Take Knicks +6.5 With Your NBA Picks As Weakened Bulls Won't Cover

Jason Lake

Friday, January 1, 2016 4:22 PM GMT

The New York Knicks have already beaten the Chicago Bulls once this season. Who will beat the NBA odds Friday night when they open 2016 in the Windy City?

Jason's 2015-16 record as of Dec. 31: 11-10-1 ATS, 4-1 Total
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Free NBA Pick: Knicks +6.5
Best Line Offered: at BetOnline

 

Happy New Year, everyone. We hope you had a prosperous 2015, and that fortune will smile even more brightly upon you in 2016 and beyond. It's definitely been a good start to the new NBA season here at the ranch. The public teams are losing money, and the rebuilding teams are making money – just as nature intended.

How long will the New York Knicks (15-18 SU, 19-14 ATS) remain in the latter category? Not long. Our favorite rebuilding project has risen from the depths of the Eastern Conference all the way into... 12th place. Okay, maybe there's still some work to do in the Big Apple, but there's no question they're on the right track. We're not so sure about the Chicago Bulls (18-12 SU, 11-19 ATS), who start the New Year with a game at home against the Knicks this Friday night. Tip-off is at 8:00 p.m. Eastern on MSG.

 

Noah Theater
That last time these two big-city teams met, it was December 19 at the Garden, and the Knicks walked away with a 107-91 victory as 2.5-point home faves. For the rematch, Chicago has opened as a 6.5-point home chalk on our NBA odds board; if we assign the standard four points for home-court advantage, that means the betting market hasn't changed in its overall valuation of the two clubs over the past two weeks.

Yet, the Bulls will be missing at least one player from that first encounter. Joakim Noah (15.1 PER, +3.4 BPM), who started at center that day and put up 21 points with 10 rebounds, is out for the next two weeks or so with a sprained left shoulder. It's also possible that Derrick Rose (10.6 PER, –4.0 BPM) sits this one out after missing Wednesday's game against Indiana with a tender hamstring. That might seem like a good thing for Chicago, but the less we see of Rose, the more we'll see of Kirk Hinrich (7.7 PER, –2.8 BPM) coming off the bench. We'll call it a wash.

 

Kristaps Porzingis Must Feed
The Knicks won't be missing anyone from their first game against Chicago. Good health is one of the reasons they've been such a good NBA pick this year; as of December 26, New York had lost 23 man-games to injury, or No. 25 overall. That included eight games from shooting guard Arron “Don't Call Me Aaron” Afflalo (12.5 PER, –2.0 BPM), whose services weren't missed all that much.

So, yeah, we're going to recommend the Knicks again. They'll be a very tough matchup for the Bulls, especially with Noah out. Kristaps Porzingis (18.3 PER, +0.4 BPM) and Robin Lopez (13.7 PER, +0.2 BPM) should have a field day down low. They might as well bring a picnic basket with them.