Mar 12, 2023; Los Angeles, California, USA; New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) shoots the ball against Los Angeles Lakers forward Troy Brown Jr. (7) in the first half at Crypto.com Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Another light schedule on tap today, but the Gallery Sports staff have collaborated and isolated three plays we like as a follow-up to Tuesday’s 2-0-1 performance.
6 p.m. CT: NIT Quarterfinals: UAB Blazers at Vanderbilt Commodores
The Pick: UAB +1.5 (-120) at BetMGM
UAB travels to Nashville for a road game versus Vanderbilt in the quarterfinals of the NIT, with a trip to Las Vegas for the NIT semifinals on the line. The Blazers have been hot for almost two months, going 14-2 over their last 16 games, their only two losses coming against North Texas in two overtimes and in the Conference-USA title game to current Sweet 16 participant Florida Atlantic. UAB’s engine is senior point guard Jordan “Jelly” Walker, who averages 22.6 points per game and shoots just shy of 40% from beyond the arc. The Blazers have been excellent on offense when Walker is available to play, and couple his electric scoring with the nation’s eighth-highest offensive rebounding percentage. With 7-footer Liam Robbins unable to play for Vanderbilt, UAB will likely see an even larger rebounding advantage that gives Walker extra opportunities when he does miss. Vanderbilt needed a miraculous comeback to topple Michigan, while UAB has been crushing teams so far in the NIT. I do not believe what is expected to be a light crowd at Memorial Gymnasium will negatively affect the Blazers, who have the fifth-most experienced team in the country per KenPom.
6:30 p.m. CT: NBA: N.Y. Knicks at Miami Heat
The Picks: Over 222.5 (-112) at BetRivers, Knicks +2 (-110) PointsBet
These are two teams that have the reputation of playing in low-scoring, slow-paced basketball games regardless of opponent, but even more so versus each other. Well, over the last 20 games, those reputations are unfounded, and the lines do not fully reflect that, so we see good value in the over. The Knicks are fifth in the NBA in scoring over their last 20 games, averaging 118.4 points per outing in that span. The Heat have not been nearly as prolific but still, average almost 111 points over their last 20 contents. It’s the Heat’s recently vulnerable defense that makes this play even more enticing, with Miami allowing 113.3 points per contest over its last 20 outings, good for 12th in the association, while ranking just 22nd in defensive efficiency. New York’s offensive efficiency has ranked third in the league during that span. When you put this all together, despite these two teams ranking in the bottom third of the NBA in pace during this 20-game sample, the Knicks’ offensive success combined with Miami’s recent ordinary defense make this look like a game that will quite likely go north of 230, making the over look like a great spot here.
As for the spread, this one is simple. Despite the Knicks having to go on the road, they have been the better team lately and are the healthier team with all their rotation pieces ready to go in this one, while the Heat may be without Kyle Lowry and Caleb Martin, who are both game-time decisions. Plus, New York can win on the road, as their 22-14 road mark can attest to. This looks like a spot where the Knicks could pick up the outright win, but the Heat are always tough at home, so the two-point cushion in what should be a close game seems the way to go.