Knicks at Raptors Picks and NBA Betting Odds
by Trevor Whenham - 3/22/2013
The Raptors are a total mess, and they have nothing to play for other than more balls in the lottery, but you have to give them credit — they are still trying hard. That doesn’t mean that they are winning — they don’t have the talent to do that with any consistency. They are giving honest effort, though, in a spot in which a lot of teams would have folded after years of frustration and futility.
The Knicks could use some consistently strong play right now. Injuries have been a major factor for the team lately, but they haven’t shown the resiliency of some other teams — most notably the Celtics — when facing such adversity. They are playing just .500 basketball recently — and have had to win their last two to get there. That has cost them second place in the Eastern Conference, and their hold on their division is tenuous over the Nets.
Knicks at Raptors Betting Storylines
The Knicks’ injury report really is getting ridiculous — it reads like a novel right now. Of course, when the average age of your roster is about 75, you can’t be that surprised that guys are breaking down. Amar’e Stoudemire, Kurt Thomas and Rasheed Wallace are all out long term. Tyson Chandler is sidelined for a week or so with a bulging disc in his neck. Carmelo Anthony is banged up with a knee issue that has cost him six of the last nine games, but he’s playing here even if he’s at less than full strength. The Knicks dodged a bullet last game that would have really added to their woes. Iman Shumpert heard a pop in his knee and left the game with what could have been a serious injury. It turned out not to be, though, and he’s expected to be in the lineup for this one. Shumpert’s loss would have been significant, but the biggest issue that now looms is the loss of Chandler. The depth chart behind him is ugly. Marcus Camby is too old and fragile to fill serious minutes, so the rusty Kenyon Martin — undersized as a center — will have to fill the void. Needless to say, the Knicks won’t be consistently at their best inside in this one.
Even at less than full strength it is a huge challenge to guard Carmelo Anthony. Toronto had good success in the first meeting — they held him to just 12 points on terrible shooting. The key was that the Raptors shifted former Knick Landry Fields into the starting lineup to defend Anthony. Unfortunately, that approach was far less effective the second time they tried it — nine days later in Toronto Anthony scored 32 points while shooting significantly better inside the arc. Fields could get the call again, but it probably isn’t the real answer in this one — though Toronto did win both of the earlier games.
In the two games between these teams it has almost been as if Anthony and Rudy Gay have been clones of each other. Anthony had 12 points in the first. Gay had 11. Both players had 32 in the second. Gay has been red hot recently, averaging 26.7 over his last three games. It’s his best sustained play since the beginning of the month, and he is far from the least streaky player in the league. Therefore, his high confidence and recent success against the Knicks has to be considered here when handicapping this one.
While the Raptors are a lousy team — 26-42 on the season — they are a much more solid 17-17 at home. They are 5-3 in their last eight at the Air Canada Centre, and the last loss was to the Heat, so it hardly counts. What it boils down to is it would be reasonably easy to undervalue this Toronto team if you considered what they are overall as opposed to how they play at home.
Knicks at Raptors NBA Odds and Betting Trends
The Knicks have gone “under” the total in five of their last six against teams with winning records. Five of the last six meetings between these teams have gone under the total. The Raptors are 1-4 ATS in their last five games overall. The Knicks have covered the spread just once in the last six meetings between the teams.
Knicks at Raptors Picks and Betting Predictions
With no points given to either team, handicapping this one is a little easier — like a moneyline bet. So, who is going to win? The Knicks have won their last two and have looked good doing it. The first of those wins came at the end of a five-game road trip, so that shows some toughness and focus at this point. The lineup isn’t all it could be, but the Raptors can’t exploit the issues like some teams could. The Knicks should be motivated to get back on track and keep the division lead, and Melo should be comfortable after playing well and looking good on Wednesday. The Knicks are the pick.
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