Jason’s 2018-19 NBA picks record : 9-7 ATS, 0-1 ML (minus-1.15 units), 9-5 Totals
Friday, 7:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Free NBA Pick: OVER
Best Line Offered: BetOnline
Looks like the Indiana Pacers might be all out of betting value. They’ve dropped five games in a row ATS on this five-game road swing through the Eastern Conference, losing big-time to the Toronto Raptors and Boston Celtics along the way. Their odyssey ends Friday night at Madison Square Garden, where the New York Knicks will probably lose – but possibly beat the spread, like they did when they lost 110-99 to Indiana (–11.5 at home) in mid-December.
These are the Knicks, though. They’ve folded their tents on the season, going 1-9 SU and 3-7 ATS since that Indiana game. So we’re once again looking at the total instead for our NBA picks, and we’ve got extra incentive to take the OVER: Big man Myles Turner is questionable for the Pacers with a sore right shoulder that’s already cost him three games. All three went OVER the posted total.
Turner (plus-2.7 BPM) is a special cat. The No. 11 pick in the 2015 draft has blossomed into a stud defensive player (plus-4.6 DBPM); Turner leads the NBA in blocks at 2.8 per game, and block percentage at 9.0. However, Turner’s offense (minus-2.0 OBPM) has somehow gotten worse over the last three years. He’s passing more and hitting 39.1 percent from downtown, which is great, but Turner is also committing more turnovers, and he’s a career-worst 69.5 percent from the foul line.
Taking Turner out of the mix would make Indiana (UNDER 22-19) that more likely to go OVER in New York, with Domantas Sabonis (plus-2.7 OBPM) and Kyle O’Quinn (minus-1.1 OBPM) absorbing most of those lost minutes. And the Pacers already have the OVER on a juicy 7-0 run. If we knew for sure that Turner was going to miss this game, we’d be all over those NBA odds now that a manageable total of 217.5 has just hit the board.
Here’s to You, Mitchell Robinson
Conveniently enough, the Knicks (OVER 23-18) also have a defensive specialist who’s looking iffy for Friday. Center Mitchell Robinson (plus-4.8 DBPM) has missed the last 11 games with a sprained left ankle, and he tweaked his groin while rehabbing on Monday. The UNDER actually went 6-5 during those games, though, which is a little weird – maybe they’ve just been on the road too long.
We were only going to recommend a small bet on the OVER as it was, and now that center Enes Kanter (plus-1.8 OBPM) has suddenly come down with a mystery illness (cough, cough, maybe getting traded to Sacramento, cough), that could take even more profit margin away from our pick. Or it could leave the paint absolutely wide open for Sabonis to work his magic. Make your daddy proud, big guy. Also, PG Frank Ntilikina (minus-3.7 OBPM) is doubtful after missing two games with a strained left ankle tendon, so more minutes for Emmanuel Mudiay (plus-0.6 OBPM) and Trey Burke (plus-0.5 OBPM). We’ll buy that for a dollar.