Welcome to the Saturday, Feb. 9 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/Leans: 40-29-1 (.580)
Moneyline: 23-8 (.742)
Over/Under: 15-8 (.652)
2/9/19 NBA Betting Pick:
Toronto Raptors (40-16) vs. New York Knicks (10-44)
Over/Under Total: 217.0
The trade deadline annually presents an opportunity for contending teams to get even better. In the case of the Raptors, it appears an already elite squad may have taken it up another notch with the acquisition of Marc Gasol from the Grizzlies. Toronto had been getting by with an out-of-position Serge Ibaka manning the five this season. Gasol’s arrival gives them a legitimate center who also adds to the team’s extensive offensive firepower. Gasol is still considered questionable for Saturday’s game due to the league’s ongoing processing of his trade paperwork, but it appears he has at least a 50/50 chance of taking the court. Then, Kawhi Leonard, who missed Toronto’s last game Thursday versus the Hawks with a knee issue, is fully expected to play Saturday.
With a 40-16 record, the Raptors haven’t just enjoyed success on their home court. Toronto sports a solid 18-11 away record. They come in having recorded three straight road victories. They just missed a fourth when they dropped a two-point decision to the Rockets at Toyota Center on Jan. 25. By and large, the Raptors have taken care of business against inferior teams when traveling this season. Toronto owns a 10-1 record on the road versus teams with losing records. And although it unfolded on the Raptors’ home floor of Scotiabank Arena, it’s worth noting Toronto already walloped the Knicks by a 128-112 score on Nov. 10 in their one prior meeting this season.
Unsurprisingly, the Raptors sport impressive metrics on both ends of the floor in their road contests. Toronto is averaging 113.2 points per game when traveling, the fifth-highest road figure in the NBA. That’s partly the byproduct of the Raptors boasting the league’s ninth-highest road shooting percentage (46.4). On the defensive end, they’re yielding a modest 110.2 points per road contest. That places them just outside the top 10 in that category. Then, it’s also worth noting when the Raptors have won on the road, they’ve won big a fair share of the time. Eight of Toronto’s aforementioned 18 road wins have been by 12 or more points, with several of those actually coming against teams with winning records.
In contrast, the Knicks are the Eastern Conference’s cellar dwellers. Even a pre-deadline blockbuster trade that netted them some solid offensive pieces in Dennis Smith, Jr. and DeAndre Jordan hasn’t moved the needle. New York has lost 15 straight, and they’ve actually been at their worst at Madison Square Garden. The Knicks sport an unsightly 4-21 mark at MSG. That includes an ongoing 16-game skid there. Half of those losses have been by at least Saturday’s 12-point spread, and New York has dropped 10 home games by at least that much on the season.
That level of ineptitude is reflected in some of the Knicks’ home stats. New York is allowing a bottom-five figure in points per home game (113.2). They’re also yielding the sixth-highest home three-point success rate (35.9 percent). New York also gives up plenty of scoring near the basket at home. The Knicks yield the third-most points in the paint per game (51.6) of any team on its home floor. That happens to be a weakness the Raptors are well-equipped to exploit — they’re ranked in the top 10 with 49.9 points in the paint scored per contest.
Finally, it’s worth noting New York hasn’t come close to making up for its defensive shortfall at home with any offense. The Knicks are scoring the fifth-fewest points per game (105.3) of any home team. New York also owns the NBA’s lowest home shooting percentage (43.6), including the fourth-lowest three-point percentage (33.9). And the lack of scoring at MSG has been especially bad of late: the Knicks come into Saturday’s contest having failed to hit the century mark in five straight home contests. The fact New York is playing on the second game of a back-to-back after having had to travel Friday night isn’t likely to help their chances of a strong offensive effort either.
By The Numbers
The Raptors are 19-19-1 (50.0 percent) against the spread after a win this season. They’re also 6-4 (60.0 percent) versus the number in division games. Toronto has won its last two games by more than Saturday’s 12-point spread, and they own a 16-point win over the Knicks already this season.
The Knicks are 22-29-3 (NBA-low 43.1 percent) against the spread this season. That includes an 8-15-2 mark (34.8 percent) versus the number as a home team and a 6-11-2 tally (35.3 percent) as a home underdog. New York is also 3-6 (33.3 percent) against the spread on the second game of back-to-back sets, 15-26-2 (36.6 percent) versus the number after a loss and 5-6-1 (45.5 percent) against the spread in division games.
The Final Word
On paper, this is one of the bigger mismatches you’ll find in the Eastern Conference. It’s likely to play out that way on the court as well. New York simply can’t come close to matching the Raptors’ personnel, whether in the starting five or second unit. I, therefore, see the Knicks’ dubious home streak extending for another game. Moreover, despite the large spread and Toronto’s spotty track record overall against the number this season, I’m leaning toward the Raptors having enough here to accomplish the feat, especially if Gasol plays.
The Lean: Raptors -12
The Pick: Raptors moneyline