The New York Knicks could benefit from the wild last 48 hours for the visiting Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday.
LeBron James was suspended for one game after he came out swinging against the Detroit Pistons on Sunday and the Knicks could present a similar physical challenge.
Momentum is needed for the struggling teams and NBA betting odds have the home side at -4½, so there has been support for the Eastern Conference outfit.
Lakers Not Covering
The Los Angeles Lakers are struggling at 9-9 and we saw that frustration boil over against the Pistons.
Despite being .500, the Lakers have been a terrible bet. They own a 6-12 record against the spread after losing three of their last four.
Some of their recent spread losses haven’t been close, including failing to cover by 22½ points against Minnesota, 16 points against Chicago and 21 points against Boston.
The biggest disappointment has been the defense, which ranks 28th in points per game and 21st in field goal percentage. It’s not good enough from a typically stout defense, so they’ll need to defend well against a Knicks team that can get hot from the three.
Coach Frank Vogel is hoping to see a similar output from Russell Westbrook, who had 15 points, six assists and five rebounds in the fourth-quarter win over Detroit.
“His offensive determination to attack was something that was very welcome and hopefully is a momentum-builder for him as well,” Vogel told ESPN.
The Lakers have failed to cover the spread in the last three meetings with New York, but two of those games resulted in moneyline wins.
The sportsbook is giving the Lakers +4½ points, which would be a generous number with James in the lineup. However, bettors are losing confidence in knowing what the Lakers will produce on a daily basis and the absence of James makes it harder to back Los Angeles.
Knicks Need to Turn it Around
The New York Knicks have only two wins in their last five games and it’s even worse for spread bettors.
They have failed to cover the number in five of their last six games, with the only win coming against Indiana as a -3 favorite.
It was a hot start for the Knicks, but they have tapered off significantly. Julius Randle is averaging only 20.4 points, but he leads the Knicks in points, rebounds and assists.
He needs his teammates to stand up, including RJ Barrett and Kemba Walker. They have looked good at times, but the consistency hasn’t been there.
That was evident in the 109-103 loss to the Chicago Bulls, where Randle was forced to shoot 13 of 18 just to keep the Knicks in the hunt.
A poor fourth quarter defensively allowed the Bulls to score 37 points, so the late defense is another area of improvement for the Knicks, who are third in field goal percentage.
“I like the way we played for three quarters,” New York coach Tom Thibodeau said. “I felt we weren’t at our best in the fourth. I felt the effort was there. We have to take a hard look at what happened in the fourth.”
Betting online markets are confident the Knicks can get back to their winning ways at home. A win would see their home record improve to 5-5 and dominating at home is vital for this Knicks outfit.
Los Angeles Lakers vs New York Knicks Pick
With the suspension of James, this is an ideal time for the Knicks to strut their stuff.
Having a losing record at home isn’t ideal, so getting to .500 should give the Knicks some much-needed momentum.
It will be a physical game, but that’s when the Knicks thrive. They don’t have an impressive record against sharp-shooting teams, but against a Lakers outfit who will be looking to play aggressively, the Knicks should benefit.
We’re happy to take the -4½ and we see the Knicks winning by seven.