Bucks vs. Knicks Odds
|Over/Under||215.5 (-110 / -110)|
|Time||7:30 p.m. ET|
|TV||NBA League Pass|
|Odds via PointsBet. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.|
The Knicks stormed back and defeated the Bucks on November 5th to stop a three-game slide. Now, the Knicks are off a victory against the 76ers and the Bucks have to come to New York on the second game of a back-to-back after taking on the 76ers Tuesday night.
Can the Knicks take two from the defending champs within the same week, or will the Bucks even up the season series?
Bucks Have Struggled Amid Injuries
When these two teams last played, the Bucks just went ice cold from the field. After putting up 63 points in the first half, they cooled off and scored just 35 in the second half.
The Knicks capitalized on a short-handed Bucks team as Jrue Holiday could only play 20 minutes. The Bucks have not played a back-to-back since Holiday returned, so be leery of a rest day as he recovers from his injury.
Health has been an issue for the Bucks and they will be without Brook Lopez (back) and Khris Middleton (COVID), which hurts their depth. While Grayson Allen and Bobby Portis have stepped up, it’s tough to replace two starters on a nightly basis and it’s forced the Bucks to play deeper into their bench.
The Bucks are -2.5 points per 100 possessions overall, per Cleaning the Glass. But this number is abysmal in all non-Giannis Antetokounmpo minutes. When Antetokounmpo is off the floor, the Bucks are -27.4 points per 100 possessions. They can’t score, and they certainly cannot defend. This has resulted in a point differential in the bottom 1% of all lineups.
Knicks Led By Defense, Depth
The Knicks ruled Mitchell Robinson out of their last game against the 76ers and Nerlens Noel is dealing with right knee soreness. Both are listed as questionable.
Although the Knicks sacrificed a bit of defense this offseason in the hopes of a more free-flowing offense, their strength is once again their depth. Even with injuries to Robinson and Noel, the Knicks can fill the gaps with Taj Gibson, Julius Randle and even Jericho Sims, if necessary. As a result, they have been deadly in their bench minutes.
The Knicks’ starting lineup has been getting smoked defensively, and this may have something to do with Kemba Walker’s questionable defense. However, their typical full bench unit of Derrick Rose, Immanuel Quickley, Alec Burks, Obi Toppin, and Gibson have crushed posting a +22.4 points per 100 possessions. This should come as no surprise considering this very same unit was elite last season as well.
This unit plays the majority of its minutes in the second quarter. The Knicks have a league-best +20.8 Net Rating in the second quarter and they’ve gone 8-2-1 straight up. They take advantage of opponents’ bench squads and handle business on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball.
This is a situational spot for the Knicks. This line moved dramatically from last week where the Knicks were five-point underdogs on the road in Milwaukee. Although we’ve moved to The Garden and the Knicks have a rest advantage, I don’t have any interest in laying points against the defending champs over the course of the entire game.
Given the rest advantage, I want to capitalize on the Knicks’ biggest strength: depth. The Knicks are the best second quarter team in the league. The Bucks? Although they have a positive Net Rating (2.3), they are ranked 22nd in the league. They miss Lopez and Middleton, and if Holiday’s minutes are managed at all then they lose even more depth.
I’ll back the Knicks to continue being a wrecking ball in the second quarter.
Pick: Knicks 2Q Moneyline (would take up to -1.5)