NBA Pick: Heat & Knicks Will Stay UNDER the Betting Total Tonight

Jay Pryce

Sunday, February 28, 2016 2:05 PM GMT

Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016 2:05 PM GMT

The Heat and Knicks have engaed in some low-scoring contests this season, and a host of injuries may keep this matchup a defensive battle once again. Pick and analysis inside.

The Heat and Knicks meet for the fourth and final time in the regular season at Madison Square Garden on Sunday night (7:30 p.m. ET). The three prior games garnered an average total score of 178.7 points and one can expect another low-scoring contest tonight.

 

Miami Heat (32-26 SU, 29-28-1 ATS)
The Heat's injury woes continue to plague them. They only dressed 10 players in their 101-89 defeat to the Celtics last night. Star PF Chris Bosh has not suited up since the All-Star break, dealing with another dangerous blood clot scare, while Beno Udrih (foot) and Josh Richardson (shoulder) the latest victims to sit out. Dwyane Wade has bravely played through shoulder pain much of the season, and C Hassan Whiteside has missed a few games to hip and leg problems. GM Pat Riley, desperate for bodies, lured Joe Johnson to Miami a day ago following his buyout with the Nets, but it is unclear if he'll play in tonight's game.

For Miami, good ball control teams like the Knicks Are a killer offensively. New York's 13.8 turnovers per possession is eighth best in the NBA. When the Heat tip off against an opponent gifting fewer than 14.6 turnovers a night, they have failed to reach their team total in 23 of 35 games (94.3 ppg) with the UNDER going 28-6-1. Against teams gifting more, the market is more consistent. Miami scores above their team total in 12 of 22, scoring 100.8 per contest. The OVER is 13-9 in this scenario.

Heat PG Goran Dragic is averaging 19.8 points in five games since the All-Star break and may be in for another solid night. In his career, he is 20-of-42 from the field against the Knicks backcourt tandem of Arron Affalo and Jose Calderon when they are the closest defenders.

 

New York Knicks (25-35 SU, 30-28-2 ATS)
New York's 108-95 win over the Magic and on Friday gave them two victories out of five games following the All-Star weekend, gathering a little momentum after losing 10 out of 11 headed into the break. But any steam may be lost against Miami as the Knicks' top three scorers Carmelo Anthony (21.4 ppg), rookie Kristaps Porzingis (14.1 ppg), and Affalo (13.9 ppg) all sat out of Saturday's practice with what new coach Kurt Rambis declared as dealing with “little things.”

This is questionable news for Knicks fans since its already challenge for their to score. Their 99.4 points per game ranks 23rd in the league, and their effective field goal percentage of 48.3 is better than only the Bulls, Nuggets and Lakers. The Heat were going to be a challenge to put up points against even without yesterdays' news, as they allow a sixth best 43.8 opponent shooting percentage. When the Knicks tip off against a team yielding 45 percent or higher, the NBA average, they score 102.6 points per game (45.3 percent from the field) versus 96.7 (43.1) to those below the mark.

Outside of its league-leading 81.0 percent free throw percentage, New York is best on offense when leading-scorer Carmelo Anthony is on his game. Shooting 42.4 percent from the hardwood, when he's better than this on the night, the Knicks are 16-8 ATS and scoring 101.6 points per game. Anthony will likely matchup with the Heat's Luol Deng.The former Bulls forward has been the better in the matchup over the years, holding the Knicks star to 33-of-86 shooting lifetime.

 

Final Analysis
The Heat started the year 13-3 to the UNDER with NBA odds board makers scrambling to adjust the number. The totals have leveled out some, but Miami continues to cash tickets with low-scoring affairs when conditions are favorable. With so many players nursing injuries, coupled with New York and Miami's slow pacing, UNDER 198.5 looks like a gift of an NBA Pick for Sunday night.

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NBA Pick: Under 198
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

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