New York Knicks @ Washington Wizards – Verizon Center at 00:00
It has been a long time, but there are reasons to be excited about being a New York Knicks fan these days, mainly thanks to Kristaps Porzingis who looks like a Superstar in the making. He is only in his second year, but looks very comfortable around some big names in the Knicks starting rotation and Porzingis was once again the main man in the win over the Detroit Pistons.
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Playing on back to back days is tough, but the Knicks are not the only ones in that situation with the Washington Wizards also having played on Wednesday. While the Knicks were winning, the Wizards were going down to the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday and injuries as well as a new voice at Head Coach are just slowing down a team that were expected to improve after last season’s failure to reach the Play-offs.
John Wall will be played on a back to back for the first time, but Bradley Beal looks set to be absent again and the Knicks are certainly capable of winning here and getting back to 0.500. There have been a couple of Defensive adjustments that have helped the Knicks win two games in a row and they should have the edge on the glass which can be important in games to separate close teams.
Washington have struggled on the Defensive end of the court and have had problems defending the three point arc which has to be a concern for them. The bench play has also been important for the New York Knicks and I am surprised they are being given the points in this one despite being just 2-7-1 against the spread in the last ten against the Wizards.
The Knicks are on the road where they have been blown out in their last two at Boston and Toronto, but Washington are not one of the better teams in the Eastern Conference at this moment. The Wizards should get better but they have lost three in a row and I don’t think they should be asked to cover this many points against a team in decent form like they are facing on Thursday.
Handicap Betting Pick: New York Knicks +3 Points at 2.07 with 188Bet
Portland Trail Blazers @ Houston Rockets – Toyota Center at 01:00
I don’t think it is possible for me to know exactly how the Houston Rockets blew their chance to win at the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday. They missed so many open looks and James Harden struggled massively from the field, but I am going to back them on their back to back to cover against the Portland Trail Blazers.
Only going cold in the final six minutes prevented the Rockets from winning that game at Oklahoma City, but the Portland Trail Blazers have been having a really hard time Defensively. The Trail Blazers were blown out by the Chicago Bulls in their last game and have now allowed 105 points or more in five consecutive games.
One of the problems for the Trail Blazers has been their struggles when it comes to defending the three point arc and I can’t see Houston missing all their looks like they did on Wednesday. Portland have also been dominated on the glass and giving Houston second looks will only break down that three point Defense even more with the likes of Ryan Anderson, Eric Gordon, Trevor Ariza all able to join Harden in being effective from that range on a more usual day from the field.
The Trail Blazers don’t have the same depth as Houston and while Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum will have their moments, it might be tough to stay with the Rockets. Portland do have a 6-2 record against the spread in their last eight in Houston and have at least had a rest day between their last game and this one, but I think the Rockets will be focused to bounce back after blowing their game at the Thunder on Wednesday.
I think Houston are going to be able to score too many points for the Trail Blazers to stay with them as the Rockets have also been showing better signs Defensively. All of that should play in for a Houston win by around seven to ten points and I will back them to cover the points.
Handicap Betting Pick: Houston Rockets – 4.5 Points at 1.90 with Unibet
Prices correct at time of writing.