Knicks vs. Pacers Preview: 'Bockers Have Value on the Road

Action Network NBA betting analyst Kenny Ducey previews Wednesday night's matchup between the New York Knicks and Indiana Pacers.

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Knicks vs. Pacers Odds

Knicks Odds +1
Pacers Odds -1
Over/Under 218 (-110 / -110)
Time 7 p.m. ET
TV NBA League Pass
Odds via PointsBet. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

The New York Knicks showed they’re vulnerable earlier in the week, falling to the Toronto Raptors as a seven-point favorite. Now, they’ll try their luck in Indiana as and underdog against the Pacers.

The Pacers have won just two games and covered three times so far in their first eight tries, and when they’ve been the favorite they are 1-3 straight up and against the spread. The one win — and cover — came last time out against San Antonio.

Can the Pacers build some momentum, or is this a great chance to back the Knicks off a loss? Let’s take a look at the numbers.

Will New York’s Defense Turnaround?

Since Tom Thibodeau took over as coach prior to the 2020-21 season, the Knicks have performed well after losses. They’re 20-14 against the spread in those scenarios — covering the spread after their first loss of the season this year — and interestingly the under is 22-12.

It’s encouraging to hear that the Knicks lock up on the defensive end after a loss, because their defense did not have it on Monday. New York now ranks 22nd in efficiency with 109 points allowed per 100 possessions a season after ranking fourth in that category. Surely they’ll go up from here, but the small sample is the least bit concerning. They’ve allowed more than 115 points per 100 possessions in their last two contests.

The good news is that the Knicks shot well again from behind the arc in their loss to Toronto, knocking down 42.1% of looks from distance. Their rebounding rate has cratered over the past two games, though, and they’ve allowed a higher percentage (+0.8) of looks inside 10 feet to fall. The backcourt continues to drill triples at a seemingly impossible rate to keep up, but the frontcourt has failed the Knicks of late.

Injury Concerns Could Impact Pacers

The Pacers have followed up a strong close to the 2020-21 season on offense by ranking 10th in efficiency to open the season. They’re working hard on the glass, collecting the 11th-highest rate of available rebounds, and so far they’ve evenly distributed their shots, taking 41.2% from deep to rank right around the middle of the league.

Those 3s finally fell against the Spurs, when the Pacers shot 47.4% from downtown. They’ve also raised their 3-point frequency to 47.1% as well, opting to chuck up more shots from deep. Perhaps this is an indication of where things are heading for the Pacers, who added a great shooter in Chris Duarte in the NBA Draft.

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One potential hang-up for the Pacers here is the status of Malcolm Brogdon, who is currently listed as questionable with a sore left hamstring. He has said he expects to play in this one, but as we saw with the returning Caris LeVert last week, there still may be a minutes restriction.

Still, this is a Pacers team that is getting healthier, with LeVert back in the mix. They’re now just dealing with injuries to Isaiah Jackson and Jeremy Lamb, with T.J. Warren still out with a stress fracture he suffered last year.

The Pacers will need to keep things up in the rebounding department. They were able to get over 51% in two of their past three games and will now face a Knicks team struggling in that area. This is the most obvious place they can have an edge, with Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis potentially controlling the proceedings.

Knicks-Pacers Pick

The Pacers may be able to attack the Knicks in the frontcourt, but New York should be able to hit Indiana where it really hurts. The Pacers have allowed the fourth-highest 3-point field goal percentage at 38.8%, and the Knicks are the league’s second-best 3-point shooting team.

While New York is probably due to for a little regression given the individual shooting numbers in the backcourt, it should be able to knock down 3s as it likes to do here, and while Indiana does have an edge on the glass, it’s not as if the disparity between the two teams should be that large with little between them in the season-long numbers.

I see value in the Knicks here, who stand to improve against the 3-pointers based on last season’s numbers. Indiana also isn’t a 3-point shooting team, and with Malcolm Brogdon back on the floor that should be especially true.

If the Pacers try to win this one inside, they should be met with a bit of physicality, and the Knicks meanwhile should have no issue knocking down 3s against a weak defense.

Pick: Knicks ML (-105)