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New York seeking playoffs
The Surging Knicks Deserve Your Money

I love whatever’s happening in New York City.

The league isn’t just better when the New York Knicks are winning, it’s way more fun. At 11-6 straight up following a brilliant performance against the Toronto Raptors on Thanksgiving Eve, the Knicks have also become something truly special to gamblers – a betting paradise.

Using a monster third quarter in the Garden last night, New York handed Toronto their worst quarter in franchise history. The Knicks unleashed a 41-10 barrage after the break that was led by – wait this can’t be right – Tim Hardaway Jr.?!

Those of you in Manhattan are well aware of what Hardaway has been up to this season, somehow living up to the $70.9 million contract he signed over the summer. Hardaway dropped 38 points last night, but has averaged 18.6 and 4.5 rebounds throughout the season. His 17.47 PER is also third best on the team.

What’s even more astounding about the resurgence of the New York Knicks is that they’ve become a bit of a goldmine whenever they serve as hosts. New York was a slim +4.0 point dog last night, but squashed the Raptors by +12.0 against the spread.

There’s a lot of ways to dissect this. The game against Cleveland, where Enes Kanter went after LeBron James, galvanized this team immensely. Most importantly, Jeff Hornacek has been given some elbow room. I’m not pinning all of New York’s problems on Phil Jackson and Carmelo Anthony, but both of them have a lot of the blame to shoulder.

The absence of the triangle is perhaps the biggest game changer in New York. Hornacek abandoned the defunct game plan with good reason and this has allowed the Knicks to take advantage of the talent they actually have in stead of shoe-horning square pegs in to triangle-shaped holes.

With no more bickering about what the team should do offensively, they’ve actually been able to focus on a much more important part of their game: defence. The Knicks are 9th in the league with 103.4 points against, and have the 7th best field goal percentage in the entire league. By far their biggest improvement is on the boards where they’re ranked 1st in defensive rebounding (and 10th on offence).

The arrival of Enes Kanter has been a huge boon on this side, but Porzingis has also been allowed to flourish all over the floor. A team constructed around a gangly, European, power-forward needs an approach to the game that isn’t cookie cutter. When you have a unique talent like Zinger, you need a unique offence and Hornacek has been able to extract the most production from this island of misfit toys.

By far the most exciting part is that the team isn’t done growing. Rookie Frank Ntilikina is an obvious talent who is only going to get better and he’s surrounded by the types of veterans that can foster his continued evolution. It’s incredibly unlikely that the French-born rookie becomes the game breaker that New York needs to be deadly in the playoffs, which is why you should air on the side of caution when it comes to the long term NBA futures.

The Knicks are the best home bet in the entire league in my opinion and that’s a shock to my system if there ever was one.

All of the surprises are coming out of the east. Some of the most hyped teams in the preseason are complete spot bets in NBA betting. That includes the Milwaukee Bucks (7-8-2 ATS), the Washington Wizards (9-9 ATS) and the Charlotte Hornets (8-8-1 ATS). Other public bets like Cleveland (6-11-1 ATS) and Miami (6-9-2 ATS) have been expected wastelands.

As for the Knicks, the oddsmakers still don’t really know what to do with them. They’ve been floating against these middling lines and have faced an average spread of just -1.6 in the last ten games. Where you need to be weary of the Knicks is on the road, and they unfortunately travel to play Atlanta and Houston over the weekend.

However, net week they have a terrific home slate that includes Portland, Miami and Orlando where Hornacek’s troops will continue to prove that whatever’s happening in New York is no fluke. They’ve made their presence known in an unusually competitive season, and this is one bandwagon you need to keep your eye on. Times are changing.

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