Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 1:30 AM EST. Odds subject to change.
New York +9 -109 over Boston
7:30 PM EST. The Knicks ran into the buzzsaw of the Celtics in the very first game of the regular season, but we don't really hold that against them. Boston's offensive prowess is insane and it's tough to figure out their starting-5 without seeing it first. That's a huge advantage for the Knicks and another reason why this spread shouldn't be so disparate Monday Night. The Knicks played Sunday, we get it blah blah, but they used a lot of their bench and managed their starter's minutes with intention. Jalen Brunson, Julius Randle, and RJ Barrett all scored 20+ points, and of the starters only Barrett eclipsed 30 minutes (31) on the night. Their bench clocked 110 minutes in total. Our point is, the Knicks might not be as fresh as the Celtics but we think they'll have plenty of energy for their arch-rival. Let's not forget, Boston might've outlasted New York on opening night, but the Knicks beat them on three different occasions in the second half of last season.
It helps that the Knicks are finally looking like a team that looks in-sync, too. New York's high-scorers tend to switch between Brunson, Barrett, and Randle, and Mitchell Robinson's defensive skill is elevating the Knicks' resistance at the rim. In their last four games - three wins and a close loss vs. the Bucks - the Knicks are top 5 in offensive and defensive efficiency, and rated 2nd in the NBA in net rating. For those unaware, net rating is a composite stat, accounting for a team's holistic production per every 100 possessions. Only the Rockets (of all teams) have been better.
We've seen the Celtics become humans again after two straight losses last week to two top teams: the Timberwolves and 76ers. They've answered with two impressive wins by margin against the Nets and Raptors. We know the Celtics are good and will compete for the East's #1 seed if they're healthy, but their depth is questionable. In games like this, the last home stand before a lookahead revenge spot at Philly just two days away, coaches use more of a team's bench to try and conserve a long week ahead. The Knicks will care about this game more than the Celtics, and they've been playing better basketball. They cannot be given this many points.
New York +9 -109 (Risking 2.18 units - To Win: 2.00)