NBA Odds & Picks: Our Staff’s Favorite Bets for Knicks vs. Heat, Magic vs. Trail Blazers (Tuesday, Feb. 9)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images. Pictured: Nikola Vucevic.
The NBA season rolls on Tuesday night with a seven-game slate anchored by an two national TV matchups: Houston Rockets vs. New Orleans Pelicans (7:30 p.m. ET on TNT) and Boston Celtics vs. Utah Jazz (10 p.m. ET).
NBA Odds & Picks
Knicks vs. Heat
Raheem Palmer: This full game total has been steamed up from 208 to 209 and while I understand going over on a total this low, I’m not seeing a high scoring game here. These two teams played Sunday afternoon with a final of 109-103 in a Heat win.
Both teams ran around expectation in regards to shooting, but it’s clear at just 93.9 possessions it was a slow paced game and we can expect the same Tuesday night — the Knicks play at the slowest pace (96.1) in the league while the Heat rank 19th (99.51).
All things considered, the second-quarter offensive explosion where combined for 71 points feels like a clear aberration as the Heat scored 36 points on 15-of-23 shooting (65.2%) and the Knicks scored 35 points on 13-of-19 shooting (68.4%). It was the highest scoring quarter of the game, but neither team shot above 50% for the rest of the game.
In fact, both teams had multiple quarters in which they had field goal percentages in the 30s so I can see a defensive struggle for much of this game.
Derrick Rose won’t be available for this game, so the Knicks won’t have that additional scoring boost tonight. For me, the way to attack this game is to play the first half under at 106.5 as these teams should play a hard fought game that comes down to the end as Sunday’s game did.
In close game where we’ll likely see fouls and free throws that could push this total over, I expect a slow start and will stick with the first half under.
Magic vs. Trail Blazers
Brandon Anderson: The Orlando Magic are having a nightmare season from an injury standpoint, but it’s been a dream season for prop bettors.
They knew they’d be missing Jonathan Isaac all season when he went down in the bubble, but Markelle Fultz was lost indefinitely just a few games into the season. It didn’t stop there.
Evan Fournier missed a few weeks in January, and he had barely returned when Aaron Gordon got hurt. Fournier is out again tonight, which means we’re down to just one Magic starter left: Nikola Vucevic.
If anyone cared at all about the Magic, Vucevic would deservedly be in the All-NBA conversation and maybe on the fringe of MVP conversations. He is absolutely carrying this tattered roster, racking up 23.1 points, 11.4 rebounds, and 3.4 assists a night and doing it with virtually no help most of the time. He’s shooting 48/42/85, not that far off from the vaunted 50/40/90 club as a big man with no one to get him clean looks.
Vooch is also playing his most minutes ever, and that should continue with Orlando missing so many guys. He has played at least 31 minutes in 18 of his 24 appearances this season, and he has double-digit rebounds in 14 of those 18 games (77.8%).
Vucevic typically only plays fewer than 31 minutes if Orlando gets blown out, and since the Blazers are an equally ravaged roster and an evenly matched team, it should be all systems go tonight.
You know the Montenegrin will get up for a post battle with Turkish Enes Kanter, as those two have battled frequently in the past. I like Vucevic to get the best of Kanter, and we project him at 12.3 rebounds, so I love this over. I’ll play it up to -145.