NBA Predictions and Best Bets: New York Knicks vs Philadelphia 76ers and More
New York Knicks vs Philadelphia 76ers
When: Tuesday, October 26, 2021
Where to Watch: MSG
Spread: Knicks -1
New York Knicks vs Philadelphia 76ers Prediction
So much for a season without adversity.
After two games, the Knicks were feeling pretty good about themselves, having done just enough to win in a largely impressive opening night performance versus Boston and then blowing out the seemingly hapless Magic in Orlando’s home opener. The second half of their home and home against the youngest team in the NBA was seen as nothing more than a formality.
Oops. New York faltered late against the Magic, giving up 22 fourth quarter points to Terrence Ross and shooting just 27 percent on their 48 attempts from downtown.
Here’s the good news: for the third game in a row, the long range attempts they were getting were quality looks. The Knicks are currently averaging more threes per game than any team in NBA history, and while that number is sure to go down, it seems the modernization of their offense under head coach Tom Thibodeau has occurred to a greater degree than anyone expected.
That doesn’t mean they’ll have an easy time against their opponent on Tuesday night. Joel Embiid has never lost against the Knicks, going 11-0 thus far against his Atlantic Division opponent thus far in his career.
The question is whether Embiid will play. He’s currently listed as questionable with right knee soreness, and if Philly’s historically cautious approach is any indication, he may sit this one out.
That possibility alone is reason enough to make the Knicks the bet here, but so is this: Tom Thibodeau teams rarely come out with subpar defensive efforts two games in a row. They will be motivated, not only coming off a bad showing at home, but to show their division rivals that their days of being pushed around are over.
One more reason to back the Mecca: Mitchell Robinson, who has been outstanding through three games after entering the season noticeably bulkier. He’s had some success against Embiid in the past, but has also gotten into foul trouble at times. With a more muscular frame and a new contract in his sights, expect to see Robinson’s best performance of the year.
New York Knicks vs Philadelphia 76ers Pick
Knicks -1 (-109)
Denver Nuggets vs Utah Jazz
When: Tuesday, October 26, 2021
Where to Watch: TNT
Spread: Jazz -7.5
Denver Nuggets vs Utah Jazz Predictions
It’s early, but there are arguably no team who should be happier about their early season performance than the Utah Jazz.
Last season’s Western Conference one seed is 2-0 with the second best net rating in the league after sound wins over the Thunder and Kings. Those opponents aren’t terribly impressive, but there was enough uneven buzz surrounding last year’s playoff flameout that an undefeated start was key, regardless of who the wins came against.
Enter the Denver Nuggets. The Nuggets were feeling pretty good as well after a season opening win in Phoenix and a home win against the Spurs, but last night’s home loss to the Cavs was deflating. Part of the blame there can go on Denver shooting just 9-of-38 from downtown.
Historically though, these have been two evenly matched teams. Following a thrilling seven-game first round series in the Orlando bubble, last year’s Nuggets beat the Jazz by 11 in Denver and then had two losses, by four and seven points, respectively.
This line is higher than either of those margins, and in 2019-20, the Nuggets bested the Jazz all three times the teams played.
And then there is this: the Nuggets have now had two poor shooting performances in a row, hitting 23.7 and 30 percent over the last few games. The worst three game stretch they had last year saw them shoot 33.3, 31.3 and 34.3 percent from deep, but besides that, the Nuggets never had a three game stretch without one hit rate that was at least league average, and most of the time, the third game following two straight poor shooting performances was a scorcher.
Count on Denver bouncing back against an opponent they’re more comfortable with than most.
Denver Nuggets vs Utah Jazz Pick
Nuggets +7.5 (-110)