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Knicks Are Huge Underdogs Despite 2-0 ATS Record vs Boston

Tim Hardaway Jr. #3 of the New York Knicks dribbles past Gordon Hayward #20 of the Boston Celtics during a game at TD Garden on November 21, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts.

New York vs Boston is a rivalry as old as the two cities themselves and the woeful New York Knicks have represented their hometown well in the first two meetings with one of the Eastern Conference’s preseason favorites. The Knickerbockers are 1-1 SU and 2-0 ATS through the first two meetings as underdogs of 9.5 and 14.5 respectively. The Celtics open as 13-point favorites tonight at TD Garden.

SHARK BITES
  • The Knicks are 6-2 ATS in their last eight games.
  • Boston is averaging 51.1 points in the first half (28th).
  • The total has gone OVER in six of the Knicks’ last eight games on the road (avg. combined score: 228.75).

Knicks vs Celtics Game Center

Celtics Have Been Largely Underwhelming to This Point

The Boston Celtics were expected to be the team to challenge the Toronto Raptors for first place in the Eastern Conference this season, and they may still do that, but after 23 games they are just 13-10 SU and 10-13 ATS and sitting in sixth place in the East.

Leading scorer Kyrie Irving has scored over 25 points just eight times through 23 games and is averaging 24.7 points per game in 21 career games vs New York.

Gordon Hayward, from whom much is expected, has scored an average of just 11.2 points per game and had his first game over 20 points this season in Saturday’s win over Minnesota.

The Celtics have an average +4.4 point differential in all games but have a +13.1 differential in their 13 wins.

Knicks Have Covered in Seven of Their Last 10

It hasn’t been pretty by any stretch, but the Knicks, who have been a betting underdog in 20 of their 25 games this season, have covered the spread in seven of their last 10 games – all as the underdog. In fact, New York has actually been a better bet than the Celtics this season, going 13-10-2 ATS overall.

The Knicks have been able to achieve this despite some horrendous shooting statistics – they are 28th in the Association from the floor at 43.8 percent, while opponents are shooting 47.4 percent against their defense, which is the sixth-worst in the league.

Celtics Home Defense is the Outlier

The Celtics boast the No. 2 scoring defense on home court at 100.7 points per game and that may be the difference tonight. The Knicks, by comparison, have the No. 20 road defense at 115.5 points per game.

If you believe the positivity coming out of Boston, the team has turned the corner on a slow offensive start in the last three games, leading the league in points per possession and scoring an average of 123.3 points in that stretch.

My Best Bet for This Game

For me, there’s not enough concrete data that gets me on either side of the spread in this game. The Knicks, with a 2-0 ATS record and a straight-up win on November 21, should persuade me to jump on the +13 number, but I don’t feel confident in it at all. If there’s a spread bet to play, it might be the Knicks at +7.5 in the first half.

So how about a totals play? The total has gone OVER in six of the Knicks’ last eight road games with an average combined score of 228.75 while the total has gone OVER in Boston’s last four games with an average combined score of 224.5.

So, with these trends, Boston’s recent offensive boost and the Knicks staying competitive in games, I’m going to take OVER 218 points.

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