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Warriors vs. Knicks Odds & Picks: Back New York in Fans’ Return to Madison Square Garden

Warriors vs. Knicks Odds & Picks: Back New York in Fans’ Return to Madison Square Garden article feature image

Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Julius Randle #30 of the New York Knicks.

  • The Golden State Warriors make their annual trip to the Mecca of basketball to take on the New York Knicks Tuesday in the first game that will allow fans at Madison Square Garden this season.
  • The Knicks enter this game as home underdogs despite playing well of late.
  • Kenny Ducey explains why there is value on the Knicks to win outright tonight.

Warriors vs. Knicks Odds

Warriors Odds -2.5
Knicks Odds +2.5
Moneyline -140 / +120
Over/Under 218.5
Time 7:30 p.m. ET
TV NBA League Pass
Odds as of Tuesday and via PointsBet

Two teams right on the bubble in their respective conferences meet Tuesday at Madison Square Garden, where fans will be returning to the arena for the first time in nearly a year. The New York Knicks come in off a close win over the Minnesota Timberwolves and have been beasts against the spread of late, while the Golden State Warriors’ last five have been more of a mixed bag.

Will a key piece of the Dubs’ lineup return and power them to a much-needed win on the road, or will the Knicks deliver in front of their fans?

Let’s dive into this matchup to see if we can uncover the answer.

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Golden State Warriors

In what’s become somewhat of a meme, the Warriors have been playing without a center for weeks now. Kevon Looney and rookie James Wiseman were lost nearly simultaneously, leaving it all on the shoulders Draymond Green down low.

To make matters worse, there was a brief period where backup power forward Eric Paschall was also injured, but the Warriors have since cleared that hurdle. They may be set to clear another. The Warriors have listed Looney (ankle) and Wiseman (wrist) as questionable for this one, and are hopeful both will be a go for Tuesday night.

In the 10 games Golden State has played without the pair, its momentum has slowed to the tune of a 5-5 record. Over that span, the team ranks in the bottom half of the league with a 49.3% Rebounding Rate, and tied for 16th in points in the paint, according to NBA Advanced Stats.

Though the efficiency numbers (+6.5 Net Rating) have received a bump, the Warriors have been hurt down low by strong frontcourts and would benefit greatly from having their centers back in the mix. Considering the way they’ve survived the injuries, it’s quite possible this is a better team than we previously thought.

To avoid a Ben Simmons situation, we’ll also note that Stephen Curry is expected back on Tuesday after missing the Dubs’ last game with an illness. That’s hardly a guarantee that he’ll play, so keep an eye out for the injury report on Tuesday, but it’s probably not worth talking about the potential impact of his absence.

New York Knicks

The Knicks have now won four of five and covered in five of six, riding a hot streak into Tuesday’s game. If that’s not enough of a boost, the Knicks are now set to welcome fans back to MSG after a long absence at 15% capacity, meaning they’ll sell roughly 3,000 tickets.

They’ll certainly have something to cheer about. Over the past nine games, the Knicks have the NBA’s fifth-best Net Rating, defeating opponents by 4.6 points per 100 possessions, powered by the league’s best Defensive Rating over that span (105.8).

Despite many calls that it may be a fluke, the team’s success on the perimeter has been sustained; New York still ranks No. 1 in defending the 3-pointers, and has allowed opponents to shoot just 33.3% in the past nine games.

The Knicks have also rebounded exceptionally well over this span, grabbing a fourth-best 53.2% of available rebounds. This is a testament to the job that Nerlens Noel has been able to do in wake of the injury to Mitchell Robinson, and how much of an anchor Julius Randle has been.

Tuesday could very well be the day Randle is named an All-Star (or snubbed, for that matter), so if you believe in betting on emotions from time to time, this could be a big spot for the big man, particularly if the Warriors’ frontcourt depth remains thin.

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Warriors-Knicks Pick

It seemed odd that bookmakers would peg the Knicks as such short favorites against the Timberwolves, one of the league’s worst teams, on Sunday — it wasn’t pretty in the fourth quarter, but they covered. It seems the books are now rolling the dice with the Knicks as a home underdog.

The Knicks are 8-6 ATS at home this season, and will finally get the chance to play in front of few thousand screaming New Yorkers, meaning their home court advantage should be seriously weighed in this case. Dating back to last season, the Knicks are 18-16 as home underdogs, according to Bet Labs.

The status of Looney and Wiseman won’t be a decision-maker for me. It may be hard to recall, but the Warriors’ situation at the position was a huge mess before these injuries. Wiseman was a liability on defense and a fouling machine, causing Steve Kerr to remove him from the starting lineup in place of the veteran Looney. While he answered the call with better play, there were certain facets of his game — particularly on offense — that were lacking in comparison.

The bottom line is that while the Warriors would have an easier time on the glass against a strong rebounding team with both their centers, I’m not quite sure it would help them score or defend. It’s worth noting Golden State’s paint defense has been elite over the last 10 games, and that’s probably because it’s leaning on Green as its anchor at center.

With all of that said, the Knicks’ defense and painstakingly slow pace should frustrate an offense that has struggled in back-to-back games against the Magic and Hornets. While shooting is hardly important to this team anymore, Curry still fancies the 3-ball, and he will be disappointed to find the Knicks no longer play horrendous defense on the perimeter now that Tom Thibodeau’s come to town.

I’m taking the Knicks to win this game straight up, so you’ve got some flexibility with the line. I’d take them to -120.

Pick: Knicks ML (+120)

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