Knicks, Heat, Suns Make Up NBA Saturday's Betting Trifecta

My 2-0 in the NBA Friday was much needed after taking a 0-3 sweep Thursday. I'm going back to the well with the Heat when they visit the Magic as well as taking shots in the Knicks-Clippers and Kings-Suns matchups.

BUYER BEWARE: We are in the NBA’s “load management” and "tanking" eras. It might be best to wait until the final injury reports are released before placing a bet.

New York Knicks (39-29) at Los Angeles Clippers (35-33), 4 p.m. ET

Knicks-Clippers is like my two brothers fighting. On one hand, I have way too much money tied up in LAC winning the NBA title and still have hope those bets cash. On the other hand, I'm a NYK fan.

Also, I live in Long Beach, California and will be attending this 4 p.m. ET tilt at the Arena in LA. However, as a Knicks fan, I'm obligated to take New York plus the points Saturday.

Do I want to make this bet? No. Do I have a choice? Nope. Especially since Knicks PG Jalen Brunson is ruled out with foot soreness. But, it should be a law that you have to bet your favorite team when seeing them live.

LAC beat NYK 134-128 in overtime in their 1st meeting at Madison Square Garden. The Knicks out-performed the Clippers in three of the "four factors" and were missing starting C Mitchell Robinson.

Per (CTG), New York scores 6.1 more points per 100 possessions in non-garbage time with Robinson on the floor. Plus Robinson is the anchor of NYK's defense.

Knicks combo guard, and NBA Sixth Man of the Year favorite, Immanuel Quickley can step up in Brunson's absence. Quickley massacred the Celtics last weekend for a career-high 38 points.

As a starter this season, Quickley is averaging 18.9 points per game (PPG), 4.9 rebounds and 4.9 assists. Quickley has a +8.0 adjusted on/off net rating, according to CTG.

LAC's biggest weakness is their point guard position. They signed Russell Westbrook last month to address this concern but Westbrook cannot play defense. There isn't a Clipper that can stay in front of Quickley.

Finally, the Knicks are 22-11 against the spread (ATS) on the road and the Clippers are 7-13 ATS at home vs. teams with a winning record.

NBA Best Bet #1: Knicks +5 (-110) at DraftKings Sportsbook, down to whatever

Miami Heat (36-32) at Orlando Magic (27-40), 7 p.m. ET

I like fading the Magic because the NBA clowns at The Ringer talk about Orlando wings Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner like they are primetime LeBron and D-Wade.

Unfortunately, that site is an NBA thought leader because of which even the betting market overrates the Magic. More importantly, Orlando's defense has been terrible lately.

Over their last five games, the Magic have the 2nd-worst defensive rating in the NBA and have allowed at least 131 points in three of those contests.

The Heat beat the Cavaliers at home Friday and there is a concern that Miami could rest starters in the 2nd of a back-to-back (B2B). But, this is a short road trip so I'm willing to take the risk.

Also, if Jimmy Butler plays, he should light up the Magic. Butler has only played in half of Miami's 10 B2Bs this season. However, Butler has been unreal since the All-Star game.

Butler is averaging 25.0 PPG on 74.9% true shooting (.645/.7714/.837) with 6.4 rebounds, 5.3 assists and has a +34.0 net rating (nRTG) in his nine games post-All-Star break.

In his two games vs. Orlando this season, Butler is averaging 25.5 PPG on 50.0% shooting with 6.5 rebounds, 6.0 assists and has a +26.0 nRTG.

If this game comes down to the wire, gimme Miami all day. The Heat are 27-21 overall in "clutch" games with the 4th-best nRTG at +12.3. Whereas the Magic are 14-21 in those games with a -16.8 nRTG (ranked 29th).

NBA Best Bet #2: Heat moneyline (-140) at DraftKings, up to -150 before laying up to -3 with Miami

Sacramento Kings (39-26) at Phoenix Suns (37-29), 9 p.m. ET

First things first, Suns will be motivated by being behind the Kings in the West and trying to prove they'll be okay without Kevin Durant who is out with an injury for a few weeks.

Devin Booker has been on-fire since the All-Star game and has lit up the Kings this season. Booker is averaging 33.5 PPG post-All-Star break on 55.0% shooting (42.9% from 3) with a +16.0 nRTG.

In the 1st two Suns-Kings meetings this season, both of which Phoenix won and covered, Booker is putting up 38.0 PPG on 62.5% shooting with a +20.0 nRTG.

I expect Booker's success vs. Sacramento to continue because the Kings cannot stop a nosebleed. They are 25th in non-garbage time defensive rating while the Suns are 7th, according to CTG.

Furthermore, Sactown is 3-8 vs. top-10 defenses on the road with a -11.4 adjusted nRTG (ranked 27th) and a -5.4 spread differential (27th), per CTG.

The Suns are dominating their division this season and since signing Chris Paul in 2020. Phoenix is 9-1 straight up (SU) and ATS vs. the Pacific division this season with a +11.1 spread differential.

Since 2020, the Suns are 7-1 SU and 6-2 ATS as home favorites of -4.5 or less vs. their division. Phoenix has a +9.8 SU margin and +6.9 spread differential in those games.

NBA Best Bet #3: Suns -3.5 (-115) at DraftKings, up to -4.5