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*Indicates team is on the second leg of a back-to-back
**Lines are opening numbers
Record: 54-61 | Units: -9.65 | ROI: -8.46%
Much like the Los Angeles Clippers play from yesterday’s column, this one is all about the number. Jalen Brunson is still day-to-day with a sore foot that has kept him from competing in the last two games, but there is some growing optimism that he will return for this nationally televised game. Without him, the Kings and Knicks are equals at worst, and if we are using our usual three points for homecourt that would make this number long. Should Brunson play, my own ratings would make this just under 1.5 in favor of Sacramento, so this is a play either way.
New York did lose to Charlotte on Tuesday, but they are uniquely equipped to handle Sacramento. Mitchell Robinson can match up with Domantas Sabonis, and when he faced him back in December he helped keep Sabonis to just 20 points. The Knicks also thrive defensively in two key categories: at the rim and in transition. Opponents take just 32.3% of their attempts within four feet against New York and shoot just 64.2% on those attempts. The Knicks also limit opponents to the fifth fewest added points per 100 possessions through transition offensive off live rebounds (+0.8).
De’Aaron Fox is expected to return tonight, but as previously mentioned, New York’s transition defense has been among the best in the NBA and should be able to contain the fastbreak Sacramento squad.
Bet: Knicks ML (+130)
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Knicks ML (+130)