Welcome to the Friday, Feb. 1 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: 18-12-1 (.600)
Moneyline: 22-8 (.733)
Over/Under: 13-6 (.684)
2/1/19 NBA Betting Pick:
Boston Celtics (32-19) vs. New York Knicks (10-40)
Over/Under Total: 215.5
The Knicks have often been in the headlines, and often for the wrong reasons, this season. They trumped themselves yesterday, however, finalizing a blockbuster, multi-player trade with the Dallas Mavericks that’s arguably a mixed bag for New York for the time being. The Knicks jettisoned young franchise cornerstone Kristaps Porzingis — still working to come back from last season’s knee injury — and the talented likes of Tim Hardaway Jr., Courtney Lee, and Trey Burke. They netted the emerging Dennis Smith, Jr., expiring contracts in the form of Wes Matthews and DeAndre Jordan, and a pair of first-round picks that could certainly pay off handsomely down the road. However, for the immediate future, the mass exodus leaves the Knicks very short-handed against the Celtics. None of the team’s new players will take the floor Friday night.
The lack of fresh personnel figures to only exacerbate New York’s sluggishness suiting up for the fifth time in eight nights. The Knicks’ outlook is even further darkened by their failure to hit the century mark in four consecutive games.
However, there’s also a chance they get a bit of a boost Friday from a couple of unlikely sources, enough to at least keep New York competitive on their home floor versus a Boston squad they’ve already played tough in two of three prior meetings. Luke Kornet, who’s missed the last five games due to an ankle injury, is listed as probable. Then, the combination of a thin roster and a fatigued squad could force coach David Fizdale to unleash Enes Kanter, who he’s kept out of the rotation for all but nine minutes over the last five games.
The Knicks have proven a tough out for the Celtics on a couple of occasions this season. First, New York gave Boston all it could handle in an Oct. 20 battle at Madison Square Garden, falling 103-101. Then, the Knicks bounced back with a surprising 117-109 upset at TD Garden on Nov. 21, a game that comfortably exceeded Friday’s projected total. And although New York was walloped by a 128-100 margin Dec. 6 at TD, that contest also saw Friday’s projected 215.5-point tally easily eclipsed.
The elevated point totals allowed by the Knicks in the latter two contests weren’t necessarily unexpected: New York checks in surrendering the fourth-most points (115.0) in the NBA, including the second-most (114.3) of any team on its home floor. The Knicks are allowing the second-highest shooting percentage (47.6) of any team on their home floor, including the fifth-highest three-point percentage (36.0). Thus, 15 of New York’s 23 home games this season have exceeded Friday’s total.
For their part, the Celtics appear to finally be hitting their stride offensively. Boston has scored 112 points or more in six of the last eight games. That includes a trio of tallies over the 120-point mark. The Celts also fell short of that 112-point mark by just one point in one of the other contests during that sample. And while all but one of those games unfolded at home, Boston has scored 112 or more in 11 of 24 road tilts this season as well.
The Celtics should also be at full health Friday. Kyrie Irving, who missed the prior two games with a hip issue, is off the injury report altogether. His presence should naturally help Boston’s chances of racking up a healthy point total. That’s especially true considering how particularly depleted New York is at the point guard position. Emmanuel Mudiay (shoulder) and Frank Ntilikina (groin) both remain out Friday, and Burke is now in Dallas.
Finally, it’s worth noting the Celtics come in averaging a solid 110.0 points per game on the road while posting the sixth-highest three-point success rate (36.5 percent) of any team in away games. Their long-range marksmanship when traveling dovetails well with the Knicks’ previously cited struggles defending the three-pointer at MSG.
By The Numbers
The Celtics have exceeded their projected total in 30 of 51 games (58.8 percent) this season. That includes in 14 of 24 road games (58.3 percent), and in nine of 17 games as road favorites (52.9 percent). Boston has also exceeded its projected total in six of 11 division games (54.5 percent) and in 20 of their 31 games following a win (64.5 percent). Finally, the Celtics have exceeded their projected total in 20 of the 32 games (62.5 percent) they’ve played on one day’s rest.
Then, the Knicks have exceeded their projected total in 25 of 50 games (50.0 percent) this season. That includes eight of their 16 games (50.0 percent) as home underdogs. New York has also exceeded its projected total in 21 of their 39 games following a loss (53.8 percent).
The Final Word
New York is likely to feature a very tight rotation due to their new trade acquisitions being unavailable. Then, there’s the five-in-eight-nights fatigue on top of that. However, the fresh legs of Kornet and possibly Kanter could give the Knicks some much-needed juice. New York’s exceedingly thin roster could very possibly lead to a Celtics blowout and Boston consequently taking its foot off the gas late, but the total is modest enough where I still see it being exceeded.
The Pick: Over 215.5