Knicks vs. Pacers NBA Odds & Picks: Back Indiana in Lopsided Matchup

Knicks vs. Pacers NBA Odds & Picks: Back Indiana in Lopsided Matchup article feature image
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Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Domantas Sabonis.

  • The Knicks hope 2021 is unlike any of the past 10 years, and that journey starts Saturday against Indiana.
  • The Pacers are flying to start the season behind a dominant frontcourt of Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner.
  • Nick Alfano explains why he's backing the Pacers as big home favorites to start the new year.

Knicks vs. Pacers Odds

Knicks Odds +9 [BET NOW]
Pacers Odds -9 [BET NOW]
Moneyline +320 / -420 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 215 [BET NOW]
Time 7 p.m. ET
TV NBA League Pass
Odds as of Friday night and via PointsBet, where you can get $250 FREE instantly after signing up AND your bets automatically sync to the Action app. Learn more about BetSync here.

2020 is over. 2021 is finally here.

After an incredibly difficult year, people are beaming with optimism, determined to better themselves and the world. We, as society, can only go up.

With one exception: the New York Knicks.

The organization isn’t making daily lackluster decisions right now, but the on-court performance will not reflect the positivity of 2021. In a matchup against the Pacers, I expect the same old Knicks.

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New York Knicks

Heading into Friday’s NBA slate, the Knicks ranked 26th in Effective Field Goal Percentage (49.9%, NBA Advanced Stats). In their most recent game against the Raptors, the Knicks put on one of the worst 3-point shooting performances I’ve ever seen, going 3 for 36 from beyond the arc. The starting five went 0 for 23. It felt like New York didn’t make a shot the entire game and somehow ended up with 83 points.

It’s hard to find a bright spot for the Knicks offensively. They also entered Friday ranked 28th in Offensive Rating (101.2), a serious issue when playing against Indiana, which is one of the most committed defensive teams in the league.

I have to give credit where it’s due to Julius Randle, as he has elevated his game to become the No. 1 in this offense, but 23 points per game on north of 50% from the field from one player is not nearly enough to make the Knicks competitive.

On the other side of the ball, head coach Tom Thibodeau expects his team to bring unparalleled defensive effort night in and night out. Especially with a roster scarce on talent, the Knicks need an edge wherever they can get one.

New York’s defensive numbers are solid through five games, but it ranks near the bottom of the league in ball deflections and charges drawn. These hustle stats have the ability to set the tone of a game, particularly when playing a superior opponent like Indiana. No improvement here will make it hard to keep games close.

Despite two early season wins, I project the Knicks to fight the Pistons throughout the season for the worst record in the Eastern Conference. New York needs to rack up losses in order for this to come to fruition. All signs point to an offensive struggle on Saturday night in Indianapolis, their third consecutive road game.


Indiana Pacers

The top of the Eastern Conference has real title contenders this season. The Pacers seem to be afterthoughts, though, as they are tied for the seventh-lowest odds among Eastern Conference teams to win a championship at +10000 on DraftKings. Even the Rockets and Suns are +5000 to win it all right now.

It’s early, but people may start hopping on the Indy bandwagon with the way they’re playing.

Indiana has a distinct advantage in this matchup against New York. The Pacers’ defense against the inept Knicks’ offense is such a lopsided matchup that it may hurt to watch. The Pacers entered Friday ranked sixth in Defensive Rating (104.1) and sixth in Defensive Rebounding Percentage at 76.4% (NBA Advanced Stats).

Of even more significance, the Pacers hold their opponents to under 9.0 second chance points per game. That’s the best in the NBA. Indiana’s commitment to defensive rebounding and holding the Knicks to one shot will lead to a low New York point total.

I will be shocked if the Knicks can get to 100 points.

The Pacers’ early success is not limited to defense, as they rank seventh in offensive rating (113.2, NBA Advanced Stats). Talk about balance.

The loss of T.J. Warren for an extended period of time due to foot surgery may result in a lack of offensive explosion, but the Pacers are deep enough to persevere in the short term.

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Knicks-Pacers Pick

Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis, Indiana’s frontcourt, will be the difference in this one. The Knicks’ frontcourt, namely Mitchell Robinson and Randle, do not have the ability to guard them or get by them for an entire game. It’s also hard to find wings on the Knicks roster who can keep up with Victor Oladipo and Malcolm Brogdon.

In summation, this won’t be close.

Below, I have my threshold to bet this at -12. Well, that would be my limit on backing the Pacers. I’d need more than that, maybe 15 points, to actually back the Knicks with my hard-earned money.

Apologies Knicks fans, but the year 2021 will not be kinder to you than any other in recent memory.

Pick: Pacers -9 (up to -12)

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