Nuggets vs. Knicks NBA Picks: Carmelo's Ongoing Injury Prompts Betting 'Under'

Jay Pryce

Sunday, February 7, 2016 1:53 PM GMT

Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016 1:53 PM GMT

The Nuggets and Knicks square off in the Garden Sunday, providing some pre-Super Bowl NBA action. Carmelo Anthony's knee soreness makes the difference on the NBA odds.

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NBA Pick: Under 205
Best Line Offered: at BetOnline

 

Denver Nuggets (20-31 SU, 28-22-1 ATS)
The Nuggets bested the Bulls as 2-point favorites on Friday night, 115-110 in Denver. The victory made it Denver's sixth straight cover against the number. In fact, the Nuggets have been the betting markets best NBA team in 2016, going 14-4 ATS in 18 games. The offense has improved over this stretch, putting up 103 points a night as opposed to 98.9 prior to the New Year.

Former Knicks Danilo Gallinari (19.5 ppg), piecing together his best season in his seven-year NBA career, is the stimulus for the offensive explosion. Dropping 24.3 points a night in 2016, when the versatile 6-foot-10 Italian sinks 20 or more in a contest, the Nuggets are 17-4 ATS and the OVER 15-6 on the season.

Defensively is where the Nuggets slip, allowing 103.8 points per game. One key area in which they backslide is forcing turnovers. Denver's 13.9 per game ranks 21st in the NBA.

The team is at its best when gifted extra scoring chances and asked to run, but they need a lot of help from the opposition's ball control. Against teams averaging 14 turnovers or fewer, and ranking in the bottom third of pace, the Nuggets are 5-13 SU, 6-11-1 against the NBA odds, and 13-3-2 to the UNDER. Denver picks up just 11.9 freebies a game in this situation, scoring a lowly 89.3 points on average. The Knicks are one of the league's slowest and most cautious with 96.2 possessions and 13.5 turnovers per game.

 

New York Knicks (23-30 SU, 27-24-2 ATS)
The Knicks are sinking rapidly. Their 91-85 defeat to the Grizzlies in the Garden on Friday night made it eight losses in their last nine (2-6-1 ATS). Coach Derek Fisher's squad is ice-cold from the floor, shooting 40.6 percent during the slide. Another eye-catching statistic is that it is allowing opponents a 39.4 success rate from the three-point area. This is surprising as New York's 33.6 percentage for the season is seventh best in the NBA.

The Knicks' ruination is scoring. Their 99.0 points per game ranks 23rd in the league, and their effective field goal percentage of 47.9 is better than only the Bulls, Grizz and Lakers. To be fair, New York has faced some tough Ds in its recent dip: seven of nine foes hold teams to a 44.9 shooting percentage (leage average) or lower a night. Denver's 46.0 rate is 22nd in the NBA. When the Knicks tip off against a team yielding 45 percent or higher, they score 102.6 points per game (44.7 percent from the floor) versus 96.5 (43.0) to those above the mark.

Outside of its league-leading 80.9 percent free throw percentage, New York is best on offense when leading-scorer Carmelo Anthony is on his game. When he sinks more than his 21.1 ppg average on the night, the Knicks are 15-6 ATS, scoring 101.1 points a tilt. Anthony is going to shoot a lot, but when he's over 44 percent on the night from the field, New York is 14-5 ATS. Anthony is suffering from a sore knee and sat out of the Grizzlies game. He is questionable against the Nuggets.

 

Final Analysis
The line has yet to come out as of publication due to Anthony's uncertain status. Nonetheless, despite the Nuggets improved offense recently, I don't see them reaching the century mark in this one, win or lose. The Knicks' cautious play will not gift Denver extra points, and the home team may find it tough to come by many points with its star hobbled. UNDER is the NBA Pick.  

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