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The Indiana Pacers (27-21) will take on the New York Knicks (31-17) in a matchup between two of the top six teams in the Eastern Conference in Madison Square Garden on Thursday.
The Pacers recently welcomed Tyrese Haliburton back into the lineup following a hamstring strain suffered a few weeks ago, pairing him up with new arrival Pascal Siakam. The pair are 0-2 together but still have plenty of time to grow their rapport, especially as Haliburton settles back into his regular rhythm.
The Knicks, meanwhile, are the hottest team in the league. They won eight straight and 14 of 16 games ever since they traded for OG Anunoby.
Here, we will go over the betting odds and share our favorite picks for the Pacers vs. Knicks clash on Thursday.
The Knicks are 3.5-point favorites at home, where they are an impressive 17-5. The Pacers are just 11-12 on the road and only won one of their last six games away from home.
|Over 237.5 (-115)
|Under 237.5 (-105)
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Indy started the year on a record-setting pace, both positively and negatively. They put themselves on track to finish with the highest offensive and defensive ratings in league history in a frenzied, all-out onslaught of a system that prioritized running up the score and playing next to no defense.
As frequently happens, the middle months of the season and adaptations across the league hit the Pacers, and they’re down to ninth in offensive rating in 2024—still impressive, but not the best ever. Part of that can also be attributed to the absence of Haliburton, a soon-to-be All-Star starter averaging 23.3 points and 12.5 assists per night.
While the Pacers’ offense took a small step back, the defense picked up its intensity and climbed to 20th in points allowed per 100 possessions since the calendars turned. They’re also eighth in rebound rate during that same time despite being a smaller team.
Siakam hasn’t totally changed life in Indy just yet, averaging 21.6 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 5.1 assists. That said, he’s added reliable scoring, secondary playmaking, and versatile defense, all of which were desperately needed.
The Pacers rank seventh in three-point makes and ninth in percentage for the year. However, they were just 20th in percentage during January (35.7%) and are waiting for Haliburton to get his legs back underneath him before they climb the charts again.
Indy won its lone matchup with the Knicks this season on December 30, 140-126. Haliburton dropped 22 points and 23 assists, while Myles Turner, Aaron Nesmith, and Benedict Mathurin combined for 73 points.
The Knicks were a top-eight team in the East before the Anunoby trade but entered a different stratosphere after his arrival.
Over the last 15 games, they have the best win percentage, net rating, defensive rating, and rebound rate in the entire league. They’re also fourth in points scored per 100 possessions during that time and have everything working for them.
As impressively as the Knicks are playing, the next few weeks will say a lot about them. Julius Randle suffered a shoulder injury a few days ago and will miss some time, which will leave Jalen Brunson as their only true star.
In two games since Randle’s injury, Brunson averaged 30.5 points and eight assists as the Knicks beat the Charlotte Hornets and Utah Jazz by an average of 18 points. He also averaged 28.9 points and 7.7 assists during January as a whole and is continuing to get better even after becoming a no-doubt All-Star.
Judging by point differential per 100 possessions, the Knicks are the second-best home team in the NBA behind only the Boston Celtics. They outscored opponents by an average of 10.8 points during those 100 possessions, while the Pacers are outscored by an average of 3.2 points per 100 possessions on the road.
The key for New York will be staying on top of the rebounding battle against a smaller but aggressive Pacers team without Randle and Mitchell Robinson. Brunson will also need to play Haliburton to a draw, if not outperform him, while the role players around him continue to work their magic.
It’s impossible to argue with what the Knicks are doing right now. This could very well be their toughest test during their brief time without Randle, but they’re red hot and growing in confidence with every passing night.
While the Randle loss is impactful, it’s also worth noting that Haliburton is not playing like his usual self. In two games since the hamstring injury, he averaged 17 points and 13.5 assists on 36.7% shooting. The Knicks are going to throw everything they have at him on defense and will make it extremely tough for him to suddenly find his rhythm.
We like the Knicks laying the points in this one. Until they come back down to Earth, they’re a near-must-bet. They also covered in 13 of their last 16 games and are in a great spot to add to that on Thursday.
Pacers vs. Knicks pick: Knicks -3.5 at BetMGM
When: Thursday, Feb. 1 @ 7:30 p.m. ET
Where: Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
TV: NBA League Pass
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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.More info on Grant Mitchell
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