NBA Odds & Picks for Knicks vs. Nuggets: Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop Backing New York (Wednesday, May 5)

Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Julius Randle (right).

Knicks vs. Nuggets Odds

Knicks Odds +3.5
Nuggets Odds -3.5
Moneyline +132 / -156
Over/Under 214
Time Wednesday, 9 p.m. ET
TV League Pass
Odds as of Tuesday and via FanDuel

The Nuggets host the Knicks on Wednesday night in the second and final meeting between these teams this season, with the Nuggets having won the first matchup on Jan. 10 in New York, 114-89.

That was a totally different Knicks team compared to the one that Denver will play on Wednesday night. Led by Julius Randle, the Knicks have won 12 of their last 13 games after beating the Grizzlies on Monday night. The Nuggets are dealing with a myriad of key injuries, but Nikola Jokic has kept them afloat. Denver has won nine of its last 11 games despite losing to the Lakers on Monday night.

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New York Knicks

Bigs Nerlens Noel (ankle) and Norvel Pelle (sprained right ankle) are questionable to play Wednesday. while Mitchell Robinson (foot) remains out for the season.

The Knicks will need RJ Barrett and Derrick Rose to continue playing at a high level alongside Julius Randle to have a chance at covering against the Nuggets. It will be important for Barrett and Rose to stretch the Nuggets’ defense with their ability to drive the basketball and shoot from beyond the arc.

After struggling to shoot the 3-ball as a rookie and early in this season, Barrett has shot 49% from beyond the arc since the start of April, which ranks in the 91st percentile among wings.

Rose, meanwhile, has given the Knicks a huge boost. They are 21-8 with him this season compared to 16-20 without him. His ability to slash and put pressure on the rim and score has been a big boost for the Knicks, but he has shot the ball at a high level lately, as well. Rose has made 50% of his 3-point attempts over his last eight games.

 

Reggie Bullock’s shooting will also be key. He shot 45.4% from beyond the arc and scored 14.3 points per game in April, both of which were personal season highs for any month this season. Bullock’s perimeter prowess, alongside Barrett and Rose, is a big reason why the Knicks lead the NBA in making 43.7% of their 3-pointers since April 1.


Denver Nuggets

If the Nuggets cover as home favorites, they need Michael Porter Jr. and Jokic at their best as the four highest-scoring guards for the Nuggets will all be out. Jamal Murray (torn ACL) is out for the season, while Will Barton (right hamstring strain), PJ Dozier (right adductor strain) and Monte Morris (right hamstring strain) are all out.

Jokic is running away from the pack in the MVP race, having been an unstoppable triple-double machine this season (averaging 26.3 points, 10.9 rebounds, and 8.5 assists per game). After shooting 32% on 3-pointers in each of the last two seasons, Jokic has shot 42% from downtown this year in becoming the league’s best all-around offensive player this season. He is one of the best passing big men in the league’s history and unguardable with his combination of size and skill.

Jokic should have some more favorable than normal matchups inside. The Knicks’ may not have either Pelle or Noel, both of whom are 6-foot-10, while Mitchell Robinson is out for the season. This means that the smaller Taj Gibson will likely see a good amount of time guarding Jokic, who will need to score efficiently to beat the Knicks’ impressive defense.

Porter will need to continue being efficient on high volume, as he has been while the Nuggets have won eight of 10 games since Murray’s injury. Porter has been incredibly efficient offensively this season, as his 132.4 points per 100 shots rank in the 97th percentile among forwards this season, per Cleaning The Glass. He has excelled at cutting without the ball and getting fed by Jokic and continues to shoot the ball at an elite level. Porter’s 44% accuracy on 3-pointers ranks in the 91st percentile among forwards.

The Nuggets could also use another scorer to step up and play well against the Knicks. Austin Rivers and Facundo Campazzo will play larger roles than normal, having both played 33 or more minutes on Monday. Shaquille Harrison and Markus Howard are the only other guards available on the roster, but Harrison played just 13 minutes on Monday while Howard, an undrafted rookie, was a DNP coach’s decision.

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Knicks-Nuggets Pick

With the Nuggets significantly shorthanded on the perimeter, the value lies with the Knicks and the points. New York is shooting the lights out lately, having morphed into an elite offensive team over the past month while they continue to be the best NBA team against the spread this season.

With the Knicks’ shooters at their sharpest and the Nuggets without their top-four guards, expect the Knicks to keep this game competitive if they don’t pull the upset.

I love the value on the Knicks at +3.5 (down to +2.5) and also like the value on them to win outright at +132, although there should be better value on the live moneyline.

Pick: Knicks +3.5 (bet down to +2.5)

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