Adam Thompson for Bookies.com

By Adam Thompson | | 3 mins

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The 1 New York Knicks Bet You Absolutely Should Be Making

The 1 New York Knicks Bet You Absolutely Should Be Making
  • URL Copied!

The New York Knicks are 16-36 through 52 games, a paltry .308 winning percentage, even after surprising the Orlando Magic 105-103 on Thursday. That sounds like it could be the worst mark in the NBA, but there are four teams with worse records.

To hit the Over on total wins, currently set at 23.5 at 888Sport, the Knicks would have to finish 8-22 down the stretch. That’s a .267 percentage, so oddsmakers believe that not only will New York not turn things around, it will get worse from here on.

Will it happen? We break down the Knicks’ chances for the rest of the season and make an NBA betting pick on the Over/Under for total wins.

The Trade Deadline

The Knicks traded away their leading scorer and No. 3 rebounder in Marcus Morris (19.6 ppg, 5.4 rpg). In return, they got a first-round draft pick – which doesn’t do much for the NBA futures wager in question – and Maurice Harkless, who averaged 5.5 ppg and 4.0 rpg in L.A.

Clearly this is an immediately step in the wrong direction for the Knicks, except it isn’t as big a plunge as it might seem. Harkless, a 6-7 forward from Queens, is a strong defender who can hit 3-pointers. The Knicks need a lockdown forward and rank 28th in 3-point shooting.

Julius Randle now leads the Knicks in scoring at 19.0 points per game.
Julius Randle now leads the Knicks in scoring at 19.0 points per game.

The New York Knicks Roster

Morris is gone, so is there anyone to assume those minutes and pick up the slack? To be determined.

But even lacking a big-name talent on the roster, the Knicks have impressive offensive balance. Julius Randle is still there, averaging 19 ppg, and rookie R.J. Barrett has started 41 games and is at 14 ppg. He returned from a three-week absence (ankle) on Thursday.

After that, four other players average between 9.1 and 9.6 ppg. That doesn’t include Taj Gibson, who joined the starting rotation and had 19 points and five rebounds in 29 minutes in Thursday’s win over the Magic. Six players scored in double figures vs. Orlando.

The Motivation

This may sound preposterous, but the playoffs aren’t completely out of question. The Knicks are only six games out of the No. 8 spot in the top-heavy Eastern Conference, and they just beat the No. 8 team (Orlando) to win their third in a row, a streak that started with an impressive victory at Indiana.

If that’s not motivation to show up every night, how about the idea of playing hard in front of new boss Leon Rose? He takes over basketball duties for Steve Mills, who was fired Tuesday as team president.

New York shouldn’t be in total tank mode yet.

The Schedule

New York has 15 more games at home, 15 on the road. The Knicks are exactly 8-18 both inside Madison Square Garden and outside of it.

There is a clear line in the NBA this season between the true contenders and those scraping for a playoff spot. Going into Friday, 13 of the 30 NBA teams had a winning percentage of .596 or higher, the Memphis Grizzlies were at .510, and every other team was at .462 or lower.

The Knicks play 17 of their remaining 30 games against “second tier” competition. If they go 8-9 against the bottom-level teams, they can go 0-13 against the “first tier” and still hit the NBA odds Over.

Conclusion

The Knicks are on pace to finish about three games ahead of the number, have a favorable schedule down the stretch and should have motivation to continue playing to win.

And they’re playing better lately, going 5-5 in their past 10 games. New York is 12-18 (.400) under interim coach Mike Miller, following the brutal 4-18 start to the year under David Fizdale.

The Knicks are trending in the right direction while the Over/Under line presumes they’re not. Take the Over on 23.5 wins.

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