New York Knicks vs. Denver Nuggets – NBA, May 5, 2021

By Dean McHugh in NBA
| May 5, 2021 9:32 am PDT

Fourth in the west meets fourth in the east as the Nuggets battle the Knicks tonight. The Nuggets have a top-four spot assured in the Western Conference, so for them, the remainder of the season is all about finishing as high as possible to get a more straightforward game in the first round of the playoffs.

In contrast, it’s doubtful the Knicks will finish any higher than fourth, so it is all about cementing that spot and fine-tuning their game in preparation for the playoffs.

It will be a good test for them tonight to see where their game is now, especially seen as they haven’t beaten the Nuggets for six games. The last time they met was back in January when the Nuggets trounced the Knicks by 25-points and held them to a score of under 90-points.

The Knicks have also found life challenging in Denver as they have lost on their previous 12 visits. Can 13 be unlucky for the Nuggets tonight?

Looking at that record, it will come as no surprise to see that the Nuggets are averaging 13 (there’s that number again) more points than the Knicks over their previous ten meetings. They have taken an average lead old eight points into the second half of those games, so it is clear to see the Knicks need to start better.

The Nuggets have also dominated the boards when these two meet, averaging 45 rebounds per game.

Let’s look at the betting trends for each team, and then I will provide my Knicks vs. Nuggets betting prediction.

Knicks vs. Nuggets Odds

Knicks +3.5-110
Nuggets -3.5-110
Knicks To Win+135
Nuggets To Win-143
Over 215 Points-110
Under 215 Points-110

The spread has been cut by a point and a half since the betting opened on this one, and it now looks about right to me. However, the total points certainly look on the low side and could offer up some value.

The Knicks have an excellent record at home and on the road against the spread this season, having won 21 and lost 11 of their games. The Nuggets also have an excellent record playing at home against teams from the east coast as they have only lost three of their 13 matches.

Knicks Analysis

The Knicks are in great form right now, and you would be hard-pressed to find a better team at present. They have won 12 of their previous 13 (yes 13 again) matches, with their only loss coming against the Suns. It was the second game in two days for the Knicks, and although they started well, they eventually ran out of steam.

The Knicks have an average record on the road this season, having won 15 and lost 17 of their 32 road trips. However, they head into this one in good form away from home, having won their previous four games.

Here are the latest betting trends for New York:

  • They have won 15 of their last 16 games against the spread.
  • Five of their previous six matches have gone over the betting total.
  • The Knicks have only won three of their last 12 games against the spread when taking on the Nuggets.
  • New York has won their previous seven matches in a row against the spread when playing on the road.
  • All of their most recent eight games against Western Conference opponents have gone over the points total.
  • Only one of their previous five matches against teams based in the Northwest Division has failed to go under the betting total.

It’s hard to take anything concrete out of this data, other than the Knicks are playing some tremendous basketball right now.

The Knicks have a weak offense this season that has only averaged 107-points per game this season. This is despite being one of the best three-point shooting teams in the league.

They lack creativity which is why they rely on their three-point shooting add they struggle to break their opponents down most nights.

They have been even less of a threat on the road this season as they have scored two points less per game on average.

However, their poor offense can fall back on the league’s best defense. They are only conceding 104-points per game on average, which gives them a superb platform to go on and win most matches. When it comes to playing without the better, there is no better team than the Knicks, and I often have to check they don’t have six players on the court most nights as their coverage is that good.

Nerlens Noel has been at the heart of their defense this season, but he picked up an ankle injury recently and remains questionable to play tonight.

As well as Noel, the only other injury the Knicks have to contend with is that of Robinson, who is sidelined with a foot injury.

Assessing the Nuggets

The Nuggets had a five-game win streak ended by the Lakers last time out in one of their lowest-scoring games of the season. Denver will be bitterly disappointed with the loss as the Lakers had quite a few players missing from their lineup. However, it was only their second defeat in 11 matches.

Denver has a fantastic record at the Ball Arena this season, having won 24 of their 34 games there. They have won their previous six in a row and only dropped one loss in 13 (I’m bored of saying it now, but yes 13 again) home matches.

Here are the latest betting trends for Denver:

  • The Nuggets have lost six of their previous nine matches against the spread.
  • Four of their last five games have gone under the betting total.
  • Only two of their previous nine matches against the Knicks have failed to go over the points total.
  • The total has gone over in four of their last five games against teams from the east coast.
  • They have only won three of their previous nine matches against the spread when taking on teams in the Atlantic Division.
  • Denver is 2-6 in their last eight games against the spread they have entered as the betting favorites.

Despite the Nuggets’ great form, it is clear that the bookmakers have continuously overestimated them this season. This has not been the case for the Knicks and possibly the reason they have cut the spread since the betting opened.

The Nuggets have an excellent offense that has been superb in and around the key this season. They work the ball in and out of the paint brilliantly, and the Knicks could undoubtedly learn a thing or two against them this evening. They are going up against the team with the lowest field goal percentage against them this season, making for an enthralling encounter.

Their defense has been just as good despite allowing their opponents to score 46% from the field goal range. The Knicks only averaged 45% this season, so they shouldn’t be too worried about this tonight.

The Nuggets a few one of the best all-rounded teams in the league, and they have a coach in Michael Malone who has picked up his first-ever coach of the month award for April. This combination makes them so deadly and dark horses by many to go all the way this season.

The injuries are beginning to mount up for the Nuggets, and they will miss Barton, Murray, Morris, and Dozier tonight. As well as this, there are concerns over the fitness of both Jokic and Nnaki; however, they are both expected to feature.

Knicks vs. Nuggets Pick

Pick
  • Over 215 Points
    -110

This has all the makings to be one of the games of the season so far. These are two of the most in-form teams in the NBA right now. It truly is a game to sit back, put your feet up and watch the drama unfold.

I’m not one for superstitions, but it’s hard to ignore the amount of number 13’s involved in the stats for this one, and most of them are with the Nuggets. I think the safest bet is to stick with my original thought and back over the points total.

Over their previous ten meetings, these teams have combined for an average score of 223-points, and the combined averages of their offenses this season amount to 222-points let game. As you can see, both totals easily sit above the total set here tonight, and if Noel misses out tonight, it could leave a hole in the Knicks impenetrable defense.

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