Knicks vs. Jazz NBA Odds & Picks: Back Utah’s Hot ATS Streak to Continue
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images. Pictured: Donovan Mitchell #45 of the Utah Jazz, Elfrid Payton #6 of the New York Knicks.
- The Utah Jazz are the hottest team in the NBA and enter their Tuesday matchup against the New York Knicks as double-digit betting favorites.
- Can Utah maintain its scorching stretch against the spread (8-0 ATS) against a scrappy defensive-minded New York squad?
- Kenny Ducey previews the matchup and odds, including how he's betting tonight's game.
Knicks vs. Jazz Odds
|Moneyline||+480 / -680|
|Time||9 p.m. ET|
|TV||NBA League Pass|
The Utah Jazz have earned the right to call themselves one of the best teams in basketball of late — winning their last eight games and covering the spread in each one — and aim to make it nine straight against the upstart New York Knicks.
New York had some real momentum, snapping a five-game losing streak with a run of three wins, but its offense has gone cold over the past two games — both losses — and things won’t get much easier against the Jazz.
Despite a big number, can the Jazz defense be trusted to stymie the Knicks all night long to create enough of a cushion for a comfortable cover, or will Tom Thibodeau’s Knicks refuse to go away and keep this one close? Let’s dig into the numbers to see if there’s value in laying the points with the Jazz.
New York Knicks
Though it feels like there’s been nothing but bad news to report of late with two straight losses, the Knicks have actually gotten some key players back into their rotation over the past few games. Defensive stalwart Frank Ntilikina is back on the Knicks bench, along with scoring threat Alec Burks, which will clutter the guard rotation but ultimately should help keep the Knicks’ legs as fresh as possible, which we all know is important under coach Tom Thibodeau.
Speaking of Thibodeau, the job he has done with the Knicks defense, which ranks fourth in the NBA with a 106.9 Defensive Rating, should not go understated, though there may be a bit more to the team’s success that meets the eye.
Many have been quick to point out that New York has been sensational on the perimeter, allowing the league-best 31.4% of 3s to fall, but before Sunday’s loss to Portland, The Athletic’s Seth Partnow noted that this has been due in large part to luck.
— Anchorage Man (@SethPartnow) January 24, 2021
Teams facing the Knicks had shot just 34.6% on uncontested 3s, the second-lowest mark in the league, and that night Portland was able to hit on 37% on 3-pointers.
That’s not to say the Knicks haven’t done other great things defensively — they’re sixth in points in the paint (43.9) and ninth in second-chance points against (11.6) — but their success against the 3 will regress to the mean should they continue to give up open looks. That said, the Knicks are giving up the fourth-most contested 3s per game, something that could bode well for their status as a 3-point stopping machine.
Offensively, the key to the Knicks’ success really has fallen on the shoulders of one man: Rookie point guard Immanuel Quickley.
Though the Knicks’ Offensive and Defensive Efficiency is relatively unchanged with Quickley On or Off, there is a marked difference in the way New York plays. With Quickey on the floor, the Knicks are running at a faster pace (+1.36), shooting 8.6% more 3s, and scoring 5.7 more points per 100 possessions off turnovers.
The decision to play Quickley over veteran Elfrid Payton should be made sooner rather than later due to the reasons above, and the fact that the Knicks are allowing over six more points per 100 plays with Payton on the floor.
The Jazz have had a simple recipe for success this year: Launch 3s, rebound the ball, and lock down the perimeter. Only two teams have attempted more 3-pointers per game than the Jazz — Trail Blazers and Raptors — and no teams have collected more rebounds per game than the Jazz (49.4).
Defensively, to no one’s surprise, the Jazz have stopped any and everyone that’s come their way. Behind two-time Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert, the Jazz have allowed just 36.9% of shots to fall in the paint, which ranks fourth in the league, and overall have ranked third in Defensive Efficiency. Entering a matchup with one of the five weakest shooting units in the NBA judging by True Shooting Percentage, the Jazz should enjoy much of the same on Tuesday.
Not only have the Jazz won and covered in eight straight, they’ve now reinstalled Joe Ingles, one of their most important players, after an injury that held him out of four games during their winning streak. Other than that, Utah has no one of consequence on its injury report, except Derrick Favors who is once again listed as probable with a knee injury.
Utah is defending at an elite level right now, and Donovan Mitchell is hot as ever on the offensive end. After a slow start to the year, Mitchell has averaged 27.3 points over the past eight games, which ranks 12th in the league, and leads the NBA with a blistering 126.5 Offensive Rating.
New York has given up a good-not-great 21.4 points per game to opposing point guards, and as previously mentioned Thibodeau is electing to give Payton the bulk of the minutes at point guard. As long as Mitchell avoids Frank Ntilikina for extended minutes, he should once again be able to flirt with 30 points.
In short, there is nothing on paper that jumps out as a potential problem for the Jazz, other than the battle at the 3-point line. Down low, Gobert leads one of the top-five paint defenses, which should neutralize New York’s biggest threat in Julius Randle and take away buckets on drives to the basket, something the Knicks do 53.1 times per game, which ranks fourth in the NBA.
Outside, the Jazz possess some of the best shooters in the NBA, ranking in the top five in Effective FG%, and considering how fortunate the Knicks have been on uncontested 3s, there is a very real possibility that their 3-point prowess begins to regress towards the mean.
During their streak, the Jazz have covered by an average of 10.4 points and were favorites in seven of the eight games, according to Bet Labs. With no injury or fatigue concerns, Utah should make it nine wins in a row here, and nine wins against the spread, on the back of its ability to lock down the paint and hit uncontested 3s.
New York is still trying to figure out its guard rotation, and I suspect it will take another week or so before Thibodeau figures out the optimal blend of offense and defense required.
Were Quickley starting and getting 30 minutes, I’d re-think this line, but given the current Knicks rotation I’m comfortable laying all these points with a juggernaut in the Jazz.
Pick: Jazz -10.5