Giants fans were ecstatic and Jets fans were apoplectic Monday following an epic weekend of football that also included basketball. And whether those same fans also like the Knicks or the Nets did not matter. Both New York teams are among the NBA’s hottest right now, and what came out of Pacers coach Rich Carlisle’s mouth Sunday was stunning.
“Right now, New York is as good as any team in the NBA.”
A mouthful from the head of the NBA Coaches Association, and it is not exactly reflected that way at New York’s nine sportsbooks. The Knicks odds to win the NBA championship are:
- DraftKings: +15000
- FanDuel: +24000.
- PointsBet: +15000
- WynnBet: +8000.
- BetMGM: +25000
- Caesars: +8000.
- ResortsWorld: +15000.
- BallyBet: Unavailable.
- BetRivers: +8000.
That is quite the disparity, and while absolutely nobody is counseling you to dream big if you are a Knicks fan and think that the first championship is a realistic possibility, facts are facts. And the fact of the matter is that the NBA’s longest winning streak currently belongs to Tom Thibodeau’s squad, which made it seven straight by dominating the final 2 minutes defensively in a 109-106 victory Sunday in which most of the sporting world was obsessing on the World Cup and the NFL.
The Nets weren’t bad either, with Kevin Durant (43 points) and Kyrie Irving (38) becoming the first teammates since Durant and Russell Westbrook a decade ago in Oklahoma City to have a third game of at least 35 points apiece in a single season. Penny Hardaway and Shaquille O’Neal in Orlando were the only other NBA teammates to accomplish the feat over the past 30 years.
There is an old saying that the NBA season begins for the public on Christmas Day, because that is when the public starts paying attention as the league plays a quintupleheader that includes Philadelphia playing the Knicks at Madison Square Garden at noon. If Santa treats the Knicks well prior to that, they’ll have their winning streak up to 10 after the Warriors (without Steph Curry) and then the slumping Raptors and Bulls play at MSG over the course of this week. (Side bets on whether Nick Nurse and Billy Donovan survive the week can only be made offline with your buddies.)
Making it happen together. #NewYorkForever
JB 30 PTS | 2 AST | 2 STL
JU 25 PTS | 14 REB | 3 AST
RJ 24 PTS | 4 REB | 1 BLK pic.twitter.com/v1pjf7WBmJ
— NEW YORK KNICKS (@nyknicks) December 19, 2022
Brooklyn is right behind the Knicks and is tied with Orlando (go figure that one out) for the NBA’s second-longest winning streak right now, six games.
And their odds for a championship are a heck of a lot shorter as Durant plays one of the best seasons of his career statistically. Odds on the Nets to win their first NBA title:
- DraftKings: +900
- FanDuel: +1300.
- PointsBet: +1200
- WynnBet: +1400.
- BetMGM: +1400
- Caesars: +1200.
- ResortsWorld: +1200.
- BallyBet: Unavailable.
- BetRivers: +1200.
— SLAM (@SLAMonline) December 19, 2022
What Are The Best Nets and Knicks Wagers?
Title aspirations aside, there are ways to play the NBA futures market if you are a fan of either team and believe the runs of success will continue. Clearly, the Nets are more highly regarded, and we will not get to see the two teams face each other again until Jan. 28, when they collide in a nationally televised game on ABC.
So the place to look for value is in the futures markets, both for team success and for individual awards. That’s with the latter category of wagers having to be made from accounts in neighboring states because of New York’s restriction on voting for any award that is decided by humans casting ballots.
For the Knicks, there is an argument to be made that Jalen Brunson is among the league’s best candidates for Most Improved Player. And while that is true, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander seems to have cornered the market on that award, being listed as the -130 favorite, with Brunson on the board at +10000 after being one of the preseason favorites.
