One of the tougher home matchups for the 18-18 New York Knicks comes to Madison Square Garden today, as the 25-12 San Antonio Spurs will face the Knicks (7:30 p.m. ET Tuesday).
These teams squared off in San Antonio last Thursday in a contest that ended as a 119-107 victory for the Spurs. However, Spurs All-Star Kawhi Leonard didn’t play in that contest due to rest. He should make a difference on both ends in today’s contest.
New York has overachieved this season, while San Antonio has kept pretty even with expectations even with Leonard out for much of the season with an injury.
How will today’s contest play out? We will decide what the most relevant factors in the game are before deciding the betting predictions and picks for this preview with reference to the odds from the best of the US-friendly offshore sportsbooks.
Can Enes Kanter Win His Matchup Against Pau Gasol?
Kanter and Gasol are similar in that they are both centers who are much more useful on the offensive end than the defensive end. For Kanter, the problem on defense due to a general lack of awareness, while Gasol is just old and slow.
Neither guy plays huge minutes — both average around 25 per game — but they’ll be matched up against each other for a lot of that time. Gasol won the matchup last week, with 17 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists in 26 minutes of playing time.
However, Kanter has arguably had the better season. The brawny Turkish big lit up Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers for 31 points and 22 rebounds on Christmas and is extremely tough to stop inside when he is playing with energy and focus.
How Big of a Factor Will These Teams’ Home-Road Splits Be?
The Spurs are 6.5 games ahead of the Knicks in the standings. However, consider these records: 15-6 and 8-10. Those are the marks of New York at home and San Antonio on the road, respectively. Both squads play drastically different basketball depending on whether they have home-court advantage or not.
For both teams, the three-point shot is a huge factor in determining their success at home and lack thereof away from home. New York’s three-point percentage goes up from 31.8 to 38 at home, while San Antonio’s percentage from downtown goes down from 39.7 to 32.1 on the road.
New York must focus on doing the things it usually does best at home, which is attacking the rim, dominating the glass and taking smart shots from the outside. The Spurs, however, need to concentrate on their outside shots, move the ball and control the defensive glass.
Will the Spurs Start to Make Offensive Adjustments With Kawhi Leonard in the Lineup?
Leonard has still played just six games this season after returning from a quad injury. The Spurs are being very cautious with his recovery, as he’s already missed four games for precautionary reasons since he made his season debut.
The superstar forward has been decent so far, but the Spurs’ offense has been absolutely terrible with him on the floor. The team isn’t making much of an effort to get Leonard easy shots within the flow of the offense — almost all of his attempts are self-created on pick-and-rolls, isolations and post-ups.
San Antonio needs to be more diverse in how it uses Leonard and the players around him in this game. If it’s just more of the same, the Knicks should win.
Our Preview’s San Antonio Spurs vs. New York Knicks Betting Picks & Predictions
New York is on a bit of a slide, with losses in its last five games. The Spurs haven’t played great as of late, but the defense has been pretty consistent and the offense has a lot of potential to explode if Gregg Popovich makes some adjustments on how he uses Kawhi Leonard.
Here are the betting picks and predictions for today’s NBA encounter:
- San Antonio is a 4.5pt favorite. Despite these teams’ drastic home-road splits, I think the Spurs will prove their superiority over the Knicks. Place your bets on the Spurs -4.5pts @ -110 with 5Dimes, Intertops or GTbets.
- Because of the offensive step forward I expect the Spurs to make, they should score a pretty good number of points against a decent, but overperforming, Knicks defense. The prediction is to go over 5pts @ -113 with Bookmaker. Most other firms have the total points spread at a point higher.
Jared is a lifelong sports fan and writer whose specialist subject is NBA. A 2015 graduate of Indiana Wesleyan University, with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, Jared has been a sought-after freelance sports writer. In addition to his valuable USA Betting contributions, he has also written for other top media outlets.