The Spurs, coming off a loss in the thin air at Denver last night, are showing signs of being a great fade team when playing the second of back-to-back's. Cash the Knicks tonight.
The most interesting game on this Friday’s card that jumps out at me at first glance as having some line value on the overnights is the Knicks +12½ at San Antonio. This game involves some well-known and much-debated NBA angles of recent years – namely, fading the Spurs on the second game of a back-to-back, and fading any team after having played in Denver the night before.
The Spurs of course, despite being an elite team these past few years, were notoriously bad in the second of back-to-backs a couple of years back, even straight up let alone against the spread. Last year, however, they became aware of it as a problem that had to be remedied, head coach Gregg Popovich took steps to improve their performance in these kinds of situations, and it worked quite well as the Spurs became a team with no clear value as a blind fade on a back-to-back.
This year, however, they have already failed to cover three out of four games in this situation, and if any game does not look promising for them from an ATS standpoint, it is this one off of a grueling battle in Denver and coming all the way back home to Texas to face a rested team they are likely to overlook a bit as a big double-digit favorite.
They’re such big favorites, of course, because the Knicks’ season has been a train wreck to date. It is well-known and much discussed, but if you want to know more about it, google the terms “Knicks”, “2007-2008” and “train wreck” and you can read all about it.
But New York does have a slate full of capable players, and at some point they are sure to bounce back at least a little, and will likely be underrated and have some general line value on their side for at least a short period of time. I am not saying this has happened yet, but I do think this is a spot where the talent level of the Knick players is being overshadowed by their season-long record, and I think that talent level will come into play here against a Spurs team in a bad scheduling spot.
The overall records are ugly – the Knicks are 1-11 SU on the road, while the Spurs are 16-2 SU at home. But Tim Duncan and Michael Finley both played 35+ minutes last night, and I don’t see the Spurs covering a huge spread such as this as being a 50%+ proposition.
I’ll be on the Knicks +12½, and I think this line will move in the Knicks’ favor on Friday. I wouldn’t be surprised to see it dip down as far as 10 or lower at close.