhandled on the glass, losing the rebounding battle 52-37. That’s a far cry from the that ranked fourth in rebounds a season ago. In their second loss, a 108-104 defeat at the hands of the defending champion Denver Nuggets, turnovers — 21 of them to be exact — were an issue. In their third loss to the Wizards, a 25-point deficit early proved to be too much to overcome down the stretch. Each loss showed a different issue facing Memphis to start the season, some of which is due to injuries.

However, the Grizzlies’ upcoming schedule doesn’t suggest that this team can fully climb out of the early hold they’ve dug themselves in. Over the next 10 games, the Grizzlies have matchups against the Mavericks, Heat, Clippers, Lakers and Celtics.

Even the “easier” games on the schedule against rebuilding teams aren’t guaranteed wins. San Antonio has looked better out of the gates than many might’ve expected with No. 1 overall pick Victor Wembanyama. The Trail Blazers and Scoot Henderson are winless right now, but back-to-back road games always yield weird results. The Jazz were competitive all last season and could be a play-in contender. None of these games are easy wins, especially when considering how the Grizzlies have been playing.

Some help could be on the horizon for Memphis, as the team is reportedly signing center Bismack Biyombo to add depth to its frontcourt after losing Steven Adams to a season-ending knee injury. The veteran big man will help in the rebounding department, an area where the Grizzlies could use some help in Adams’ absence. Biyombo may be listed at 6-foot-8 but he’s garnered a reputation for being a solid shot blocker, ensuring that the Grizzlies have another rim protector outside of Jaren Jackson Jr.

But adding Biyombo isn’t going to solve every issue. Though Jackson Jr. has maintained his status as an elite shot blocker, his efficiency on offense has taken a dip to start the season, so too has his scoring. He’s also still struggling with fouling, averaging 4.7 a game so far.

That aside, the absence of Morant has just been a bigger issue than expected. One of the hallmarks of Memphis’ offense last season was scoring in the paint, ranking first in the league with 58.4 points a game. That was because of Morant’s elite ability to get to the rim at will and finish at a high clip. So far this season, the Grizzlies rank 25th, something that’s likely not going to change until Morant gets back.

With Morant’s return still far down the line, the Grizzlies have to figure out how to turn this early season setback around. Getting injured players like Luke Kennard and Santi Aldama will help Memphis with its depth issue, as will the addition of Biyombo. It’s also still incredibly early in the season, so it’s not time to hit the panic button just yet. But when you take a look at the Western Conference, losses like the ones Memphis has already racked up could mean a great deal down the line when playoff seeding is getting figured out.

Warriors’ Chris Paul to come off the bench for first time in his career vs. Rockets

Future Hall of Famer Chris Paul will come off the bench for the first time in his 19-year career on Sunday night when the Golden State Warriors take on the Houston Rockets. Paul started the first two games of the season, but will move to the bench now that Draymond Green is healthy from an ankle injury. Green will be on a minutes limit in Sunday’s contest.

Paul was traded to the Warriors in exchange for Jordan Poole in a deal with the Washington Wizards during the offseason. The questions about his fit and role started immediately, but Green’s ankle injury early in training camp ensured that Paul would begin the season as a starter. In the Warriors’ first two games, a loss to the Phoenix Suns and a win over the Sacramento Kings, Paul averaged 12 points and 10.5 assists in 33.5 minutes.

Though he played well, it’s little surprise that he’s moving to the bench. The Warriors’ primary starting lineup of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins, Green and Kevon Looney was limited to 27 games and 331 minutes last season due to injury, but when it was on the court, it was the best five-man unit in the league, outscoring opponents by 21.9 points per 100 possessions.

As great as Paul has been in his career, and still can be when healthy, it doesn’t make sense to split that group up. Though this is obviously a small sample size, Paul with those four as a 0.0 net rating in two games this season. As such, Paul will have to be the one to adjust, which he should be willing to do if he wants a chance to win his first ring. Plus, even though he’s now coming off the bench to begin games, there’s a good chance he closes on some nights depending on the match-up and how the game is flowing.

Having Paul run the second unit will be a major boost for the Warriors, who have routinely struggled with Curry off the floor. Last season they had a plus-5.8 net rating with Curry and a minus-2.3 net rating without him. While Paul obviously isn’t Curry at this stage of his career, he’s still an elite playmaker who will ensure that the offense runs smoothly.

Stephen Curry punctuates 3-point flurry by absolutely clowning Dillon Brooks

The Golden State Warriors won just 11 road games all of last season. They’ve already won two this season after escaping with a 106-95 win over the winless Houston Rockets on Sunday.

They have a classic Stephen Curry flurry to thank.

After being held down for most of the game, Curry, beginning at the 5:09 mark of the fourth quarter, laced 3-pointers on four consecutive possessions to balloon a one-point Warriors lead to 11 in less than two minutes. He punctuated the personal 12-0 run by doing Dillon Brooks in hilariously dirty fashion.

Steph’s reaction after hitting this shot on Dillon Brooks was comedy 😭

— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) October 30, 2023
You have to give Brooks credit. He defended Curry tough all night. But he didn’t know whether he was coming or going here; dude’s jumping around like a chicken with his head chopped off.

