Lakers vs. Knicks Preview: The Live Bet to Make on Tuesday

Joe Dellera breaks down Tuesday's NBA matchup between the Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden.

Lakers vs. Knicks Odds

Lakers Odds +135
Knicks Odds -160
Over/Under 214.5
Time 7:30 p.m. ET
Odds via PointsBet. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

The Lakers head to Madison Square Garden to take on the New York Knicks on Tuesday night. While there should be fewer fireworks than in the Lakers’ last game against the Pistons, this will be an exciting game in its own right.

Let’s break down the matchup.

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Los Angeles Lakers

The Lakers will be without LeBron James who is suspended for tonight’s game after an altercation with Isaiah “Beef Stew” Stewart of the Detroit Pistons on Sunday night. They have also listed Austin Reaves (Hamstring) as doubtful and Anthony Davis (Thigh) as probable.

The Lakers have been wildly inconsistent but they still sit at 9-9. The majority of their struggles stem from their defense. They’re giving up 111.0 points per 100 possessions, and they’re playing at the second-fastest Pace (102.55) in the league. Russell Westbrook has done this with a number of his teams in the past because he generally pushes the Pace and keeps the team running.

My colleague Austin Wang discussed some Early Season NBA Totals Trends, and the Lakers have been the best Over team this season, 11-7 (61.1%), with an average of 223.3 total points in their games. They’re giving opponents shots at the rim at the highest frequency in the league, which is stunning considering they generally are playing some combination of Anthony Davis, Dwight Howard, and DeAndre Jordan.

Besides getting cooked on the interior (65.5% shooting percentage allowed), the Lakers are allowing opponents to shoot 35.9% from 3 point range, which is also above league average, per Cleaning the Glass.

New York Knicks

The Knicks also list several players on the injury report: Mitchell Robinson (Concussion) is Out, Taj Gibson (Groin) is Doubtful, and Derrick Rose (Ankle) is Questionable.

If both Robinson and Gibson can’t play, Nerlens Noel should start while Obi Toppin will see extended run off the bench. If Rose can’t play, then his minutes will likely be divided between Kemba Walker and Immanuel Quickley.

The Knicks have tried to adopt a philosophy of layups and 3s this season and they take both of those shots at above league average rates. While they actually make their attempts at the rim at roughly league average, the Knicks have been strong from 3-point range with the sixth-best mark from 3 (37.1%). This has led New York to a top 10 Offense as they’ve scored 110.5 points per 100 possessions this season, per Cleaning the Glass.

Unfortunately for New York, they’ve struggled the past two weeks and have scored just 104.1 points per 100 possessions over that span. They’ve run a bit cold from the field, but their expected eFG% still ranks sixth in the league over this cold stretch, so against this Lakers’ defense, there may be room for regression.

One issue New York has had is their starters have been brutal to start games, and you could make the argument that the second unit is the first unit. Every single starter has a negative point differential for the Knicks. The bench unit continuously needs to dig the Knicks out of trouble, but this presents some live betting opportunities.

Lakers-Knicks Pick

The Lakers are listed as 3.5-point underdogs on the road, and they’ve struggled Against the Spread as they’re just 5-12-1 ATS this season. On the flip side, the Knicks are not much better as they’re just 7-10 ATS.

That being said, I’m not interested in a full game spread, but I will be looking for an opportunity to back the Knicks (preferably once the starters are pulled in the first quarter) or at the start of the second half considering the Lakers have a Net Rating of -20.7 in the Third Quarter.

The Knicks’ biggest strength is their depth. They have the third-best Net Rating in the Second Quarter (13.7) and the Lakers have the fourth-worst (-9.5). Without LeBron, the Lakers are even thinner, and this edge should be more apparent. I’ll back New York’s bench to take care of business.

Pick: Knicks 2Q -1 up to -1.5 and look to live bet the Knicks Moneyline at +100 or better