Each day LT Profits Sports seeks an overlay side that has a better chance of cashing than its spread, offering long term value. Here is their Side Value Play for Monday.
The home team could be getting too much credit simply for being at home here with the seemingly cheap line Monday night, so back the superior team in the Atlanta Hawks (2-3, 0-3 away) as they pay a visit to the New York Knicks (2-5, 1-2 home) at Madison Square Garden in New York, NY at 7:35 ET in a game televised nationally on NBA TV.
The point spread at Bet365 has Atlanta as a small road favorite for this contest with the current line at -1½ with odds of -110.
Second Half of Home-and-Home
This is the second game of a home-and-home series and the Hawks were the winning NBA picks in the first game 103-96 Saturday night while also sneaking the point spread cover as 6½-point favorites. Atlanta rallied from a 13-point halftime deficit by limiting the Knicks to just 35 points in the second half, which was only three more points than New York scored in the first quarter alone.
The Knicks are still transitioning to learning the triangle offense that has been a long-time favorite of new team president Phil Jackson and that was run just about to perfection by Jackson’s former point guard and new Knicks’ head coach Derek Fisher, but the adjustment has not been pretty as New York is second to last in the NBA in scoring with 92.0 points per game.
Four-Game Losing Streak
The Knicks actually got off to a 2-1 start this season including what remains perhaps the biggest upset of this young season when they went into Cleveland and upset the Cavaliers in their first game welcoming back LeBron James. That was the first New York win of the season and was followed by what until now is its only win here at Madison Square Garden this year vs. the Charlotte Hornets, as the Knicks have lost four straight games since then.
Sure Carmelo Anthony has been one of the leading scorers in the NBA for several seasons, but even his 19.6 points per game this season are not up to his usual standards and he is getting practically no support from the rest of the starting lineup, with Iman Shumpert being the only other regular starter averaging double-digits at 13.7 points.
To be fair, Fisher did just insert Tim Hardaway Jr. into the starting lineup as he is averaging 10.6 points mostly off the bench, and he did score 15 points in the loss in Atlanta Saturday. Still, center Samuel Dalembert and guard Shane Larkin are the other starters for now and both have been offensive liabilities.
Won Despite Off Night for Hortford
Furthermore, the Hawks won and covered against the Knicks under adverse circumstances as not only was Atlanta playing the second game of a back-to-back but it was also coming off of a double-overtime game in Charlotte the previous night! That helps explain the sluggish first half vs. the Knicks and it is to the Hawks’ credit that they found the energy and the defense to come back in the second half.
And remember that Saturday was also the first time that center Al Horford played the second of a back-to-back since coming back from the serious knee injury that knocked him out for the season last year, and he understandably struggled with only six points after averaging 17.5 points to begin the season entering that game. The day off Sunday should help both Horford individually and the Hawks collectively for this contest.
That becomes especially true if they can carry over their second half defensive adjustments over for the entire game this time around.
Took Season Series 3-1 Last Year
The Hawks had very little trouble with the previous New York regime last season winning three of the four meetings both straight up and ATS, and that included an easy 110-90 win here in the Big Apple.
Look for the Hawks to build in their second half comeback vs. the Knicks two nights ago and win this rematch in New York on Monday.
NBA Pick: Hawks -1½ (-110)