Welcome to the Friday, March 15 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 Leans/Picks: 48-35-1 (.578)
Moneyline: 26-9 (.743)
Over/Under: 23-13-1 (.639)
3/15/19 NBA Betting Pick:
New York Knicks (13-55) vs. San Antonio Spurs (39-29)
Two teams that could hardly be heading in more opposite directions face off in San Antonio on Friday. The Knicks and Spurs come in with contrasting multi-game streaks. New York has now lost seven consecutive games although they’ve played competitively in many of them. Four of the Knicks’ last five losses have come by single digits. That includes games against the Pacers and Kings (twice). Two of those single-digit losses have come on the road where New York finds itself again Friday night.
Then, the Spurs are riding a six-game winning streak heading into Friday night. San Antonio has toppled some fellow postseason hopefuls during that span. The Spurs own victories over the Bucks, Nuggets, and Thunder during that stretch. However, their last four wins have come by single digits. That includes two games on their home floor of AT&T Center, the site of Friday’s interconference matchup.
Despite their abysmal record for the season, the Knicks have actually improved during the latter portion of the campaign following a blockbuster trade with the Dallas Mavericks. New York added Dennis Smith, Jr. and Deandre Jordan as part of that transaction, and they’ve had a positive net effect on their new club. Smith has formed a solid 1-2 tandem at the point guard spot with former starter Emmanuel Mudiay. While Smith has been ruled out Friday due to lower back issues, that simply elevates the capable Mudiay back into the spot he previously and impressively manned. The 2015 first-round pick is averaging a career-high 14.7 points on career-best 45.2 percent shooting across 26.1 minutes over 49 games this season.
Meanwhile, the ever-reliable Jordan has been as solid as in previous stops. The veteran big man is averaging 11.6 points, 12.2 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 1.2 blocks in 12 games with New York while shooting 65.1 percent. Much like the Smith-Mudiay combo at the point, Jordan and the emerging Mitchell Robinson have been highly effective down low. Robinson’s 7-foot-1 frame has facilitated multiple blocks in a whopping 16 straight games. He’s proven an adept scorer and rebounder on a per-minute basis in many contests as well and ensures there’s no dropoff when Jordan takes a breather.
Finally, the trade with the Mavericks also cleared the path to a starting role for the promising Damyean Dotson at shooting guard. With Tim Hardaway, Jr. now in Dallas, Dotson has jumped in with both feet. The 2017 second-round pick has scored in double digits in five of the last six games and is putting up 4.3 three-point attempts per game while draining them at a 38.3 percent clip. He’s also proven to be an above-average contributor in rebounds and assists for a two-guard, making him one of the more important components of this reinvigorated Knicks squad.
Then, the Spurs have been a dominant team at home, as their 26-7 record there corroborates. Yet that hasn’t always equated to the double-digit blowouts that would exceed Friday’s expansive spread. In fact, only seven of San Antonio’s 26 home wins have been by more than 13.5 points. The result of the one prior 2018-19 meeting between these teams is also worth noting. The Knicks notched a 130-118 win over the Spurs at Madison Square Garden on Feb. 24. And while Smith was present for that contest and contributed a 19-point, 13-assist double-double to help key the win, Jordan sat out with an ankle injury. Moreover, San Antonio had no answer for Mudiay, who’ll draw the start for Smith on Friday. He totaled 19 points in just 19 minutes off the bench on the strength of 8-for-10 shooting, including 3-for-5 from three-point range.
By The Numbers
The Knicks are 18-11 (.621) against Friday’s spread in their road losses this season.
The Spurs are only slightly profitable against the spread as home favorites (13-11, 54.2 percent) and in games following a win (20-18, 52.6 percent). They’re also 7-19 (26.9 percent) versus Friday’s spread in their home wins this season and lost the one prior meeting with New York by 12 points.
The Final Word
New York would be hard-pressed to snap its losing streak in this spot, but that doesn’t mean they’ll get blown out of the water. The spread here is quite wide, even when factoring in Smith’s absence. As mentioned above, the Knicks have the depth to deal with his injury, and they’ve been playing teams tough on many occasions recently. While I still see the Spurs emerging with a win, I’m envisioning a Knicks cover.
The Pick: Knicks +13.5, Spurs moneyline