Knicks vs. Spurs NBA Odds & Picks: New York in Good Spot Against Beleaguered San Antonio (Tuesday, March 2)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images. Pictured: Derrick Rose and R.J. Barrett.
- The Knicks have won four of five and find themselves in fourth place in the Eastern Conference.
- The Spurs lost in OT to the Nets on Monday and have several players who are out or doubtful.
- Joe Dellera previews the matchup and gives his pick below.
Knicks vs. Spurs Odds
|Moneyline||+130 / -155|
|Time||8:30 p.m. ET|
|TV||NBA League Pass|
|Odds as of Monday evening and via BetMGM.|
The Knicks head down to San Antonio to take on the Spurs, who were handed a defeat by the Nets Monday night. The Spurs have been shorthanded due to health and safety protocols and this problem may be exacerbated in the second game of a back-to-back after playing into overtime on Monday.
Can San Antonio fight off the New York team after falling victim to the Brooklyn Nets? Let’s break it down.
New York Knicks
The Knicks have quietly ripped off four wins in their last five games and now sit in sole possession of fourth place in the East. They have missed Elfrid Payton in their starting lineup but certainly not in the box scores. Payton is listed as doubtful with a hamstring injury and without, Derrick Rose has moved into the starting lineup and rookie sensation Immanuel Quickley has seen an expanded role. Taj Gibson has also been ruled out and Tom Thibodeau has transitioned to a nine-man rotation in his absence.
The Knicks have been incredible this season defensively, holding opponents to the lowest eFG% in the league, 50.4%, per Cleaning the Glass. They’ve clearly outperformed expectations based on their expected allowed eFG% of 55.2 (second worst in the league), but it’s thanks to their defensive intensity and hustle. The Knicks defend and contest shots at a high rate, particularly from beyond the arc. Likewise, they secure rebounds at the sixth-highest percentage in the league, doing well to limit second-chance opportunities.
On the offensive side of the ball, the Knicks have been excellent with their current starting lineup of Rose, Reggie Bullock, R.J. Barrett, Julius Randle and Nerlens Noel. This lineup has a +18.1 rating and they’ve taken good shots and have a 61.4 eFG%.
San Antonio Spurs
The Spurs were without Derrick White, Rudy Gay, Devin Vassell, and Keldon Johnson in Monday’s loss to the Nets due to health and safety protocols. Keep an eye on their status using out Labs Insiders Tool as the first three are all listed as doubtful while Johnson is questionable.
Johnson was close to returning Monday; even if he does play Tuesday, his minutes should be monitored. Additionally, the Spurs kept Jakob Poeltl in the starting lineup with LaMarcus Aldridge coming off the bench. This is an interesting development, but it may have been because of the back-to-back. Poeltl played 36 minutes while Aldridge only played 15.
One of the players who was given expanded run due to the unavailable Spurs was Lonnie Walker IV, and he had an efficient 19/4/4 night for San Antonio. Poeltl seeing an expanded role as Aldridge recovers has been beneficial for the Spurs, too. He has been a +14.6 points per 100 possessions this season in large part due to his defensive contributions for the team’s defense.
They’ve limited three-point shots this season and when Poeltl is on the floor the team defends those shots at a better rate (-0.6%), per Cleaning the Glass. The one problem here is that the Knicks do not take many three-point shots, so this advantage may be mitigated.
At the time of this writing, the Knicks are 3.5 point underdogs. When the Knicks have been listed as road dogs against an opponent that’s over .500, they are 6-1 ATS, covering by an average margin of 13.36 points. Considering the Knicks have a point differential of just 0.2 points per 100 possessions fewer than the Spurs, this line is a bit surprising given the circumstances.
This game comes down to rest and availability. The Knicks are relatively healthy while the Spurs are in the midst of a health and safety situation while playing a back-to-back set with the first going to OT. This season, teams on no rest are 98-84-2 ATS (5.2% ROI), per our BetLabs Database. However, the Spurs are just 1-3 ATS in this spot.
I’ll back the Knicks as a road dog as this is an excellent spot for Thibodeau to get his team up for a strong finish before the All-Star Break.
Pick: Knicks +3.5