Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 1:30 PM EST. Odds subject to change.
New York -14½ over Memphis
Best Odds: -104 at Pinnacle
7:40 PM EST. By now all of our readers probably know how good the Knicks have been, but if not allow us to provide a brief reminder. In short, the Knickerbockers have been the hottest team in the association for a month-plus. Only the Cavs can compare. NYK has only lost 3 games since the new year, 14-3 overall. Even better for our wager tonight, they're 14-4 ATS in 2024, an incredibly consistent metric considering their surging position among NBA markets. Since Jan 1, no team has a better defensive rating and only the Cavs eclipse the Knicks in net rating. Their offense continues to produce at a top-10 level, with new addition OG Anunoby elevating a deep and capable roster of swiss army knives. OG and Julius Randle will miss tonight's contest, but so far it hasn't mattered. The Knicks just keep winning and keep covering, no matter who the opponent or situation is.
Jalen Brunson's stock continues to rise and he's cementing himself as one of the best guards in the world. He's averaging 27.2 ppg and shooting 48% from the field, but it's what he does in clutch scenarios that makes him so lethal. In big wins against Philadelphia, Miami, and recently Indiana, Brunson has closed out games with a tenacity and confidence that's a perfect match for the crowd at Madison Square Garden, a fanbase that's embraced the former Villanova superstar in his renaissance. Tonight Brunson and his boys will face the Grizzlies at home as they continue to enjoy nearly four weeks in the comfort of their own town. They've been in the Big Apple since January 15th.
You may have noticed that this site doesn't often make wagers on favorites, especially big favorites. We're keen on the value of a pooch, especially in smaller markets like college basketball or tennis, but this scenario would be the exception. We tried to find an angle to support the Grizzlies tonight, but we simply can't find one. The biggest reason to fade the visitor is the health of their roster. We already know that Ja Morant, Steven Adams, Desmond Bane, and Marcus Smart are missing extended time. Missing a superstar like Ja or a stalwart piece like Adams for the season are obvious and brutal losses, but Bane and Smart have provided essential on-court leadership in their stead. No Bane or Smart makes winning even more difficult for Memphis, but the final nail in the Grizzlies' proverbial coffin is that Jaren Jackson Jr. is doubtful tonight. Last season's Defensive Player of the Year and a guy who's been holding the team on his back through all their injuries, the 24 year old star center has been amazing in a few recent spots, like when he scored 30 points and snagged 8 rebounds in their last win against Orlando on January 26th. But without JJJ, it's really tough to see how the Grizzlies will be able to hang.
The Knicks' front court depth is arguably the best in the NBA. Dudes like Isaiah Hartenstein and Precious Achiuwa, who was also brought to New York in the trade, have fit in impeccably well. Memphis will need to turn to guys named Santi Aldama and Trey Jemison (it's okay if you don't know them, we don't either) to produce down low and earn rebounds against the best rebounding team in pro-ball (55.3 per game). It'll be a display of inexperienced no-names at the Garden for the visiting team, and while that makes for a compelling story if they find a way to rally, it's extremely unlikely that they'll be able to compete. This spread should probably be closer to -20, as wild as that sounds. According to our power-ratings, New York is 5-1 ATS against bottom-tier programs since January 1. We see little evidence that it'll turn to 5-2.
New York -14½ -104 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 1.92)