Knicks vs. Bulls Odds
|Time||8 p.m. ET|
|Odds via PointsBet. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.|
It might only be October, but New York vs. Chicago is a hugely intriguing matchup in the NBA.
The Knicks are coming off a sensational season that saw them capture some magic in the Eastern Conference before a first-round playoff exit, while the Bulls retooled their roster and are off to a stellar start. Expect a tense matchup on Thursday night at United Center, especially with Tom Thibodeau involved.
Let’s break down the relevant information for bettors.
3-Point Shooting Unlocked Knicks Offense
The Knicks added some perimeter scoring in the offseason, and it shows. Their 113.1 Offensive Rating entering Wednesday ranked fourth in the NBA, trailing only Memphis, Charlotte and Philadelphia.
After having one of the league’s elite defenses last season, New York was at 14th in Defensive Rating entering Wednesday.
The biggest change in New York with those acquisitions has been in its 3-point shooting.
Last season, the Knicks averaged 30 3-point attempts per game, which ranked 27th. This season, that number is all the way up to 46, which is second to only the Celtics. New York is shooting a respectable 38% from beyond the arc.
That will happen when you add Evan Fournier and Kemba Walker to your starting lineup.
After a bout with COVID slowed his tenure with the Celtics from the time he was acquired last season, Fournier is averaging what would be a career-high 19 points through four games and is shooting an electric 45.7% from 3-point range.
That would be more than 4% higher than his current career high, which was last season.
It’s safe to say we can expect some regression from Fournier on his 8.8 attempts from 3-point range this season, especially against a team that is playing lights out defensively so far this season.
Bulls Leaning In On Defense
So far, the 2021-22 Chicago Bulls are looking a lot like the 2020-21 New York Knicks.
The Bulls entered play on Wednesday ranked 12th in Offensive Rating (107.8) but fourth in Defensive Rating at 97.7.
With the offensive weapons that Chicago has added this year, including Nikola Vucevic, defense was always going to be the key for Billy Donovan’s team. Points were likely to come, but the Bulls’ go-to lineup wasn’t full of proven, stud defenders.
Obviously, that hasn’t been a problem this season.
A potential issue for Chicago is on the glass, as its rebounding percentage ranks 28th in the NBA entering Wednesday at 46.4%. The Knicks are 12th at 50.7%.
Their Defensive Rating needs to remain good as it is has been thus far because the Bulls aren’t exactly playing the most exciting brand of basketball right now. They entered Wednesday dead last in the NBA with just 26 3-point attempts per game, and they’re playing at the NBA’s 25th-ranked pace.
What I’ve gathered so far: The Bulls are going to play slowly with an emphasis on defense, and the Knicks are likely to see some shooting regression from their highest-volume 3-point shooter.
Also, it’s safe to assume a Thibodeau-coached team will eventually rank in the top-10 defensively.
Combine that with Chicago playing at a very slow pace without shooting much from beyond the arc, and I think there’s value on the total here. In a matchup of teams that are trying to establish themselves among the elite in the Eastern Conference, I expect a tight matchup early in the season.
Also, last season, the Knicks were a great under team on the road (21-14-1, 60%). And that wasn’t matching up against teams that play as slowly as the Bulls.
Live a little. Play the under.
Pick: Under 215