Knicks vs. Pelicans NBA Odds & Picks: Back New York as Road Underdog (Wednesday, April 14)
Rich Schultz/Getty Images. Picutred: Julius Randle.
- The Knicks and Pelicans meet on Wednesday night in New Orleans.
- The Knicks have covered well on the road, while the Pelicans have struggled ATS at home.
- Joe Dellera previews the game and explains why the wrong team is favored.
Knicks vs. Pelicans Odds
|Moneyline||+114 / -136|
|Time||8 p.m. ET|
|TV||NBA League Pass|
|Odds as of Tuesday night and via DraftKings.|
The Knicks travel to New Orleans to take on Zion Williamson and the Pelicans. The Knicks have opened as short road dogs, but is the wrong team favored in this Wednesday night affair?
New York Knicks
The Knicks have played well of late, logging three consecutive wins and seven consecutive ATS. Since the start of that win streak, they have posted a +5.6 point differential (10th best in the league), which is a significant increase from their season average of +1.0, per Cleaning the Glass.
This ATS streak has coincided with a string of seven consecutive games played by Derrick Rose. His role is critical and while he matches the eye test with his defensive effort, it translates in his advanced stats. When he is on the floor, the Knicks allow 10.2 fewer points than when he is not, per Cleaning the Glass.
The Knicks have led with their defense all season and are giving up just 105.0 points per 100 possessions over this stretch, third best in the league. The Knicks allow opponents to shoot a measly 51.0% eFG% and they do this by a continued effort to close out on shooters. This has worked exceptionally well. When the Knicks defend field goal attempts, they have the second-highest differential in field goal percentage, per NBA Advanced Stats.
Additionally, the Knicks’ offense has been improved lately, and while there’s always Julius Randle, R.J. Barrett has been electric. Over the last seven games, he has averaged 17 points per game on an incredible 56.3% shooting from 3-point range. If he’s able to continue this strong play, it opens up the Knicks’ offense and helps them spread the floor.
New Orleans Pelicans
The Pelicans have listed James Johnson as questionable and Lonzo Ball as doubtful in advance of tonight’s game. Eric Bledsoe has taken over as the starting point guard, but we have actually seen Williamson play a significant amount of point forward. Over the last four games (three without Ball) Williamson has averaged 5.5 assists per game.
The Pelicans have an elite offense; however, their defense is the fourth-worst in the league and has struggled to contain anyone. Even when the Pelicans have played teams with bottom 10 offenses, they allow 111.5 points per 100 possessions (sixth worst), per Cleaning the Glass. They allow the third-most 3-point attempts in the league, and unlike the Knicks, they allow the second-worst shooting percentage from 3-point range (39.5%).
The Pelicans continue to have playoff expectations. However, they are the team sitting outside of the playoffs in this matchup. Additionally the likely absence of Ball will allow the Knicks to key in on defending Williamson and Brandon Ingram.
This season, the Pelicans are just 6-11 ATS as a home favorite, while the Knicks are 12-7 ATS as a road dog and have covered the spread by an average margin of 2.79 points.
This line should be flipped, and I expect the Knicks to control the pace of this game with their defense, and while the Pelicans’ offense is elite, their defensive deficiencies should allow the Knicks to score (relatively) easily.
Pick: Knicks +2.5 down to a pick ’em
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