Gilgeous-Alexander has improved his scoring by 6.4 points per game to 31.2, and his shooting from 45.3 to 50.4, which justifies his favorite status. But are Brunson’s numbers all that far behind? Enough to have him at +10000? The point guard who joined the Knicks after leaving the Mavericks is scoring 4.5 more points per game than last season and is averaging 20.8, and his assists are up 1.4 to 6.2.
Definitely not SG-A material, but not all that bad. Still, unless Shai gets injured or the Thunder goes on a massive winning streak that gets him into the MVP conversation, that one looks like a bad bet, Knicks-wise.
But Coach of the Year? Hmmmm.
Tom Thibodeau's full response to if having the longest winning streak in the NBA means anything to him: "No."
— Fred Katz (@FredKatz) December 19, 2022
What About Thibs For Coach of the Year?
Thibodeau has the Knicks playing stifling defense of late, which is especially notable because scoring is through the roof in the NBA. That’s as evidenced by Sunday’s Timberwolves-Bulls game, in which Minnesota scored 150 despite being without Karl-Anthony Towns and Rudy Gobert.
The 106 scored by the Pacers was the second-highest total by an opponent during the seven-game winning streak. The Bulls had 120 in an overtime loss, and other opponent totals included 81 by the Cavs, 89 by the Hawks, 99 by Sacramento, and 91 by Chicago.
Getting players to buy into a defensive mindset is always particularly difficult, and for Thibs to have the Knicks players doing it in December is noteworthy.
Yet Thibodeau is listed at +4000 at Bet365 (only available outside of New York), making him the coach with the 15th-longest odds. Joe Mazzula (Boston) at +250 and Willie Green (New Orleans) at +275 as basically cofavorites makes sense. But Thibs with higher odds than Monty Williams (+2500) of the Phoenix Suns? Makes no sense … and that is where we will remind you that sportsbooks can be slow to make adjustments in certain awards categories, a trend we have seen repeat itself for the past 4 1/2 years since The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) was overturned and sports gambling became legalized.
Jacque Vaughn of the Nets is at +1600, and he is getting his name in that race, too.
Jacque Vaughn has saved the Nets season, leading Brooklyn to a 15-7 since taking over as head coach—the second-best record in the league in that time span.
On Vaughn’s impact and why he could become a COY candidate if the Nets keep it up: https://t.co/XYUaaSctnm
— Matt Brooks (@MattBrooksNBA) December 16, 2022
And What About KD?
Durant is currently +30000 for MVP, the same price as Donovan Mitchell of Cleveland and Ja Morant of Memphis.
Listed with shorter odds (at FanDuel) are Boston’s Jayson Tatum (+250), Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo (+300), Dallas’ Luka Doncic (+350), Denver’s Niola Jokic (+1000), Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid (+1100), Phoenix’s Devin Booker (+2000), New Orleans’ Zion Williamson (+2100) and Golden State’s injured superstar, Curry (+2600).
KD is shooting .551 (167-of-303) on pull-up jumpers. He leads the league in pull-up FGM and pull-up FG %.
Seventy-three other players have attempted 100+ pull-up jumpers this season. No one other than Durant is shooting better than .500 FG %.
Durant is fifth in the league in scoring at 30.4 ppg and would need to pour it on heavy to catch Doncic and Embiid, both of whom are averaging at least 33. But Durant’s success as an individual in the awards race may just come down to his team’s success in the East race.
Brooklyn is fourth in the Eastern Conference at 19-12, and he has scored at least 30 in four of the Nets’ seven games tis month. They are off until Wednesday, when they get the Warriors in Brooklyn on the second night of a back-to-back, and they get their second crack at the Celtics on Jan. 12. Despite being only three games behind the Celtics, the Nets are +750 to win the Atlantic Division. With 51 games remaining, there is plenty of time. Worth considering while recovering from an absolute epic Sunday for New York sports and for soccer fans around the world.
38 points (14 in the fourth) for KAI last night 🪣 pic.twitter.com/1LDydqoifM
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) December 19, 2022
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