Welcome to the Monday, January 7, 2019 edition of the NBA Best Bets column. Here, I’ll strive to identify one NBA bet for tonight I feel has profit potential at DraftKings Sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook, 888 Sportsbook, and BetStars Sportsbook.
Depending on the circumstance, I’ll hone in on moneylines, point spreads, or projected totals. Sometimes I may even touch on multiple metrics. Then, I’ll take you on a fairly deep dive as to why.
Please note we’ll be referencing only legal, regulated sportsbook betting odds and totals here at PlayPicks. A “pick” is a wager that, as of the time of this writing, we feel confident recommending. A “lean” is a wager we favor over the other side. This play could end up on our card with the release of additional information.
Season to Date:
ATS Picks: 20-14 (.588)
ATS Leans: 9-7-1 (.563)
Moneyline: 12-5 (.706)
Over/Under: 9-3 (.750)
1/7/19 NBA Betting Pick:
New York Knicks (10-29) vs. Portland Trail Blazers (23-17)
Over/Under Total: 221.5
The Knicks have unsurprisingly encountered some tough sledding this season in the absence of their best player, Kristaps Porzingis. The seven-footer continues to work his way back from knee surgery. New York has predictably encountered difficulty protecting the rim without their star big man. That’s helped lead to the boys from the Big Apple giving up the most points in the paint per contest (53.1), including the most over the last three (60.7).
However, the Knicks have also demonstrated offensive improvement over last season without Porzingis at their disposal. New York is averaging 107.8 points per game. While that figure still ranks in the bottom half of the NBA, it’s a nice improvement over the 104.5 points per contest they averaged last season. The Knicks have managed the uptick despite shooting a league-worst 43.2 percent. And, New York has proven capable of some impressive offense on the road at times. The Knicks have produced tallies of 113 (vs. Bucks), 118 (vs. Mavericks), 112 (vs. Hawks and Raptors), 124 (vs. Pelicans), 117 (vs. Magic and Celtics), 126 (vs. Hornets) and, most recently, 119 in a win vs. the Lakers on Friday night.
That output versus Los Angeles notably came with the Knicks playing on two days’ rest. That will once again be the case Monday. In fact, the game versus the Lakers is the only one New York has played in the last five days overall. The robust allotment of recent down time puts them in direct contrast to the Trail Blazers. Portland will be playing on its third game in four nights Monday. Their previous two contests haven’t exactly been cakewalks, either — the Blazers have had to tangle with the conference-rival Thunder and Rockets.
Then, when examining Monday’s elevated spread in favor of the Blazers, it’s prudent to look at Portland’s track record at home. Yes, the Blazers sport an impressive 15-7 mark at Moda Center. And they have a rock-solid 11-7 mark (61.1 percent) against the spread as home favorites. Yet they haven’t consistently won by Monday’s projected margin. Of Portland’s 15 home triumphs, nine have been by less than Monday’s 11.5-point number. It’s also worth noting that the Blazers had far from an easy time in their one prior meeting versus New York this season. Although Portland notched a win, it was by a narrow 118-114 score at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 20. The Knicks notably out-shot the Blazers in that game, 50.6 percent to 47.4 percent.
Finally, it’s worth noting New York has actually been a bit more successful on the road than on their home floor this season. Six of the Knicks’ 10 victories have come in away contests. And they’ve proven capable of playing competitively or managing outright victories in some tough environments. New York has beaten the Mavericks, Celtics and Grizzlies on their home floors. And, they recently fell by only seven to Denver at Pepsi Center and by five to the Pelicans at Smoothie King Center back on Nov. 16.
By the Numbers
The Knicks are 11-11-1 (50.0 percent) against the spread as a road team this season, including 10-10-1 versus the number as a road underdog. New York is also 5-3-1 (62.5 percent) against the spread after a win and 7-4 (63.6 percent) versus the number in non-conference games.
The Trail Blazers are 12-14 (46.2 percent) against the spread when playing with one day of rest this season. They’re also 10-12 (45.5 percent) versus the number following a win.
The Final Word
The Trail Blazers are the more talented team top to bottom at present. However, the disparity in rest between the two squads is important. New York has also proven capable of playing competitively on the road on multiple occasions. They should be able to muster at least a solid effort in this spot, even while playing across the country. The Knicks have been on the West Coast since late last week. Therefore, body clocks should be adjusted at this point. I’m counting on fresh legs and good overall health to allow the Knicks to slide in under a number that would prove daunting for most teams — even those with the Blazers’ talent — to cover more often than not.
The Lean: Knicks +11.5