I got another win on Saturday when I backed the Boston Celtics against Indiana Pacers. That pick got me two wins in a row and pushed my season NBA picks record to 5-3. There have been a few mild bumps along the way, but so far if you’re riding with me, you should be in the green.
Monday brings another opportunity to win big in the NBA betting scene, as the schedule boasts an interesting 8-game slate. There are some tricky spots tonight, as three games have a point spread of -9.5 or higher. My natural reaction is to avoid those contests and instead focus on some of the games with tighter spreads.
The one that draws me in the most is a battle at the Madison Square Garden between the Portland Trail Blazers and the New York Knicks. The Knicks are mild home underdogs, largely because Portland is rarely an easy out and New York has been banged up lately.
As of this writing, it’s still unclear if big men Kristaps Porzingis and Enes Kanter will suit up for tonight’s tilt. Early reports suggest Zinger will make his return, but Kanter is still questionable to play. Should both big men take a seat again, the Blazers would make for a a really easy pick.
Portland Trail Blazers (-2.5) @ New York Knicks (+2.5) Total: n/a
The only betting information that is out for this game as I type this out is the point spread and at -110 either way, that’s fine with me. There could be some decent value there with the Knicks as light home underdogs, but I think this line could change quickly if it’s made clear that Zinger and/or Kanter are or aren’t for sure playing.
If those guys are ruled out, this line could shift considerably and bettors would lose value with a Portland bet. That is my preferred betting angle, so with the current spread, I’d act quickly.
I’d prefer to capitalize on the doubt in Vegas right now and simply back the Blazers to cover at -110. That’s solid value for what I believe is the better team on paper, as the Knicks don’t really have anyone that can stifle Damian Lillard, while either he or C.J. McCollum are bound to go off in this game.
Portland can fill it up offensively, but the real concern for the Knicks here is the Blazers’ ability to defend. Portland enters tonight’s inter-conference showdown with the NBA’s third best defense.
Unlike previous years, the Blazers have learned to slow it down a bit this year and can grind opponents on both ends of the floor. A huge reason for their success as a defense is big man Jusuf Nurkic, who can get it done offensively, but has been a big factor down low defensively. Add in a collection of versatile perimeter defenders like Moe Harkless and Al-Farouq Aminu, and the Blazers are equipped to contain a surprisingly strong New York offense.
Zinger could return and be as good as ever, but the Blazers have some guys that could get him off the tracks a bit and Damian Lillard is storming into this one absolutely ablaze. Portland’s star point guard has poured in 29+ points in each of his last three games, while the Blazers are in a groove after winning two straight and 6 of their last 10.
There is some wiggle room for a Knicks upset here. New York is a stout 9-3 on their home floor and they’re 12-7 against the spread. However, the Knicks are sliding backward (lost two in a row) and if they’re not truly 100%, it’s going to be tough to trust them in this spot.
In the end, I think Portland is in a nice groove and this matchup favors them. They can match the Knicks offensively, but their stingy defense is what should control this game. I’ll take the Blazers to cover as I shoot for my third win in a row.