Welcome to the Monday, Jan. 28 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: 16-11-1 (.593)
Moneyline: 19-8 (.704)
Over/Under: 12-6 (.667)
1/28/19 NBA Betting Pick:
New York Knicks (10-38) vs. Charlotte Hornets (23-25)
Over/Under Total: 221.5
The Knicks found the loss column for the 17th time in 18 games Sunday night. As has often been the case, New York offered reason for optimism early in the game and even held a six-point halftime lead over the Heat before falling apart in the third quarter. Coach David Fizdale did his offense no favors by benching Enes Kanter for the third straight game. Without the big man’s 14.4 PPG and 10.8 RPG in the lineup, New York had only one double-digit scorer (Tim Hardaway, Jr.) in the starting five and lost the battle of the boards by a 46-39 margin.
The Knicks’ circumstances only get more challenging Monday. They had to travel to Charlotte after Sunday night’s loss. Monday’s contest will also be their third game in four nights. Then, Frank Ntilikina, who was already serving as the replacement for Emmanuel Mudiay (shoulder) at point guard, appears set to miss Monday’s game due to a groin injury he suffered Sunday. While that should push the capable Trey Burke into the starting five, it thins New York’s overall depth even further.
It’s also worth noting the road has frequently been unkind to the Knicks. New York sports a 6-21 record outside of Madison Square Garden. Of those 21 defeats, 11 have been by more than Monday’s inflated 12-point spread. And several others have come close — the Knicks have also lost by 10 and 11 twice apiece on the road as well. Interestingly, since notching a rare away win over none other than the Hornets at Spectrum Center by a 126-124 score in overtime Dec. 14, New York has dropped eight of nine road contests.
Speaking of the Knicks’ prior success against the Hornets, a couple of important circumstances regarding that game bear mentioning. One, it featured an epic fourth-quarter collapse by Charlotte. The Hornets blew a 16-point lead over the final 10:09. Additionally, Mudiay (34 points, eight assists), Kanter (15 points, eight rebounds), and Luke Kornet (13 points, six rebounds, three blocks, two steals) all played important roles in that contest. Mudiay and Kornet (knee) definitely remain out Monday, while Kanter is projected to be left out of the rotation yet again, barring an unforeseen change of strategy by Fizdale.
As futile as the Knicks have been on the road, the Hornets have been equally impressive at home. They sport a 16-8 record at Spectrum. Of those 16 wins, over half (10) have been by Monday’s 12-point spread or greater. Notably, some of those sizable victories have come against teams much more potent than New York. The sample includes a 19-point thrashing of the Kings, a 13-point defeat of the Nets, and an 18-point victory over the Pacers. Plus, Charlotte has prevailed over Eastern Conference powerhouses Milwaukee and Boston by single digits at home.
The Hornets‘ home metrics in several key categories bear out their dominance. Charlotte scores a solid 113.8 points per home game, a nice bump from the 110.3 they tally per road contest. Notably, New York allows the sixth-most points per away game (116.1). The Hornets’ 46.8 shooting percentage at home also ranks them in the top half of the league in that category.
Then, Charlotte plays appreciably better defense on its home floor, allowing 108.0 points per home contest compared to 115.0 when traveling. Considering the Knicks are scoring the sixth-fewest points per away contest (105.9), the defensive assignment shapes up as a very manageable one for the Hornets, especially with New York’s projected absences.
By The Numbers
The Knicks are 21-25-2 (45.6 percent) against the spread this season. That includes an 11-12-1 record (47.8 percent) versus the number as a road underdog. New York is 12-19-2 (38.7 percent) against the spread in conference games, 2-6 (25.0 percent) versus the number on the second game of back-to-backs, and 14-22-1 (38.9 percent) against the spread following a loss.
The Hornets are 25-23 (52.1 percent) against the spread this season. That includes a 14-10 mark (58.3 percent) versus the number as a home team, and 11-9 (55.0 percent) as a home favorite. Charlotte is also 18-13 (58.1 percent) against the spread in conference games and 13-11 (54.2 percent) versus the number in games following a loss.
The Final Word
There seems to be no end in sight to the Knicks’ struggles, and they have the added obstacle Monday of having to play on a second consecutive night after traveling late Sunday. In contrast, the Hornets were off this weekend, and Kemba Walker has confirmed he’ll play despite his neck discomfort. Large spreads can be a red flag, but I’m leaning toward it being warranted in this case, especially given Charlotte’s previously cited home track record.
The Lean: Hornets -12 (NOTE: In the unlikely event Kanter is announced as starting, my lean would move to Knicks +12)
The Pick: Hornets moneyline