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With Monday's NBA slate, NBA Expert, Jonathan Macri makes his picks for Knicks vs Raptors and Clippers vs Thunder.

NBA Predictions and Best Bets: New York Knicks vs Toronto Raptors and More

New York Knicks vs Toronto Raptors

When: November 1, 2021

Where To Watch: MSG

Spread: Knicks -6.5

Click Here For Knicks vs Raptors Odds

New York Knicks vs Toronto Raptors Predictions

As someone who covers the New York Knicks on a daily basis, I’ll be the first to say that betting them right now is to take one’s life into one’s hands.

In the season opener, they covered a 2.5-point spread with a four-point win in double overtime, but only after a six-point lead evaporated in the last 60 seconds of regulation. Then, after blowing a home game against the otherwise winless Orlando Magic, they had a slightly-too-close-for-comfort 13-point win against a Philly team they led by 27, followed by allowing the Bulls to score the last 12 points of a game and win by just one in Chicago.

To top off their maddening start, they nearly lost to a Pelicans team missing its two best players, relying on some late RJ Barrett magic after New Orleans had cut it to two with 90 seconds left.

Even with all this heart-pounding though, the Knicks still come into Monday tied for the best record in the league, and more importantly for our purposes, a winning record against the spread. Last season’s best team against the Vegas odds has a funny way of doing this: coming out on top in the end, but never making you feel comfortable in the process.

Enter the 4-3 Toronto Raptors, winners of three straight. Two of those have come against the Indiana Pacers (both covers) which bookended a one-point win against Orlando. Thevictory against the Magic closely mirrored some of New York’s hair-raisers, when an 11-point lead whittled down to one and Cole Anthony missed a game winner with under a second remaining.

Aside from their respective finishing issues, this is a matchup of the unstoppable force vs the immovable object. New York has the second best offense in basketball and is hitting threes at a league-leading clip, but their defense has faulted in ways uncharacteristic of a Thibodeau team, ranking just 21st through six games. Toronto, on the other hand, has the league’s 7th-ranked defense but its fourth-lowest effective field goal percentage.

One cause for concern: the Raptors are great at preventing looks at the rim but have been giving up a fair number of 3-pointers this season as a percentage of overall shots. That’s exactly what the Knicks want.

This spread is about a point too high for comfort, but the Knicks should have no problem respecting a division opponent that has had their number in past years. Go with the home team.

New York Knicks vs Toronto Raptors Pick

Los Angeles Clippers vs Oklahoma City Thunder

When: November 1, 2021

Where To Wach: Bally Sports

Spread: Clippers -11

Click Here For Clippers vs Thunder Odds

Los Angeles Clippers vs Oklahoma City Thunder Predictions

I wrote yesterday that the Brooklyn Nets were not a team that deserved the benefit of a double-digit spread by any stretch of the imagination. And yet…I picked them. Why? Because sometime you just have to look past a team’s issues and go with the talent against the right opponent.

Sure enough, the Nets beat the Pistons by 26 points. It was the get well game they needed at the time they needed it.

Which brings us to a team that is in far more desperate need of a win but isn’t quite as talented as the Nets: the Los Angeles Clippers. The real shame is that, had they been able to steal a few of their close losses, Paul George would be in the early MVP discussion. He’s fourth in the NBA in scoring, the league-leader in steals and is pacing the Clips in rebounds and made threes.

George is coming off a 42-point outing versus Portland where the rest of LA’s starting five combined for 16 points on 6-of-29 shooting. Even so, it was an eight-point game with under five minutes to go. The Clippers negative 2.0 net rating also doesn’t speak to that of a 1-4 team.

On the flip side, the Thunder’s negative 13.9 net rating – currently on track to be the second worst in recorded NBA history, behind only the seven-win 2011-12 Bobcats – is very indicative of who they are. They’re on the road facing a team due for a rebound.

They may not deserve the benefit of this line, but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take them. Go with LA.

Los Angeles Clippers vs Oklahoma City Thunder Pick

Article Author


Dean of Knicks Film School, host: KFS Pod, co-host: Pick N Pod. There isn't much about Knicks basketball that Jonathan doesn't know and he's here to break down the big games each and every week.


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