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Nuggets vs. Knicks Odds & Picks: Target the Total in New York

Nuggets vs. Knicks Odds & Picks: Target the Total in New York article feature image

Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Nikola Jokic (left) and Paul Millsap.

  • The Nuggets' thriving offense faces a difficult test on Monday against a surprising Knicks team.
  • Under head coach Tom Thibideau, the Knicks are thriving defensively and have won three of their last four games.
  • Nick Alfano breaks down how he's betting this game and why he sees value in the total.

Nuggets vs. Knicks Odds

Nuggets Odds -6 [BET NOW]
Knicks Odds +6 [BET NOW]
Moneyline -255 / +210 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 218 [BET NOW]
Time 6 p.m. ET
TV NBA League Pass
Odds as of Saturday at 6:30 p.m. ET and via FanDuel. Get up to a $1,000 risk-free bet at FanDuel today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.

Heading into Friday’s matchup against the Thunder, the New York Knicks were on a roll rarely seen in recent years. They had won five of their last six outright against competent opponents like Milwaukee, Indiana and Utah.

The betting market was finally ready to trust the Knicks by making them home favorites against OKC. New York scored 89 points and lost by double digits.

Classic Knicks.

Denver has slumped out of the gate and its schedule is doing it no favors. After losing to Dallas in Overtime on Thursday, the Nuggets headed east to play Philadelphia on Saturday and now get the Knicks in the second leg of a back-to-back.

With a worn-out Nuggets team, a top Knicks defense and two slow-paced teams, I’m eyeing the under on a Sunday evening in New York.

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Denver Nuggets

After an upset of the Clippers earned them a trip to the Western Conference Finals last season, Denver had high expectations coming into this shortened campaign. Thus far, the Nuggets’ performance has been underwhelming, as they enter this contest with a sub-.500 record.

Denver does sport one excellent record at this point in the season. Prior to the Nuggets game in Philadelphia, their games are 7-1 to the over this season.

And that’s exactly why I’m taking the under in this one.

Despite how highly rated the Nuggets are on the offensive end, they play at a surprisingly low Pace, 24th in the league (99.35) entering play on Saturday (NBA Advanced Stats), given their tendency to cash overs. Add on the fact that they’re playing their third game in four days against a stout Knicks defense, I don’t see a traditional Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic laser light show happening at Madison Square Garden.

On defense, Denver is better than advertised. They only give up 9.9 second-chance points per game, No. 2 in the league, and are tied for third in Opponent Fast Break Points (11.1, NBA Advanced Stats). The ladder is integral because it indicates Denver’s commitment to slow play down.

Hard to say if they’ll rest anyone on this second leg of a back-to-back, or if there will be health and safety issues after playing a Sixers team recently decimated by positive COVID-19 cases.

Michael Porter Jr. has already been ruled out for a few games due to COVID-19 protocols. Outside of his absence, Denver should be at full force.

New York Knicks

I’m not even a Knicks fan and they still frustrate me. It’s been difficult to project this team’s performance because its inconsistency is remarkable.

It’s impossible to know what New York will do on the offensive end on any given night. They’re the personification of the “I don’t really feel like it” Spongebob meme.

The Knicks enter play on Saturday ranked 25th in Effective Field Goal Percentage (50.8%), despite notable offensive showings against the Bucks and Jazz. They have an alarming Turnover Percentage (16.0%) and have seven in the bottom 50 of Individual Offensive Ratings of players averaging at least 20 minutes of floor time.

Yet, you can count on this Tom Thibodeau-coached team to hustle defensively.

Prior to Saturday’s NBA slate, New York is tied for fourth in Defensive Rating (105.5) and has given up an impressive 104.1 points per game, which is the third-best mark in the league (NBA Advanced Stats).

Additionally, the Knicks rank fourth in Opponent Effective Field Goal Percentage (49.9%) and second in Opponent 3-point Percentage (30.1%, NBA Advanced Stats).

Just to clarify, I am not a believer in this Knicks team, though I do believe the organization is heading in the right direction. I’m just confident that New York’s roster makeup will frustrate a tired Nuggets team while simultaneously not being able to score.

Nuggets-Knicks Pick

This matchup is strength vs. strength. The Nuggets are an elite offense and the Knicks present a special commitment to defense.

New York can only hope to contain Jokic and Murray, as both rank in the top ten in Individual Offensive Rating. I’m confident the Knicks have the defensive weapons to do exactly that.

Mitchell Robinson and Julius Randle can share the duty of guarding Jokic. The Knicks’ superior athleticism gives the duo a fighting chance. And while RJ Barrett and Reggie Bullock are not the caliber of player that Murray is, they at least present a challenge to the future All-Stars in the form of a well-rounded offensive game.

This total at 218 is high for two teams ranked in the bottom 10 in Pace. The Nuggets needed to expend more energy than they would’ve liked against the depleted Sixers and now face a Knicks defense offering a clogged paint and no free baskets.

Another under, another stressful game. At this point, I’m just doing it to myself.

Pick: Under 218 (down to 216.5)

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