Miami Heat vs New York Knicks (2/2 @ 6:30 PM EST)
Spread: Heat -1.5
Money Line: Heat -120 / Knicks +100
Overview and Betting Info
The Miami Heat (29-23) will head to the Big Apple on Thursday to take on the New York Knicks (27-25) in a battle of conference rivals. This is their first time meeting this season. The Heat are currently sixth in the East, with the Knicks two games behind in seventh.
Miami is 20-29-3 against the spread this season and has failed to cover four of their last six games. They have gone over the total 23 times but have been under in seven of their last ten.
New York is 26-24-2 versus the spread but has only covered two of their last eight games. They’ve gone over the total 27 times, including in five of their previous six.
The Heat enter Thursday winners of four of their last five games. Their offense has been a big concern, scoring a league-low 108.5 PPG. The lack of scoring has resulted from poor shooting ranking twenty-eighth in field goal percentage and twenty-sixth in three-point percentage. They are also in the bottom ten in rebounding and assists. Their defense has them third in the league in steals (8.5 SPG), but they are dead last in blocks (2.9 BPG). Their defense has improved over their previous five games, allowing 103.0 PPG.
The Heat are led by a trio of stars in Jimmy Butler (22.0 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 4.9 APG, 2.1 SPG), Bam Adebayo (21.4 PPG, 10.0 RPG, 1.1 SPG), and Tyler Herro (20.2 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 4.3 APG). Butler broke out of a mini-scoring slump to average 26.6 points over his last three games. He’s the team’s best shooter from the field, making 52.1% of his attempts. With Dewayne Dedmon out of the rotation, Bam is the Heat’s lone true big man. While he struggled to get blocks, he is fantastic on defense, with eight over their last five games. Herro is their best three-point shooter, making 37.2% of his attempts. He had a tremendous December but struggled in January by shooting 39.7% from the field and 31.6% from three.
The Heat’s role players have plenty of scoring talent, but they’ve been inconsistent all season. Victor Oladipo (11.2 PPG) was the best of the group last month, averaging 12.5 points despite making just 30% of his threes. Max Strus (12.4 PPG, 39% FG), Kyle Lowry (12.2 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 5.3 APG, 40% FG), and Caleb Martin (10.1 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 46 FG%) all had down scoring months in January. Martin is shooting the ball the best, making 46% of his attempts from the field. He has been rebounding well and is coming off a game where we scored 18 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Keep an eye on Gabe Vincent on Thursday, as he made 37.8% of his threes in January and has stepped up after the team lost Duncan Robinson.
New York Knicks
The Knicks will be desperate for a win on Thursday after dropping six of their last eight games. While it’s a tough skid, they also got two impressive wins against Cleveland and Boston. They have struggled at home this season, going 12-14 at Madison Square Garden. The Knicks are fifteenth in scoring (114.4 PPG) despite being twenty-fifth in field goal percentage (45.8%) and three-point percentage (34.2%). They’ve made up for their poor shooting by being third in rebounds (47.3 RPG). Their defense has been average, ranking twelfth in points allowed (112.7 PPG) despite being top five in opponent shooting percentage (45.4%) and three-point percentage (34.9%).
The Knicks are led by a trio of stars in Julius Randle (24.7 PPG, 10.9 RPG, 4.1 APG), Jalen Brunson (22.8 PPG, 6.2 APG, 39.5% 3PT), and RJ Barrett (20.1 PPG, 5.4 RPG). Randle leads the team in scoring and rebounds and has shot the ball well this year (45.8% FG, 34.1% 3PT). Containing his scoring will be necessary for Miami, as the Knicks are 11-4 when Randle scores over 30 points this season. Miami shut him down last season, holding him to a combined 22 points and 14 rebounds in two games. After a bit of a slump in December, Brunson snapped back in January by averaging 28.7 points and making 44.7% of his threes. His defense improved over their last seven games, with eight steals and six blocks during that span. Barrett is the streakiest of their shooters, though he made 45.4% of his shots last month. He shot well against Miami last season, including a 46-point performance where he hit 59.1% of his shots.
New York doesn’t have a ton of talent behind their three stars, but they have two impressive role players in guards Immanuel Quickley (12.7 PPG, 4.1 RPG) and Quentin Grimes (10.3 PPG). Both are talented shooters, and Quickley is coming off a fantastic January, where he averaged 15.4 points by making 52% of his shots. The area to watch Thursday will be the Knicks’ frontcourt, as they will again be without Mitchell Robinson (7.2 PPG, 8.9 RPG, 1.8 BPG). Jericho Sims (3.8 PPG, 4.7 RPG) has been starting in his place and has rebounded well, but his scoring could be better. He has a three-game block streak but was limited to thirteen minutes as the Knicks rode the hot hand in Isaiah Hartenstein (5.2 PPG, 6.2 RPG) against the Lakers. Hartenstein scored 16 points and grabbed 13 rebounds in their loss to the Lakers.
Free Pick: Under 213
It’s a low total for an NBA game, but this is the best bet on Thursday. On one side, we have a Heat team that is a defensive juggernaut but is one of the worst shooting teams in the league. On the other side, we have a New York team that is top five in opponent shooting percentage (FG and 3PT), but has also shot the ball poorly. Their leading scorer, Julius Randle, has struggled against the Heat by averaging 16.5 points against them in his career. He’s now been held to 13 or fewer points in three of their last four matchups.
While New York has been over in five of their last six games, the one under came against a Cavs defense that ranks close to Miami this year. The final score of that game was 105-103.
We’re banking on a low-scoring affair, taking the under for Thursday.