Free NBA Picks: Bet Blazers To Cover ATS vs. Suffering Knicks

Jason Lake

Tuesday, March 1, 2016 2:29 PM GMT

The Portland Trail Blazers are in the midst of playing four games in five nights. Can the stumbling New York Knicks take advantage and beat the NBA odds this Tuesday?

Jason's 2015-16 record as of Feb. 29: 25-30-1 ATS, 5-1-1 Total

 

It turns out the Portland Trail Blazers are quite fresh after all. We went against the mathematical grain Sunday night and faded the Blazers in their matchup with the Indiana Pacers, figuring Portland might be overly fatigued playing the second of back-to-back games. Nope: Portland won 112-102 as 5.5-point road dogs on the closing line. Damian Lillard had 33 points after scoring 31 the night before versus the Chicago Bulls. So fresh, and so clean clean.

After taking Monday off, the Blazers are right back on the horse for Tuesday's game (7:30 p.m. ET, MSG) against the New York Knicks, who haven't been fresh for a while now. The Knicks are 4.5-point home dogs on the NBA odds board with a total of 207. Should we jump right back on the Portland bandwagon?

 

What Have You Done for Me Lately?
Let's look at the numbers first. FiveThirtyEight has an Elo-based spread of Portland –4 for this matchup; Basketball-Reference is more complimentary to the home side, valuing the Knicks (–2.50 SRS) almost exactly 3.5 points worse than the Trail Blazers (+0.96 SRS) on the Simple Rating System. That should translate to a pick 'em at the Garden.

For our purposes, we need to give more weight to recent events. The Blazers (32-28 SU, 34-26 ATS) and Knicks (25-36 SU, 32-29 ATS) both looked like promising NBA picks going into the new campaign, and they've both been profitable thus far. However, Portland is on the ascendancy at 13-2 SU and 11-4 ATS over the past 15 games, while New York has tumbled out of the playoff picture in the Eastern Conference at 2-10 SU and 3-9 ATS since the end of January.

 

It's All That Carmelo
So what happened to the Knicks? The obvious suspect is Carmelo Anthony (20.1 PER, +2.1 BPM). He's had a fine year overall, earning another well-deserved All-Star appearance, but the wear and tear of another long NBA season has taken its toll. Anthony is a minus-6.5 this month after posting a plus-6.7 in January. Yet his workload has risen, up to 38 minutes per game in February.

We're also wondering here at the ranch whether firing head coach Derek Fisher has had the desired effect. Fisher was let go on February 8 after the Knicks had fallen from 22-22 to 23-31; interim head coach Kurt Rambis hasn't stopped the bleeding, and has received generally negative reviews for his work. The Knicks don't own their first-round pick this year, so it's not like they're tanking per se, but we don't expect them to put up much of a fight against the Trail Blazers this Tuesday. Give us some of that fine artisinal Portland basketball, and may the sphere be with you.

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NBA Pick: Blazers -5.5
Best Line Offered: at BetOnline