New York Knicks (15-23 Su, 16-22 ATS)
The Knickerbockers were riding their best stretch of the season after winning five consecutive games and covering four of those five in NBA odds. But the Charlotte Bobcats were standing in the way on Tuesday night when they outgunned New York en route to a 108-98 victory. Tyson Chandler had returned to the lineup after a bout with bronchitis that kept him out of the last four games but was a nonfactor on the scoring sheet and hardly deterred Al Jefferson from draining a season-high 35 points.
The J.R. Smith saga continues as the veteran shooting guard cannot shake the funk that has riddled him since the beginning of the season. It has forced coach Woodson to make him a healthy scratch in two of the last four contests. Smith’s drop in production has been startling as he has gone from averaging 18.1 to 11.4 PPG and shooting 42.2% to 35.7% from last season to this season. His status for tonight’s game is unknown as of this writing.
Indiana Pacers (30-7 SU, 25-12 ATS)
The Pacers have won five of their last six games and just continue to tear through their 2013-2014 schedule. Tuesday night was just more of the same as they crowned the Sacramento Kings to the tune of 116-92 and easily covered the number in NBA odds as 10 ½ point home chalk. Third-year man Paul George was en fuego knocking down 31 points and exorcising from memory his poorest performance of the season only four days earlier when he shot a woeful 2-of-14 from the floor in the team’s 93-66 win over the Wizards.
The Pacers have been a team that has stymied their opponents with a suffocating defense this season. Indiana is allowing only 88.1 points per game and is currently 10th in the league in rebounding. When you control the boards, shutdown opposing offenses and limit mistakes then you can have success averaging only 97.4 points per game (20th) which is exactly what the Pacers are doing. In addition, Indiana has been virtually invincible at home compiling a 19-1 record straight up and 14-6 ATS.
Free NBA Pick:
We must evaluate New York’s last game in the context that it was the second of back-to-back games. And in the NBA we know that the schedule is long and grueling all by itself but when a team has to get on a plane immediately after a narrow victory like their duel with Phoenix the night before then chances are not great that an inspired performance will ensue.
That being said the Knicks have not had any success against the Pacers in Indiana recently. They have lost their last six consecutive games and covered in only one. In their last meeting the Pacers defeated the Knicks in New York that was close throughout and barely covered the 6 ½ point impost in a 103-96 victory. Prior to that the two teams met in Indiana where the Pacers again defeated the Knicks by seven points and narrowly covered the six-point spread in NBA odds.
Therefore, my point is that this may not be the slam dunk (pun very much intended) that many suspect when they glance at the standings and decide to bet the home chalk for their NBA pick. I don’t see this game as being much different from the others where Indiana wins by five to seven points. Giving New York a 10-point advantage is simply too much but the online sportsbooks are overcompensating due to a flood of square money that Indiana will surely attract. Let’s watch the Knicks lose the game but hang around.
Play New York +10 ½ at WillHill.com