There is no NBA doubleheader on TNT this Thursday, I presume in deference to the Fiesta Bowl between Oregon and Kansas State. But I wanted to get you your weekly Thursday NBA fix, with a potential NBA Finals preview between the San Antonio Spurs and New York Knicks the marquee game of the night. On Sportsbook.ag, the Knicks are +1000 to win the NBA title and +350 second-favorites behind Miami to win the East. San Antonio is +700 to win the championship and a +350 third-favorite behind the Thunder and Clippers to win the Western Conference.
Spurs at Knicks Betting Story Lines
The Spurs entered Wednesday night’s game in Milwaukee with the NBA’s most road wins at 12-6. San Antonio was on a six-game winning streak entering the Bucks matchup, and the Spurs thoroughly embarrassed the Brooklyn Nets on Monday, 104-73. San Antonio had probably the most lopsided quarter you will see all season, outscoring the Nets 30-5 in the third. Spurs star Tim Duncan had seven points himself in that quarter. It was the fewest points ever allowed by the Spurs in any quarter, as Brooklyn was 2-for-20 shooting. It was the third-lowest scoring quarter in history – the record, if you are wondering, is two points set by Dallas in 1997 against the Lakers.
The Knicks are in a mini-slump, having lost two straight (and four of six) and allowing an average of 105.5 points in those two. In Tuesday’s 105-100 home defeat to Portland, Amare Stoudemire made his season debut for New York. He wasn’t much of a factor, with six points and one rebound in 17 minutes off the bench. And Stoudemire will continue to come off the bench for the near future barring an injury to a starter. The New York media speculates that Stoudemire will probably average only about 25 minutes per game this year. Carmelo Anthony was brilliant in Tuesday’s loss with 45 points. He’s only the fourth Knick since 1988 with at least two 45-point games in a season. Anthony had missed the previous two games with a knee injury. Want to know why Stoudemire will come off the bench? The Knicks are 30-33 when Anthony and Stoudemire start together. And in the 14:04 they were on the court together Tuesday, New York was outscored by five points.
J.R. Smith continued his recent hot streak for New York with a season-high 28 points against the Blazers. He is the first Knick ever to score 25 or more points in four straight games coming off the bench. New York clearly misses starting point guard Raymond Felton. He has missed three games and is out at least another month with a fractured finger. According to ESPN New York, the Knicks have a plus-4.8 plus-minus and are averaging 79.5 points per 36 minutes when Felton is on the court but a negative 1.9 plus-minus and are averaging 71.1 points when he's not. Jason Kidd was held scoreless in 33 minutes vs. the Blazers and had just three assists. Backup Pablo Prigioni had two points in 22 minutes.
The Knicks and Spurs faced off Nov. 15 in San Antonio, and New York pulled off the 104-100 upset as a 5.5-point dog (total was 196) for its first win there since 2003. The Knicks were down by 12 with seven minutes left. Felton was the star of the game with 25 points. Anthony was held to a season-low nine points on 3-for-12 shooting but did have 12 rebounds. New York turned the ball over just seven times. Tony Parker led San Antonio with 19 points and 12 assists. The Spurs had won 18 of their past 19 regular-season games against New York.
Spurs at Knicks Betting Odds and Key Trends
At BetOnline, New York is a one-point favorite with the total at 206.5. The Spurs (all trends entering Wednesday) are 20-12-1 ATS (11-7 ATS on road) and 17-16 “over/under”. Those overall ATS wins and ATS road wins are tied for the most in the NBA. The Knicks are 15-15-1 ATS (9-6 at home) and 16-13-2 over/under.
San Antonio is 1-4 ATS in its past five road games and also in its past five road games against teams with a winning home record. The Knicks are 5-1 ATS in their past six Thursday games. New York has failed to cover in its past six games overall (one push). New York is 0-4 ATS in its past four playing on one day of rest. The under is 4-1 in San Antonio’s past five road games. The over is 8-3 in the Knicks’ past 11 at home. The home team is 6-2-1 ATS in the past nine meetings between these teams.
Spurs at Knicks Betting Prediction
New York wins when it hits three-pointers. It leads the NBA by far in averaging 29.1 three-pointers per game and ranks fourth in percentage at 38.8. Eight of the Knicks’ 10 losses this season have come when they shot 36.7 percent or less from long range. Only two teams in NBA history have won the championship when leading the NBA in three-pointers attempted, and both were the Houston Rockets when they won back-to-back titles in 1993 and 1994 when Michael Jordan was retired.
New York hasn’t swept the Spurs in 10 seasons. I wouldn’t recommend the Knicks if the Spurs weren’t playing the second of a back-to-back. Plus, it wouldn’t shock me if Gregg Popovich rests one of his veterans as this is San Antonio’s fourth game in five days and because the team then returns home. Take New York (jump on the line now because it will obviously rise if Popovich sits one of his stars) and the over.
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