The New York Knicks have been one of the most pleasant surprises of the season so far, what with their lockdown defense, unique brand of basketball, and astonishing success. The San Antonio Spurs, on the other hand, have basically run the race most people saw them running this year: a team that has a mix of vets and youngsters that don’t mesh too well and has been on the fringe of the playoff picture for most of the campaign.
Free Picks: New York Knicks vs. San Antonio Spurs
Knicks Look To Hold Onto 4th Seed In East As Spurs Come To MSG (Season Betting Record: 97-105)
The San Antonio Spurs still have a killer in DeMar DeRozan and an all-time coach in Gregg Popovich, but the rest of the vets and young guns haven’t quite found a rhythm yet. Nonetheless, they currently sit in the driver’s seat for the 10th and final playoff spot in the Western Conference, just a couple of games ahead of the disappointing New Orleans Pelicans.
Pop surely wants to reach the postseason again no matter how they get it done, but it wouldn’t be surprising if the team brass was hoping that they fell out of the play-in to pick up better draft stock. There are three games apiece left, so the Spurs are still on the precipice of falling out of the tourney if they can’t put together a win or two and the Pels turn it on down the stretch here.
Their opponent on Thursday night, the New York Knicks, on the other hand, are in the battle of their lives for the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference. They are currently in a three-way tie with the Atlanta Hawks and the Miami Heat for seeds four through six, and based on tie breakers, that would leave the Knicks in sixth place, waiting for a matchup with whichever of the elite top three teams in the East gets the third seed.
The Sixers, the Nets, and the Bucks are not an ideal first round matchup for anyone, and New York head coach Tom Thibodeau definitely knows that, so he and his hard nosed squad will be doing everything in their power to will his team up into that fourth spot over their final three contests.
It helps, then, that the Knickerbockers get the struggling Spurs right now. San Antonio had lost six of their last eight games before a Wednesday night matchup with the Brooklyn Nets that was not looking good for San Antonio as of this writing. While they have been a decent team when it comes to playing on no rest so far this season, they have struggled as an underdog in that situation lately, going 1-3 against the spread in their past four such contests.
But it’s New York’s play when they have a rest advantage that really makes this a top pick for the day: they are an NBA-best 13-4-1 ATS when they take on a team playing on less rest than they are. That stat should really come as no surprise considering the rough and tumble way Thibodeau’s teams have always and continue to play. It really wears an opponent down, especially one that’s already a little tuckered out from the night before.
You may point to San Antonio’s league-best away ATS record of 22-11-1 as a reason not to go with the Knicks on this NBA pick, but we’d counter that with New York’s third-ranked ATS home record, which is almost identical at 21-11-1. The Knicks as a home favorite have also been one of the most consistently sure things this season, with New York going a league-best 12-2 ATS in those situations during this campaign.
Thibodeau’s men were riding high on a nine-game winning streak when it was snapped by the Phoenix Suns back on April 26th. The fact that the Knicks have gotten back on the horse and won four of their six games since then speaks to the character of the team. We love the Knicks to cover their -4.5 point spread at beautiful -111 NBA odds as one of our best bets for today.
- New York is 13-4-1 ATS with a rest advantage this season
- New York is 21-11-1 ATS at Madison Square Garden this season
- New York is 12-2 ATS as the home favorite this season
- San Antonio is 1-3 ATS in their last 4 as an underdog playing on no rest
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The Los Angeles Clippers will renew hostilities with the Dallas Mavericks, who they dispatched in the first round of last season’s playoffs.
The Denver Nuggets and the league’s presumptive NBA MVP will look to get off to a strong start against the Portland Trail Blazers in Game 1.
The Golden State Warriors will host the Memphis Grizzlies in the final play-in game, which will determine the Western Conference’s eighth seed.
The Washington Wizards will host the Indiana Pacers on Thursday night with the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference on the line.
Alex is an alumnus of Ryerson University's RTA Sport Media program, a contributing NHL, NBA, and MLB writer in the BetPicks.ca team. He has been writing on sports, betting, and fantasy contests for several years, including pitstops as an NFL Editor for theScore and as one of the lead NBA news writers for fantasy sports site FantasyPros. As a lifelong athlete, bettor, and sports fan, Alex is uniquely qualified to help you reach the sports betting success that you've always dreamed of and your wife never believed you could achieve.