TheRX’s Top 3 NBA Picks for the Weekend: Trae Young Faces the Knicks Once Again

We’ve got you covered for the weekend with three NBA picks on Friday’s NBA slate.

Miami Heat vs. Dallas Mavericks

Friday, January 20, 2023 – 07:30 PM EST at American Airlines Center

Mavericks’ Terrible Defense

The Miami Heat haven’t excelled offensively this year. The Heat are scoring 112.6 points per 100 possessions while shooting an effective field goal percentage of 52.6%.

Miami at least limits turnovers to 13.8% but aren’t entirely active on the offensive glass. Still, the Mavericks haven’t been the best defense, giving the Heat a chance to play better offensively in this game.

Dallas allows 115.9 points per 100 possessions while giving up an effective field goal percentage of 55%. The Mavericks have been below-average in every significant category defensively this season, especially in free throw rate.

Dallas has a defensive free throw rate of 23, which ranks 28th in the NBA. They’re also allowing over 27% of offensive rebounds and earning fewer than 14% of turnovers.

What About Mavericks’ Offense?

On the other hand, the Mavericks have dominated offensively, scoring 116.5 points per 100 possessions. Dallas shoots a much higher effective field goal percentage of 56.8% and rarely turns the ball over. The Mavericks won’t dominate the offensive glass but usually get to the foul line at a high rate.

Miami gives up a 55.7% effective field goal percentage. They’ll give Dallas higher-quality looks, but the Heat also earn close to 17% of turnovers and usually keep most teams off the offensive glass.

The Pick

So while the Mavericks ultimately have the better offense, I like Miami’s defense to counter and think the Heat will be fine offensively against a weak Dallas defense. Miami’s red hot while the Mavericks are cooling off.

NBA Pick: Heat ML (-120) at BetMGM

Indiana Pacers vs. Denver Nuggets

Friday, January 20, 2023- 09:00 PM EST at Ball Arena

How Good Is Pacers’ Offense?

The Pacers are a below-average offense, earning 113 points per 100 possessions. The offense has shot an effective field goal percentage of 54% and turns the ball over 15.1% of the time.

The only area where the Pacers excel offensively is on the offensive glass. But the Nuggets are very good at holding teams away from the offensive glass, giving up just 25% of offensive rebounds.

Nuggets’ Defense Will be Tough

Denver’s not playing great defense, though. The Nuggets have allowed 114.9 points per 100 possessions and have allowed a 55.2% effective field goal percentage. But with Tyrese Haliburton injured, the offense looks abysmal for the Pacers.

On the other hand, the Nuggets are the best offense in the NBA, earning close to 120 points per 100 possessions.

The Pick

The Nuggets should be active on the glass and could earn more foul shots than average. But still, it takes two to tango, and the Pacers only added 108 against the Oklahoma City Thunder without Haliburton playing.

That’s concerning. Take the Under at the best sportsbooks.

NBA Pick: Under 237.5 (-110) at Caesars Sportsbook

New York Knicks vs. Atlanta Hawks

Friday, January 20, 2023 – 07:30 PM EST at State Farm Arena

The Knicks and Hawks have each earned one win against one another this season. The Knicks have lost two straight games, while the Hawks are on a four-game winning streak.

Knicks Control the Little Things

The Knicks have scored 116.1 points per 100 possessions but have still shot an effective field goal percentage of 52%. The Knicks score at a solid rate because they limit turnovers to 13.1% and earn 32% of offensive rebounds. New York is also top 10 in free throw rate offensively.

Meanwhile, the Hawks allow 28.4% of offensive rebounds and give up a free throw rate of 22. That’s an area where the Knicks can exploit the Hawks, despite Atlanta limiting teams to a 53.6% effective field goal percentage.

Don’t Let the Dallas Game Fool You

On the other hand, the Hawks aren’t that great offensively. They scored 130 against Dallas in their last game, but they only scored 112.7 points per 100 possessions while shooting an effective field goal percentage of 53.1%.

The Hawks limit turnovers to 12.8%. That should help the Hawks get shots up. But they’re also earning just 25.5% of offensive rebounds and have a free throw rate of under 20. The Hawks should get their fair share of offensive rebounds but don’t be surprised if the Knicks out-hustle the Hawks in this game.

The Knicks have held teams to a 52.8% effective field goal percentage and won’t allow as many free throw attempts as they’ll receive.

The Pick

I’ll back the Knicks, even on the road. Trae Young against the Knicks is always a fun battle. This game won’t be in Madison Square Garden, but it’s always fun when these two teams meet.

The Hawks beat the Knicks on the road in the first game, and then the Knicks won at home in the second. Hopefully, that trend continues in Atlanta’s first game against the Knicks at home.

NBA Pick: Knicks ML (+128) at FanDuel