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Knicks vs. 76ers Predictions: Knicks, Anunoby, Meet MVP Embiid in Philly

Written by: Grant Mitchell
Published January 5, 2024
10 min read

The New York Knicks (19-15) will make the short journey over to the City of Brotherly Love to take on the Philadelphia 76ers (23-10) on Friday evening.

The Knicks recently traded RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley for OG Anunoby, Malachi Flynn, and Precious Achiuwa. They won both of their games with Anunoby, the star of the trade, in the lineup, beating the Chicago Bulls and west-leading Minnesota Timberwolves by an average of 11 points.

Meanwhile, the Sixers won 11 of their last 14 games, including their last 12 when Joel Embiid played. They’re one game behind the Milwaukee Bucks and three games behind the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference standings.

Here, we will review the betting odds and share our favorite picks for the Knicks vs. 76ers Friday encounter.

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Knicks vs. 76ers Prediction

Knicks vs. 76ers Betting Odds for Friday, Jan. 5

The Knicks are 6.5-point underdogs on the road. They’re 9-11 outside of the Big Apple, while Philly is 13-4 at home (and won seven of their last eight games in their building).

TeamsSpreadMoneylineTotal
New York Knicks+6.5 (-115)+200Over 227.5 (-110)
Philadelphia 76ers-6.5 (-105)-250Under 227.5 (-110)

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The Knicks have had their share of roster movement in a still-young season. Mitchell Robinson is expected to miss the rest of the season with an ankle injury, while the Barret-Quickley-Anunoby trade completely changed their standard rotation.

The Knicks have managed to more than compensate for the absence of Barrett's rim pressure and Quickley's tempo with the second unit, thanks to Anunoby. Although it’s only been two games, he scored an average of 14 points on 57.1/40 percent shooting splits while comfortably guarding the best player on the opposing team.

Anunoby also flashed excellent weakside defensive instincts a couple of times and is helping the Knicks nail rotations in ways they weren’t earlier in the year. As proof, they’re 16th in defensive rating for the year but are up to 5th in two games with Anunoby, and his ridiculous +55 in 69 minutes.

Despite what might be expected of a Tom Thibodeau-coached team, the New York offense has been very proficient this season. The Knicks are ninth in offensive rating thanks to All-Star-level play from both Julius Randle and Jalen Brunson and the team combining to shoot 37.5% from three (eighth in the NBA).

The loss of Robinson also hasn’t greatly affected them on the glass. They’re eighth in rebound rate in 13 games since he hobbled off the court, and, most impressively, lead the league in net rating during clutch time (at a whopping +30.3).

Meanwhile, it’s hard to criticize the Sixers for anything up to this point. Nick Nurse needed no time to settle into his first year in Philadelphia and did not let the James Harden drama distract him, and he has Philly looking like a clear-cut top-five team in the league.

Joel Embiid has put up a video-game stat line thus far. He’s averaged 34.8 points, 11.8 rebounds, 6.2 assists, and 2.0 blocks and is on pace to obliterate the PER single-season record (currently held by Nikola Jokic).

Tyrese Maxey’s ascension into an All-NBA-level player has also provided a huge boost to the Philly offense, which grades as the fourth-best. They could benefit from more consistency from Tobias Harris and Kelly Oubre Jr., but they’re first in made free-throws per game, fourth in fastbreak points, and ninth in three-point percentage (37.5%).

The Sixers are also strong on defense and on the glass (second in def. rating, ninth in rebound rate). That makes them one of the most well-rounded teams in the league, especially at home, where they’re second in net rating (+13.5).

This is the first time these two teams will face off against one another. They split their regular-season series last year by two games apiece, and Embiid, Randle, and Brunson all produced at around their season averages. 

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Knicks vs. 76ers Prediction and Betting Pick

The key matchup to watch is Embiid against Isaiah Hartenstein, who has been starting in place of the injured Robinson. Although Hartenstein is far from a star in the league, he's been winning his minutes.

In 13 games since Robinson’s injury, they have a +7.0 rating when he’s on the court. He has a tall task ahead of him in the form of the reigning MVP but he has been up for the challenge so far.

There’s going to be a real dissonance between the speed of the two offenses. Whereas the Sixers prefer to play relatively fast (12th in pace), the Knicks are only 26th in average tempo. Whichever team can impose their style of play on the overall flow will go a long way toward winning and covering.

All things considered, we like the Knicks on the spread. Despite their losing record on the road, they’re in a nice flow with Anunoby and are more equipped to handle some of the switches that Embiid and Maxey can force. They’re also excellent late in close games and could easily win if they’re within striking distance in the last few minutes.

How to Watch Knicks vs, 76ers on 1/5/23

  • When: Thursday, Jan. 5 @ 7:30 p.m. ET

  • Where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA

  • TV: ESPN

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AUTHOR

Grant Mitchell

397 Articles

Grant is a sports and sports betting journalist who prides himself on delivering breaking news and insightful analyses of the industry. Grant graduated from Virginia Tech in 2021 and is feverishly pursuing his ambitions in the sports betting field.

In his free time, Grant can be found passionately watching sports, doing a workout, or searching for adventure with his friends.

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