Rockets vs Knicks NBA Pick for 11/1
Our hot streak to start the 2017-18 NBA Picks seasons continued on Tuesday, as the Phoenix Suns got us some nice value (+160) in a road win over the Brooklyn Nets.
The win was our 11th straight and we enter Wednesday’s massive NBA slate with a stout 11-1-1 record to begin the year. The plan is to keep that success rolling for a 12th straight win, while considering safety and value with our pick.
This is a huge slate, so no matter where you stand on some teams, you’re going to have plenty of outs. That has several games standing out as viable options, but the one drawing us in the most is a showdown between the Houston Rockets and New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden.
Normally we want as much value as we can get, but the Rockets stand out as a pretty solid favorite, yet we can get them at -220 at Bovada. That’s a great place to start, but if we do a little value hunting, we would find that Topbet.eu gives us even more value at -210.
On the surface, the Rockets look like strong favorites here and we’re very interested in the free money if we can talk ourselves into it. Let’s look at the rest of this matchup to see if this pick passes the eye test:
We already know we love the Rockets at this price, but it’s worth pointing out that this Total is pretty friendly and a home underdog at +175 (+185 at Bovada) is awfully tempting.
New York is headed in the right direction, too. The Knicks got off to an ugly 0-3 start, but they’ve finally figured their offense out and have ripped off three wins in a row. Now they get to take on a banged up Rockets team on their home floor (2-1 at MSG this year) in what should be an up-tempo game.
Per ESPN’s Hollinger Stats, we get two middle of the road defenses in a game that should see both offenses move a little faster than what we’ve seen this year. New York likes to slow things down more, but the Rockets of a year ago wanted to push the pace and shoot the lights out.
That hasn’t been the case on the season, as Houston oddly enough ranks 28th in outside shooting percentage. The good news is they’ve dealt with these low numbers while key guys like Chris Paul and Trevor Ariza (both quality shooters) have been sidelined.
The Rockets are going to turn it on eventually and Ariza (foot) is back in the lineup. Against a middling Knicks defense that ranks 17th in stopping the three ball, tonight wouldn’t be a terrible spot for Houston to fire away.
This might all just come down to star power and logic, though. Kristaps Porzingis has been amazing (29 points per game), but he was inconsistent as a rookie last year and it stands to reason that he’ll have to deal with some inconsistency as the focal point of his team’s offense.
I’m not sure the Rockets are good enough defensively to completely shut him down, but anytime you’re depending this much on one guy, the bottom can drop out fairly quickly. That’s even more so the case with the Knicks, who are relying on role players like Jarrett Jack, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Enes Kanter – all of which are incredibly erratic performances and also leave a lot to be desired on the defensive end.
I trust Harden much more than Porzingis at this point. Houston also has some guys that can give Zinger some trouble in the post. Clint Capela’s ability to excel in the pick-and-roll game could help get Porzingis in early foul trouble, while defensive ace Nene Hilario could bang with Zinger down low and limit his offensive upside.
All roads lead to this; the Rockets are the better team and the Knicks winning four games in a row seems like a huge reach. I’m sure Porzingis and co. will have some fantastic spurts this year and their recent three-game run qualifies as such. But toppling a good Rockets team doesn’t feel like a winning bet.
Instead, the NBA grind lives on as we get as many wins as we can find. On a huge 12-game slate, there is plenty of opportunity to take stabs at some high upside picks. We need the sure things that also provide value and tonight I think the Rockets do that for us.