Knicks vs. Spurs: Capper's Keen Eye Shops 'Under' 194.5 As The NBA Pick

Jay Pryce

Friday, January 8, 2016 1:14 PM UTC

Friday, Jan. 8, 2016 1:14 PM UTC

The Knicks & Spurs clash on Friday night both shooting over 50 percent from the field in their last three games. Our resident handicapper gives us his free NBA pick on the total.

[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":2883006, "sportsbooksIds":[169,1096,93,19,92,238], "LineTypeId":3, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]
NBA Pick: UNDER 194.5
Best Line Offered: at Heritage


New York Knicks
The Knicks have pulled off three straight wins to make it 18 on the year, one more than it had all of last season. They travel to San Antonio to face the scorching Spurs on Friday night (8:35 p.m. ET), shooting a red-hot 50.8 percent from the field in their last three contests. Likewise, Gregg Popovich's squad is draining a dazzling 55.7 percent during this stretch. I'm betting we see a cooldown tonight.

New York's (18-19 SU, 21-15-1 against the NBA odds) offense has picked up of late, averaging nearly 101 points per game in its last 13 contests. Its team total, in fact, has gone OVER in nine of them, shooting 46.9 percent from the field during this span.

The Knicks are one of the slowest teams in the NBA. Their 93.2 possessions per 48 minutes ranks 26th in the league. At such a slow pace, when they shoot poorly on the night, points come at a premium. This presents big value for bettors wagering the total. In games where the Knicks shot below 41 percent from the field, for example, the UNDER is 14-1. Guess which NBA team has amassed the most games allowing fewer than 41 percent shooting this season? Well, its a draw, but the Spurs, Heat, and Celtics are tied at 15 a piece.

When New York squares off against one of the league's elite defenses they have failed to find much of a scoring touch. In nine games against units allowing 98 points or less entering the game (Spurs, Cavs, Heat, Jazz, Raptors), Carmelo and company eclipsed 40 percent in only two, averaging 87.6 points per game. They bunked the trend in their last game, though, shooting their second-highest percentage of the season (55.7) in a 98-90 win over the Heat on Wednesday.


San Antonio Spurs
San Antonio (31-6 SU, 26-11 ATS) was an UNDER machine to begin the year, going 15-4 below the total to start the season. Since, it is 11-6-1 to the OVER, but it's not because Popovich's men suddenly grew soft. Instead, they found their scoring touch, averaging 109.0 points over their last 18 games as opposed to 98.6 through the first 19. Defensively, they've allowed 90.2 in the second half of their games played as opposed to 88.8 prior.

The Spurs relied a little too much on Kawhi Leonard earlier in the season offensively. They are rotating the ball better, finding more open looks, and getting more scorers involved. LaMarcus Aldridge is a big beneficiary, putting up16.9 points a night through the last 18 games versus 14.6 in the previous 19. For what it's worth, Aldridge's 17.7 points per game against the Knicks ranks in the bottom five versus any NBA opponent, and the current roster has held the All Star to 45 percent shooting lifetime.

The Knicks' strengths on defense may slow down San Antonio's offense. Their 31.4 opponent three-point percentage is tops in the NBA. The Spurs don't toss it up a ton from behind the arc (19 per game), but when held below 42 percent on the night, the UNDER is 15-5-1 with Popovich's squad averaging 99 points total.

We see a similar pattern with assists. Although the Knicks are prone to let teams beat them in transition, a game the Spurs will not want to play, they buckle down in the half court and stymie ball rotation. New York's 19.5 assists allowed per game is second-best in the NBA to the Jazz. In fact, the Knicks have held opponents to 24 assists or less in 30 of their 37 games. When the Spurs are held below 25 assists per night, the UNDER is 14-3.

The over-under opened at 194.5, but many books have yet to list a number as of publication. We'll shop around and look for the highest figure to play UNDER the total, as our NBA pick, believing defense will overcome both team's recent hot shooting.

comment here