That said, at the risk of sounding like a buzzkill, am I crazy to say Curry actually should’ve been called for a double dribble there? Watch it again. Curry resumes dribbling after the ball pretty clearly comes to a full rest as he catches it on his hip.

Whatever. The officials missed it. It was more fun to see Brooks get cooked anyway.

“We know what he’s about and his reputation,” Curry said of Brooks. “I don’t get caught up in that. I just play basketball. You obviously let the game do the talking.”

As usual, Curry’s game indeed did plenty of talking when it mattered most, scoring 14 points over the final six minutes. After scoring just three points in the first half, Curry finished with 24 points, connecting on six of his 14 3-pointers.

The Warriors, now 2-1 on the season, have a quick turnaround as they hop on a plane to New Orleans to take on the undefeated Pelicans Monday night.

Chris Paul thrives off bench, continues to lift Warriors in non-Stephen Curry minutes

Prior to Sunday, Chris Paul had started all 1,365 games of his NBA career. But with Draymond Green back, Paul came off the bench against the Rockets and played a pivotal role in helping the Warriors escape with a 106-95 victory.

Paul finished with eight points, seven assists and five rebounds. The most important number: one turnover. The Warriors, dating back to their glory days, have long been plagued by two main problems: holding onto the ball, and surviving the non-Stephen Curry minutes. Paul effectively addresses both.

On Sunday, Curry came out of the game for the first time at the 4:10 mark of the first quarter, The Warriors were trailing by three. At the 7:42 mark of the second quarter, when Curry re-entered, the Warriors were up by 13.

Do the math, and the Warriors didn’t just survive the non-Curry minutes; they outscored the Rockets by 16 points in the eight and a half minutes he was off the floor. Who was on the floor during those minutes? Paul.

For the game, the Warriors outscored the Rockets by a team-high 22 points during Paul’s minutes. It’s a familiar number. When they defeated the Kings on Friday, they also won Paul’s minutes by 22 points. He posted 10 points and 12 assists (4-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio) in that one.

Trying to quantify what Paul clearly brings to the Warriors?

The word you’re looking for is stability.

Paul is clearly diminished in terms of his ability to create shots for himself, and really even for others. He looks relatively slow and has shown little pop on his patented mid-range shot. Sometimes you wonder if he can even get it off; when he does, it has been short more often than not.

But what you’re seeing is the value of an offensive organizer, and how much more that can mean to a team like the Warriors than, say, another erratically electric scorer like Jordan Poole, who exacerbated all of Golden State’s worst collective habits.

As the Warriors’ system spits out open shooters, Paul isn’t doing anything fancy; he’s just passing the ball where it needs to be passed. Notably, not to the other team.

Paul, who is yet to make a 3-point shot this season (I hate to say it, but it looks almost out of his range at this point), hit a couple of big mid-range shots down the stretch on Sunday. If he can get that going with the way he’s passing and protecting the ball, his value will go up even more.

As it is, he’s already paying major dividends.

LeBron James falls short against Kings on 20th anniversary of his NBA debut in Sacramento

The Sacramento Kings left LeBron James a sentimental gift at his locker on Sunday: a bottle of wine and a photograph from a game that was played on Oct. 29, 2003. The picture is so old that James, then just 18 years old, legally couldn’t have drank the wine when it was taken. But the night holds a special place in the story of his career. That game, a 14-point Kings victory, was the first James ever played in the NBA. Sunday was the 20th anniversary of that illustrious debut.

Sadly, it ended as the original did: a Kings victory. This one was a bit more difficult, as Sacramento needed overtime to overcome James and the Lakers, but there were a few more positive similarities that James will be able to look back on a bit more fondly. 

James notched 25 points in 42 minutes and 50 seconds on that night in 2003. He scored a few more points (27) with slightly less playing time (39 minutes and five seconds) this time around. There’s no easy way to track the list of players who have played over 39 minutes per game in the same city 20 years apart, but you can rest assured that it’s brief.

James looked back on that first night in the NBA ahead of Sunday’s battle with the Kings in a video with the Lakers social media team. Within it, he detailed the sequence that led to his first NBA basket.

20 years ago in Sacramento, @KingJames made his first career bucket.

Today, he returns on the anniversary of his NBA debut.— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) October 29, 2023

“Coming off a floppy action. Our coach at the time, Paul Silas, we used to run floppy and that’s like one of the most basic foundation plays,” James explained. “It’s two guards starting underneath, you got the two bigs on the block and you decide which side you want to come off of. So I was able to come off a pin down from our big. So I faded to the corner, took one bounce, and was able to just shoot over the top. I was nervous as hell, I’m not even going to hold y’all. It was my first game in the NBA, something I always dreamed about.”

Whatever dreams James brought with him into the NBA have now long-since been achieved. In 21 NBA seasons, he’s won four championships and four MVP awards. He is the league’s all-time leading scorer and perhaps its greatest player. It all started with that night in Sacramento 20 years ago. Two decades later, he’s still going strong.

If there’s any silver lining, he may not have won these two especially notable games against the Kings, but he’s beaten them plenty throughout the years. In 39 attempts, James has a 25-14 record against Sacramento. If he needs slightly fonder memories to look back on as he sips that wine, he’s got plenty to choose from.