Raptors vs. Knicks Preview: Over/Under Has Value at MSG

Action Network NBA betting analyst Kenny Ducey previews the Toronto Raptors vs. New York Knicks matchup on Monday night, including why he bet the total.

Raptors vs. Knicks Odds

Raptors Odds +6.5
Knicks Odds -6.5
Over/Under 209 (-110 / -110)
Time 7:30 p.m. ET
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

The New York Knicks will aim to improve to 6-1 and maintain their lead in the Eastern Conference when they take on the Toronto Raptors at home on Monday night. Toronto carries a three-game winning streak in here, which has been powered by a phenomenal defensive run to open the season.

Can defense rule the day on Monday? Let’s take a look at the matchup.

The Raptors Defense Is Elite Again

The Raptors are playing like it’s 2019 again. The team that was known for its staunch defensive attack in the early years under Nick Nurse seems to have re-emerged.

A season after ranking 15th in Defensive Efficiency, the Raptors have ranked seventh with just 101.6 points per 100 possessions against them in the early going. Fred VanVleet has defended at the point brilliantly in the wake of Kyle Lowry’s departure, and Gary Trent, Jr. has been an excellent defender at the two, winning Friday’s game with a huge defensive stop against Cole Anthony.

This is also an entirely different team offensively without Lowry. Toronto ranks 25th in three-point attempts per game so far in 2021-22 after ranking fourth a year ago. The Raptors are third in shots attempted inside eight feet per game, though they have converted on a league-worst 52.1% of them.

Toronto’s last three games have actually been won on the offensive side of things, with an offensive rating of 112.5, though their 53.9% True Shooting would back up the fact that they’re still eating off of high-percentage shots and not converting well on jumpers.

Can the Knicks Remain Hot from Deep?

Speaking of jumpers, let’s talk about the Knicks. They’re still up there in 3-pointers taken per game, ranking sixth with 41 per game on average, and their 40.7% mark shooting it from downtown ranks second in the NBA.

Most impressive has been the 57.9% 3-point shooting of Kemba Walker, and Derrick Rose’s 54.2% rate from deep. While that should regress a bit, these two have been outstanding on the offensive end, and haven’t been asked to play massive minutes. Perhaps the short stints have led to success shooting the ball for two guys with a history of knee injuries.

One of New York’s areas of weakness has been rebounding, where they rank outside the top 10 in the early going. Another, surprisingly, has been on defense where they rank 21st in efficiency.

Even then, though, New York has done a decent enough job in the frontcourt, allowing a 56.3% field goal percentage inside 10 feet, and has limited 3-pointers at a 33.7% clip. With a small sample and a great season a year ago, it’s easy to see these already-decent numbers improving.

Raptors-Knicks Pick

The Raptors love to take the ball inside and score in the post, and that’s where the Knicks have been able to suffocate their opponents many times this season. New York plays a physical brand of basketball and will welcome a battle inside and on the glass.

One potential issue for New York might be their rebounding numbers, which haven’t held up to the standard set by the Raptors, who rank third in that category so far this year.

These are two great defenses, and two teams that should fight hard inside. While the Knicks have taken a ton of threes this year, they’re probably due for a bit of regression, especially against a perimeter defense this good.

With that, and two teams in the bottom four in pace, I love the under here.

Pick: Under 209 (-110)