Miami Heat vs Indiana Pacers Prediction: Backing the Unlucky Pacers

Jonathan Macri makes his two picks from Tuesday's NBA games including backing the unlucky Indiana Pacers.
Jonathan Macri |
Tue, December 21, 11:17 AM EST | 5 min read
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Miami Heat vs Indiana Pacers Prediction: Backing the Unlucky Pacers

Miami Heat vs Indiana Pacers Odds

Through more than 30 games of this NBA season, no team has been unluckier than the Indiana Pacers.

That’s what the numbers say, at least. According to Cleaning the Glass, based on their point differential, they have 4.6 fewer victories than their expected win total. In other words, even though they are just 13-18, Indiana has a point differential closer to that of an 18-13 team.

Better yet, they’re trending in the right direction. Over the last six games, the Pacers have the eighth-best net rating in the league at a positive 4.4. That stretch includes convincing wins over the Knicks and Mavs and a close loss to the Warriors.

They’re also not immune to the occasional bad loss, and look no further to the last time they played Miami for proof of that. Back on December 3, the Pacers lost by nine at home to a Heat team missing Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, and Markieff Morris, in part because they allowed Miami to shoot 16-for-34 from deep while Indy went just 9-for-36.

Hot-shooting leading to wins has been par for the course for the Heat all season long. In their last 10 games, Miami’s wins have seen them shoot 40, 44, 46, 47, and 54 percent from deep, while in their losses, they’ve shot 27, 30, 32, 34, and 39 percent from long range.

Fast forward to this game, where P.J. Tucker and Caleb Martin both join Butler and Bam on the sidelines, while Tyler Herro is questionable. Their walking wounded status is part of why they just lost to the Pistons, ending Detroit’s 14-game losing streak. They simply don’t have the bodies right now to field a competitive roster on most nights.

This is as good a chance as Indy will have to get a W and avenge their loss from a few weeks ago. You hate giving points on the road, but if ever there were a time to do it, it’s here.

Miami Heat vs Indiana Pacers Pick

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New York Knicks vs Detroit Pistons

Click Here For Knicks vs Pistons Odds

The reeling Knicks giving nearly 10 points to a team coming off a win to end a double -digit losing streak? If ever something felt like a trap, it’s this line.

We can start with the fact that no team in the NBA has a worse home margin of victory (-2.4) or home margin against the spread (-8.4) than the Knicks, who have been solid road warriors this season but have struggled mightily in their own arena, almost regardless of the opponent. Keep in mind that they lost to the 6-win Orlando Magic at MSG twice and nearly dropped a game there to the reeling Rockets when Houston was still in the midst of their long skid.

New York is also 2-8 in their last 10 games and is missing half of its rotation, including almost all of the bench mob that has been the lone bright spot this season. They may get one reinforcement in the form of Obi Toppin, who reached 10 days in health and safety protocols yesterday and could be available for tonight’s game.

That should help a bit, but Toppin can only do so much to fix New York’s biggest issue at the moment: Julius Randle, last season’s 8th place finisher for MVP, has been bad. Over the last six games, he’s shooting 36 percent from the field and the Knicks are getting outscored by an average of 11.8 points during the 36 minutes a game he’s played. In the minutes he’s sat, they’ve outscored their opponents by 30.

The Pistons don’t really have a good option to put on Randle with Jerami Grant out, although they could opt to put their center, Isiah Stewart on him, like some other teams have been doing since New York doesn’t have a center who can do much on offense when they have the ball.

All things considered, the Knicks probably come out with a much-needed W here, but they haven’t earned the benefit of the doubt to get a spread this big against any team. Take the points on the road.

New York Knicks vs Detroit Pistons Pick

Dean of Knicks Film School, host: KFS Pod, co-host: Pick N Pod. There isn't much about Knicks basketball that Jonathan doesn't know and he's here to break down the big games each and every week.

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