This week’s edition of the Thursday night doubleheader on TNT features an NBA betting matchup from each conference and the opener should be one of the most-watched games of the season to date as New York takes their surprising start to Miami. In the nightcap, Dallas heads to Phoenix in a Western Conference showdown to wrap up the night.
New York Knicks @ Miami Heat
Odds: Heat -7
This will be the second half of a back-to-back for the Knicks, who face Charlotte on the road on Wednesday night. Carmelo Anthony powers the offense, Tyson Chandler leads the defense, and everyone fills in their roles in between. The real key may be a motivated J.R. Smith, who is talented enough to do it all, but hasn’t fulfilled his potential yet during his NBA career.
Even though LeBron James put up his 33rd regular-season triple-double, Miami still lost in Washington on Tuesday night and that is only give them extra motivation against the Knicks, who were eliminated from last year’s postseason by the Heat. James has great career numbers against the Knicks and seems to love playing against them, taking his personal duel with Anthony to another level when the two meet.
The extra day off should benefit Miami while the Knicks could be a little slow coming out of the gate, and you can rarely afford to get down early against the defending NBA champions. Basketball betting handicappers should note that the Heat have won seven of the last 10 meetings with the Knicks, who have won just once in their last 10 trips to South Beach.
Pick: Heat -7
Dallas Mavericks @ Phoenix Suns
Odds: Suns -3
The Mavericks are trying to keep their head above water until Dirk Nowitzki returns from a knee injury, and like the Knicks, this will be the second half of a back-to-back on the road as they play the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday. O.J Mayo has tried to carry the team with 20.2 points, but ranking 22nd in the league in points allowed isn’t going to help.
The Suns are much worse defensively, coming in 30th in the NBA in points against, and they no longer have Steve Nash to run their high-octane offense. Goran Dragic has definitely improved as a player, but he’s no Nash and the Suns are struggling to find their identity in the post-Nash era. At least they have a legitimate big man in Marcin Gortat when the game slows down, and Luis Scola is a tricky player who can score in the paint.
Dallas has won eight of the last 10 against the Suns, who have managed to split the last 10 at home with the Mavericks. Usually, Nash playing his former team and his good friend, Nowitzki, would be the headlines for this game, but with neither in uniform (Nash hurt in Los Angeles with the Lakers, Nowitzki still recovering from his injury), these two teams will still look to put on a show after what should be an exciting opener to Thursday night’s TNT doubleheader.
Pick: Mavericks +3