Welcome to the Monday, Feb. 11 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: 40-30-1 (.571)
Moneyline: 24-8 (.750)
Over/Under: 15-9 (.625)
2/11/19 NBA Betting Pick:
New York Knicks (10-45) vs. Cleveland Cavaliers (11-45)
Over/Under Total: 211.0
The season hasn’t been kind to the once-proud franchises of the Knicks and Cavaliers. Each squad expected some growing pains in the current campaign, but that doesn’t make the fact they own the two worst records in the Eastern Conference any easier to swallow. New York comes in particularly hungry for a victory. They last prevailed in a game Jan. 4, a stretch of 16 contests and counting.
The one sliver of optimism they can take into Monday’s game — besides facing a team in almost as bad of shape as they are — is that they’ve actually performed better on the road overall. The Knicks sport a 6-23 away mark, an unsightly record that, nevertheless, represents an improvement on their 4-22 tally at Madison Square Garden.
Despite the slight edge on the road, New York has still proven to be highly vulnerable on defense when traveling. The Knicks have allowed 109 points or more in 22 of 29 road contests. Then, half of those 22 games included tallies of 120 points or more. The sample also includes a 113-106 defeat at the hands of the Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena on Dec. 12. For the season, New York is allowing 115.7 points per road contest, the sixth-highest figure in the NBA. That’s partly the byproduct of the Knicks allowing a 47.6 percent success rate from the floor when traveling, seventh highest in the league.
Then, Cleveland hasn’t exactly been a defensive powerhouse on its home floor either. The Cavs are allowing a robust 112.1 points per game at QL Arena, placing them in the bottom 10 in the league. Moreover, no team allows more open looks on their home court than Cleveland: the 49.4 percent overall shooting and 39.2 percent success rate from three-point range they’re yielding rank as the highest figures in the NBA. The Cavs have allowed 115 points or more in 10 of their 27 home games, plus 114 in two other home contests.
While the Knicks don’t have the numbers on paper to take advantage of the Cavs’ defensive vulnerabilities, that could slowly be changing. They received an infusion of talent in their trade with the Mavericks a few days prior to the deadline. The two most prominent pieces still with the team following Wesley Matthews’ buyout — Dennis Smith, Jr. and DeAndre Jordan — appear to be hitting their strides.
Smith did put up a 4-for-17 clunker Saturday versus the Raptors. However, he’d scored 25 and 31 points in the two games prior, shooting 50.0 percent (20-for-40) in those contests. For his part, Jordan has three double-doubles in his first four games in the Big Apple. His most recent was arguably his best: the veteran big put together a 10-point, 18-rebound effort against Toronto. Naturally, the more the two ex-Mavs practice and play with their new teammates, the more their talent will come to the forefront.
And finally, the fact Kevin Love is set to take the floor for his second game since his long absence due to a foot injury also helps boost the overall offensive prospects of Monday’s contest. Love was restricted to a meager six minutes in his return Friday against the Wizards. He should be in for at least a slight bump in minutes Monday. He’ll still very likely log abbreviated playing time against the Knicks. However, he certainly has the talent to contribute points in a hurry.
By The Numbers
The Over is 16-12 (57.1 percent) in the Knicks’ road games. That includes a 15-11 mark (57.7 percent) in their games as road underdogs. The Over is also 22-22 (50.0 percent) in the games New York has played following a loss.
The Over is 13-12-2 (52.0 percent) in the Cavaliers’ home games. That includes a 21-21-2 mark (50.0 percent) in the games they’ve played following a loss.
Finally, the one prior meeting between the teams this season featured a combined total of 219.0 points.
The Final Word
For a game featuring a pair of clubs with two of the worst records in the NBA, this could actually turn out to be an entertaining, back-and-forth battle. Neither team’s defense is as horrid as its win-loss tally would suggest, but there’s certainly the potential for each to have one of its better offensive nights against the other. An appearance by Love for even 10-15 minutes would certainly contribute toward the Cavaliers’ scoring upside. With the total not set inordinately high, I see it being exceeded at least slightly in this battle of cellar-dwellers.
The Pick: Over 211.0