The New York Knicks (7-7) continue their road trip as they take on the Denver Nuggets (9-4). Tipoff is scheduled for 10 p.m ET. Below we continue our NBA odds series with a Knicks-Nuggets prediction and pick.
New York is in seventh place in the Eastern Conference thanks to its win over Utah on Tuesday night. The Knicks are 6-7-1 against the spread while 54% of their games have gone over. Denver is in second place in the Western Conference and the winner of five of its last six games. The Nuggets are 6-7 against the spread while 54% of their games have gone over. Denver won both games between the teams last season by 14 and 17-point margins, respectively.
Here are the Knicks-Nuggets NBA odds, courtesy of FanDuel
NBA Odds: Knicks-Nuggets Odds
New York Knicks: +3.5 (-112)
Denver Nuggets: -3.5 (-108)
Over: 226 (-110)
Under: 226 (-110)
Why The Knicks Could Cover The Spread
New York has been inconsistent this year — especially defensively. The Knicks are 24th in points allowed and 21st in defensive efficiency. They’ve been better on offense (11th in scoring and 18th in offensive efficiency) but really excel on the glass. New York holds the 14th-best rebounding differential, which could really come into play against Denver’s massive lineup.
Offensively, New York plays first and foremost through point guard Jalen Brunson. Brunson has been a revelation since arriving in New York. He has given the Knicks’ offense a sense of control it has lacked for a long time. He’s second on the team in scoring (19.9 PPG) and leads the team in assists (6.9 APG). What is most impressive about Brunson is his efficiency. Despite having a high usage rate, Brunson holds a clean 3.9:1 assist-to-turnover ratio. While he hasn’t quite found his outside shot yet (just 29.1% from 3-point range), he is still shooting nearly 50% overall and is one of the most efficient guards in the league.
If the Knicks are going to cover, they are going to need to control the glass. New York’s starting center Mitchell Robinson continues to sit out with a knee injury, and Tom Thibodeau has rotated a number of players in his absence. Isaiah Hartenstein has played well in limited minutes as the starter, averaging 7.4 points and 8.4 rebounds. In their most recent matchup, however, he ceded minutes to second-year pro Jericho Sims. Sims is coming off the best game of his career against Utah. He put up an 11-point, 13-rebound double-double and had a monstrous poster dunk. His performance could largely determine whether New York covers and is something to keep in mind when making a Knicks-Nuggets prediction.
Why The Nuggets Could Cover The Spread
Denver has turned into one of the most consistent regular-season juggernauts in the league in recent years. The Nuggets feature an elite offense (fifth in points per game/third in offensive efficiency) but a middling defense (20th in points allowed/26th in defensive efficiency). They make up for their shaky defense with strong rebounding numbers (sixth in rebound differential/11th in rebound rate). The Nuggets run through two-time MVP Nikola Jokic first and foremost, but he will be unavailable due to health and safety protocols. While he is certainly a huge loss, the Nuggets have a deep roster with a number of players capable of putting up counting stats.
The Nuggets’ leading scorer outside of Jokic is forward Michael Porter Jr. MPJ is one of the best shooters in the NBA thanks to his smooth release and massive stature. The 6-foot-10 forward is shooting 47% from 3-point range this season, which sounds absurd until you realize he’s at 43% for his career. After battling injuries. MPJ has bounced back this season and is in the midst of the most productive stretch of his career. For the season, he’s averaging 18 points and 6.4 rebounds to go along with strong shooting percentages. MPJ is coming off his best game of the season — a 31-point performance against the Bulls in which he shot 6-of-9 from beyond the arc.
Porter projects to pace the team in scoring, but look for point guard Jamal Murray to have a bigger role in creating offense off the dribble. Murray, too, has had to work his way back to form while recovering from injury. For the season, he’s averaging 16.2 points and 4.3 assists on 43.8% shooting. He’s coming off one of his better games of the season against Chicago with 23 points on 50% shooting.
Final Knicks-Nuggets Prediction & Pick
With Jokic out, the Knicks are in a nice spot to cover a pretty sizable line. That being said, I wouldn’t put the house on it given New York’s wide inconsistency this season.
Final Knicks-Nuggets Prediction & Pick: New York Knicks +3.5 (-112)