Atlanta won 60 last season, but lost its season opener Tuesday night; New York won just 17 games last year, but won its season opener Wednesday night. How is this handicapper betting Thursday night?
Hawks-Knicks NBA Odds
Most of the NBA odds market opened Atlanta as a favorite of right around three points, with a total of 197. In the early betting many books then bumped the Hawks to -4, and the total to 197.5.
New York bombed to a 17-65 record last season, its first under head coach Derek Fisher, so basically, there's nowhere to go from here but up. Carmelo Anthony only played half the season, the team struggled with the new systems, and the Knicks ended up playing many a lifeless game, in non-competitive fashion, finishing 33-46 ATS.
Over the off-season New York dumped a bunch of dead weight, added enough to potentially improve, but nothing close to enough to contend immediately. The Knicks went off this season as 75/1 shots to win the Eastern Conference, with a wins OVER/UNDER of 29.5, based, apparently, on the idea that it's hard to be that bad two seasons in a row.
But lo and behold New York opened this season Wednesday night by kicking Milwaukee 122-97, winning that game outright as five-point dog on the road, getting +175 on the NBA moneyline. 'Melo only scored 11 points on four-for-16 shooting from the floor, but the rest of the team shot 38-for-77 (49 percent), led by newcomer Derrick Williams, who tossed in 24 points, and Langston Galloway, who hit on four-of-five from beyond the arc.
Atlanta, meanwhile, surprised a good portion of the NBA world last season, using a 19-game winning streak to go 60-22, winning the Southeast Division by 14 games, earning the top seed on the Eastern side of the playoff bracket. The Hawks then beat Brooklyn in six games in a first-round playoff series, and Washington in six games in the conference semis. But down two starters to injury Atlanta then got swept in four games by Cleveland in the East finals.
Over the off-season Atlanta lost F DeMarre Carroll, who did a lot of good things for this team last year, but added former Spur F Tiago Splitter, who should fit right with this outfit.
The Hawks are a contender in the East, but they'll have to avoid the tendency of teams that make sudden jumps one season to regress the next. They go off getting around 15/1 to win the Eastern Conference.
Atlanta opened in poor fashion, losing Tuesday night as seven-point home chalk against Detroit 106-94. Atlanta shot 45 percent from the floor, but hit just eight-of-27 shots from beyond the arc, while the Pistons shot 12-for-29 from long range.
Hawks-Knicks Recent Series
Atlanta took two of three games from New York last season, winning the first two meetings by scores of 103-96 and 91-85, losing the last one 112-108, although that defeat came in a game that meant nothing to the Hawks, who had already clinched the top seed in the East.
New York actually outshot Atlanta from the field in those three games last season 49 percent to 41 percent.
Also, two of last season's three meetings played OVER the totals, as the games averaged 198 points.
Hawks-Knicks Free NBA Picks
Atlanta got upset two nights ago, while New York just pulled an upset on the road Wednesday night. But in the topsy-turvy betting world that is the NBA, those results just set the Hawks up for a play, the Knicks for a fade. Also, New York probably won't come close to scoring 122 points tonight. So for our free NBA picks in this spot we like Atlanta and the UNDER.