Friday NBA Betting Odds, Preview, Prediction for Knicks vs. Suns: Phoenix Vulnerable Without Chris Paul & Devin Booker

Friday NBA Betting Odds, Preview, Prediction for Knicks vs. Suns: Phoenix Vulnerable Without Chris Paul & Devin Booker article feature image

G Fiume/Getty Images. Pictured: Deandre Ayton.

  • The Suns are favored against the Knicks in Friday's game, even without Chris Paul or Devin Booker.
  • Deandre Ayton has been solid of late without Paul, although the Knicks may match up well with him.
  • Kenny Ducey breaks down the meeting below and makes his betting pick.

Knicks vs. Suns Odds

Knicks Odds+6.5
Suns Odds-6.5
Time10 p.m. ET
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

The Knicks are in the midst of a disastrous stretch, failing to even just cover the spread as underdogs in the last few games.

With that said, the Suns are missing Chris Paul and Devin Booker and could offer the Knicks a bit of reprieve, at least for the first half. I'll explain below.

Knicks Head West Struggling Mightily

The Knicks have now lost 10 of their last 11 games and have just three wins since Jan. 15. Those losses haven't been pretty, either.

New York has blown 20+ leads as favorites, been blown out as underdogs, and as a result are just 1-10 against the spread in those last 11 contests. It was able to win outright in Golden State as a nine-point underdog and cover in a loss to Cleveland on Jan. 24, but outside of that the last month and change has been filled with blowout losses to better teams.

The last few games have offered some semblance of hope even though the losses have all come by double digits. New York led Miami for most of the first half before an injury to Quentin Grimes derailed most of its momentum. Then, it led Philly in the fourth quarter only to fall apart in the dying embers and lose by 16. Again against the Sixers — this time on the road on Wednesday — the Knicks would lead at halftime (and by as many as 16) only to see the better, deeper team pull away in the second half.

It's hard to pinpoint where, exactly, the weakness is for the Knicks. They have seen Mitchell Robinson play some superb defense, but since the start of February they're 28th in defensive efficiency. The threes have fallen on occasion, and RJ Barrett even had a 46-point game against the Heat, but on the whole the offense ranks 28th over that same span. Put bluntly, this team can't do anything right.

Suns Relying on Ayton Without Stars

On paper, the Suns are hurting in wake of Paul's injury. They've gone 2-2 straight up and against the spread since it was announced just prior to the All-Star Game that he'd have to miss time, and those wins have come against weak competition — the Thunder and the Trail Blazers.

Under the surface, though, the Suns might be just fine. They've produced 116.8 points per 100 possessions on offense over those four games — a mark just outside the top 10 since the All-Star break — and backed that up with the league's sixth-best defense at 108.1 points per 100 possessions.

If there's one area that's been greatly impacted by Paul's absence, it's the style of play. Phoenix ranks all the way down in 21st when it comes to pace in those four games which is staggering considering this team was a mainstay in the top 10 all season long when it came to playing up-tempo.

Of course, Phoenix is also playing without Booker, but that injury is very new. The Suns were able to win by 30 against Portland in his first game on the sideline, so it remains to be seen how his impact will be felt as well.

Luckily, Deandre Ayton has remained steady since Paul left, and considering his offensive rating goes up 1.2% when Paul is off the floor according to our FantasyLabs tools, that's likely to continue.

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Knicks-Suns Pick

I noted this above, but the biggest thing the Knicks have going for them on defense is Robinson. He has done an excellent job on opposing centers all season long, and his foul trouble directly correlated to the Knicks' poor stretches against the Sixers.

The Suns' best offensive weapon with Paul and Booker down could be Ayton, who has twice gone for 20 or more points in the four games without Paul on the floor. Together, this could lead to a close game.

I'm not entirely ready to say the Knicks will cover the 6.5 points for the entire game, but I do see value in backing them in the first half, which has been the profitable decision in five of their last six games.

Pick: Knicks 1H +3.5

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