Trust Knicks to Cover +6.5 vs. Bucks With a Contrarian NBA Pick

Jason Lake

Tuesday, October 27, 2015 10:57 PM GMT

The Milwaukee Bucks are the popular NBA pick for Wednesday's season opener, but they'll be missing a certain Greek person when they host the New York Knicks.

There's no question the Milwaukee Bucks have made some big strides since tanking the 2013-14 season. But did they take a step back this offseason? After making the playoffs last year at 41-41 (46-35-1 ATS), the Bucks are projected to win around 35 games this season – that's according to the new CARMELO numbers at FiveThirtyEight. Nate Silver has spoken.

At least Milwaukee is expected to do better than the New York Knicks (17-65 SU, 33-46-3) this year. But what about Wednesday's season opener? Yup, Milwaukee opened as a 5-point home fave in this matchup (8:00 p.m. ET, MSG), then moved as high as +6.5 on our NBA odds, with the consensus reports showing two out of three bettors on the Bucks.

 

No Giannis, No Peace
Color us pessimistic. Silver's latest metric is in its infancy, but they've dug deep and analyzed every player in the NBA, and the projections aren't terribly effusive about most of Milwaukee's key players. Free agent signee Greg Monroe joins fellow big man Khris Middleton as the only two Bucks expected to generate positive plus-minus numbers on both offense and defense.

Milwaukee also goes into the new season a few men short. SG Giannis Antetokounmpo is suspended for Wednesday's opener after an incident during last year's playoff series against the Chicago Bulls. SF Jabari Parker isn't expected back from his knee surgery until November, and SG O.J. Mayo is out with a reported hamstring injury. There isn't a lot of depth on the Bucks bench this year. It's not an ideal NBA pick to start the season.

 

Porzingis Ah Um
The Knicks are only projected to win 27 games this year, but that's a solid step up for a team that's finally got some of PBO Phil Jackson's fingerprints on it. Jackson did very well to land a pair of viable big men in Robin Lopez and Kyle O'Quinn, and first-round draft pick Kristaps Porzingis (all 7-foot-3 of him) has already been tabbed to start alongside Lopez on the Knicks frontline. Porzingis is a seasoned 20-year-old with Euroleague experience and a ton of talent; naturally, he was booed by the New York crowd when he was taken fourth overall.

The Knicks also have SF Carmelo Anthony back in the lineup for the season opener. Anthony missed the second half of last season after having surgery on his left knee – and after playing in the All-Star Game. Tanks? You're welcome. Anthony should enjoy another very strong offensive season, provided he stays healthy, and putting him on the floor with the defensively-minded Lopez (and/or Porzingis, and/or O'Quinn) should give New York some much-needed balance.

It's not a perfect team by any means, but the Knicks are on the rise, they're much healthier than Milwaukee, and public bettors think they're a joke. We'll make the classic contrarian pick and take the underdogs at the inflated spread. May the sphere be with you this year.

NBA Picks: Take the Knicks +6.5 at BetCRIS

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