Welcome to the Friday, Jan. 25 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: 20-16 (.555)
ATS Leans: 15-10-1 (.600)
Moneyline: 17-8 (.680)
Over/Under: 12-5 (.706)
1/25/19 NBA Betting Pick:
New York Knicks (10-36) vs. Brooklyn Nets (26-23)
Over/Under Total: 223.0
You wouldn’t know it by their record, but the Knicks have been a tough out on multiple occasions this season. And despite a current stretch of ineptitude that’s seen them drop 15 of their last 16 games, they’ve demonstrated an ability to rise to their level of competition in some recent contests. New York has lost by only four to the Rockets, by one to the Wizards, by three to the Sixers, and by seven to the Nuggets over their last nine games.
Additionally, the Knicks have proven a pesky matchup for their crosstown-rival Nets. New York dropped a narrow 107-105 decision to Brooklyn in their one Barclays Center meeting this season. The Nets needed a driving layup from Caris LeVert with one second left to prevent overtime and steal the win. Then, the Knicks dominated Brooklyn 115-96 at Madison Square Garden in the rematch on Oct. 29. New York drained an impressive 48.5 percent of its shots in that game while limiting the Nets to a pedestrian 40.5 percent success rate, including 28.9 percent from three-point range.
The Nets then won the rubber match on Dec. 8. However, like the first game between the two teams, victory didn’t come easy. Down by 17 entering the fourth quarter, the Knicks roared back to get as close as 110-104 with just under a minute remaining. Despite the defeat, the Knicks shot an impressive 47.0 percent from the field. Additionally, it’s noteworthy that Brooklyn’s leading scorer D’Angelo Russell (19.3 PPG) has been consistently frustrated by the Knicks’ defense. He’s shooting just 36.1 percent on his way to a lackluster average of 12.3 points across 30.3 minutes in his three games against New York.
Then, it’s also worth noting that despite their 14-11 home record, the Nets have played quite a few close games at Barclays. Of those 14 victories, 10 have been by fewer than Friday’s 9.5-point spread. Brooklyn has also proven to be a more vulnerable defense on their home floor. The Nets have allowed 113.1 points per contest at Barclays. That’s a jump from the 110.1 they allow on the road and also ranks as the sixth-highest figure allowed by any team on its home floor.
The Nets have also yielded a robust 46.6 percent shooting percentage at home. That too ranks as a bottom-10 figure. Some of the Knicks’ more accomplished offensive assets have enjoyed success versus Brooklyn as well. Tim Hardaway, Jr. is averaging 20.3 points per contest in his three cracks at the Nets this season. Then, emerging rookie Kevin Knox is averaging a solid 12.0 points on 50.0 percent shooting, including 60.0 percent from three-point range, in two games versus the Nets.
And Enes Kanter, who it should be noted logged a DNP-CD in New York’s game versus the Rockets on Wednesday, nevertheless has averaged 22.3 points and 13.0 rebounds versus the Nets across 29.3 minutes in three games. Coach David Fizdale changed the lineup prior to the game against the Rockets after initially telling Kanter he’d start in the absence of Luke Kornet (ankle). Given his past success versus the Nets, there’s certainly a chance Kanter suits up Friday.
By the Numbers
The Knicks are 11-11-1 (50.0 percent) against the spread as road underdogs this season. New York is also 12-10-2 (54.5 percent) versus the number in games they’ve played on one day’s rest and 5-5 (50.0 percent) against the spread in division games.
The Nets are 5-5 (50.0 percent) against the spread as home favorites this season.
The Final Word
Despite the opposite directions in which these teams are heading, division games can be tricky. The Knicks have proven they have what it takes to play the Nets tough over their three encounters this season. And as mentioned earlier, many of Brooklyn’s home victories have been tight and have come in under Friday’s elevated spread. Therefore, I’m leaning toward New York generating another competitive effort against a winning team and sliding in under the 9.5-point number despite a Nets win.
The Lean: Knicks +9.5
The Pick: Nets moneyline