Heat vs Knicks Picks and Predictions: Back Miami to Manhandle Randle

Julius Randle is having another fine season for the Knicks, but he's yet to face the Heat this year, and this team has proven to be his kryptonite in the past. Our NBA expert picks are bearish on his chances to make a positive impact tonight.

Last Updated: Feb 2, 2023 1:25 PM ET Read Time: 4 min
Julius Randle New York Knicks NBA
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The NBA season is moving quickly, as we are into February. Every game is now that much more critical as the stretch run approaches. 

For the New York Knicks, tonight is a big game, as they'll need to prove that they can beat a team like the Miami Heat. Julius Randle has a documented history of struggles against Miami, and tonight will be a great test.

For the Heat – winners of seven of their last 10 – this is a game where they'll have an opportunity to send a message to the Knicks, who feel they have a legitimate chance to avoid the play-in tournament this season. Bam Adebayo's presence on offense and defense is something to keep an eye on tonight.

Find out your best options with our free NBA picks and predictions for Knicks vs Heat on Thursday. February 2.

Heat vs Knicks best odds

Heat vs Knicks picks and predictions

Tonight's matchup between the Miami Heat and New York Knicks could be critically important, as these two teams will likely be battling for the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference and avoiding the play-in tournament. After a disappointing loss against the Los Angeles Lakers at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday, the Knicks will need to lean on their best players to dig out a win tonight. Like most nights, that is going to start with Julius Randle.

Randle – a physically imposing power forward – has been a force this season. After fans called for him to be traded from the team, he silenced many doubters this season, averaging 24.7 points and 10.9 rebounds. 

However, he faces a Heat team that he has yet to have great success against, averaging 16.5 points and 8.9 rebounds in 14 games in his career. Some teams don't have the athletes to keep up with the combination of strength and speed that Randle possesses with the ball in his hands, but Miami does. Bam Adebayo is an ideal athlete to take on the task of Randle, and has been a big part of the reason Randle hasn't been able to produce at a higher level against them.

He's been held to 11 points in each of his last two games against Miami, albeit both games were last season, when Randle wasn't playing well. However, his struggles against Miami weren't just a problem last year – his career shooting percentages of 41.5 percent from the field and 20.5 percent from 3-point range are revealing. Miami has been a good squad for many years, as they challenge teams to beat them in different ways. If the Knicks win tonight, I wouldn't expect it to be due to a Randle explosion.

Randle's struggles against Miami aren't an aberration. Historically and this season, the Heat continue to play well against opposing teams' power forwards. Miami is giving up 20.5 ppg to opposing power forwards this season, ranking fifth in the NBA.

Miami is a decent overall rebounding team (49.5% rebound rate), but they don't allow power forwards to beat them on the boards, only allowing 9.7 per game to the position, which is the 10th-best mark in the NBA. Randle hasn't recorded a 10-rebound game against the Heat in each of his previous four tries.

I'm taking the Under on Randle's combined points and rebounds total tonight.

My best bet: Julius Randle Under 36.5 points + rebounds (-118 at FanDuel)

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Heat vs Knicks spread analysis

Two of the most frustrating teams to analyze throughout the season are the Knicks and Heat. At one point or another, they've both looked like teams that are headed for the lottery, and other nights, like two teams that are locks to make the playoffs. Tonight is the first matchup of the year between these clubs.

Miami enters this game as narrow two-point favorites over the Knicks. The Heat have a 20-29-3 ATS record for the season, while the Knicks are 26-24-2. New York should do enough to cover the spread.

Miami currently averages 108.5 points per game for the season. It will be necessary for the Knicks to keep them at that number or lower, as New York is 18-0 ATS when surrendering 108.5 points or fewer. The Heat offense has yet to click as an entire unit all season, and it will be difficult for their inconsistent offense to combat the Knicks' defense, which gives up the 12th fewest points per game (112.7).

The Knicks are the home team, which doesn't mean a ton, as they're only 9-15-3 ATS at MSG this year. Miami will get the ball out of Randle's hands tonight, but anyone who closely watches the Knicks knows that's not bad. The team operates best when Jalen Brunson is most comfortable and taking command of the offense.

This one will be close, and I'll give the Knicks the ATS edge.

Heat vs Knicks Over/Under analysis

Given Miami's tough defense – combined with a Knicks offense that is as unpredictable as they come on a nightly basis – I'm leaning toward the Under tonight. The current line for the Over/Under is 216, which makes sense, as neither team possesses a scary offense that will score a ton of points.

The Under is 5-1 in Miami's last six games, and that trend will likely continue tonight. Sure, the Knicks have hit the Over a lot of late, but they last saw this level of defense some time ago. Miami is a smart defensive team – they won't allow Randle to dominate the ball and get to his comfortable spots on the court. Instead, they'll force him into lousy shots that tend to stunt the entire team's level of play on a given night.

Another thing to monitor is the recent fourth-quarter benching of RJ Barrett. The fourth-year wing hasn't had a bad season, scoring 20.1 points per game on 43.3 percent shooting from the field. After his benching, Barrett declined requests from reporters for an interview after the game, stating, "I have nothing to say." 

The usually ultra-professional Barrett was bothered by the move from head coach Tom Thibodeau, which could be something to keep an eye on. If the team's third-leading scorer isn't focused, that further supports my notion that the Under is the play tonight.

Heat vs Knicks betting trend to know

The Under is 4-0 in the Heat’s last four games when their opponent allows 100 points or more in their previous game. Find more NBA betting trends for Heat vs. Knicks.

Heat vs Knicks game info

Location: Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
Date: Thursday, February 2, 2023
Tip-off: 7:30 p.m. ET
Bally Sports Sun, MSG

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