The Milwaukee Bucks are chalky, but they have a slight edge over the NBA odds for Friday’s game with the New York Knicks.
New York Knicks vs. Milwaukee Bucks
Friday, January 28, 2022 – 10:00 PM EST at Fiserv Forum
Sharp bettors have been profiting off small-market franchises since the dawn of time. But what happens when one of those tasty teams wins the championship? In the case of the 2021-22 Milwaukee Bucks, all their profit goes up in smoke. Milwaukee find themselves deep in the red at 30-20 SU and 21-29 ATS as they fight for a playoff spot in the hyper-competitive Eastern Conference.
Even with this market shift, the Bucks could be worth a slight lean this Friday night when they host the very large-market New York Knicks (23-26 SU, 24-25 ATS). DraftKings have opened Milwaukee as 8.5-point favorites on their NBA odds board, which is a lot of points, but the Knicks are without arguably their best player, and the Bucks have all their Big Three available.
The Knick in question is Derrick Rose. He’s been out since December 18 with a right ankle issue that eventually required surgery; the original timetable for Rose’s recovery was eight weeks. Injuries have not been kind to the 2010-11 MVP, but Rose has written a compelling second act to his career as one of the league’s best sixth men. He leads all Knicks with a plus-2.2 Box Plus/Minus at Basketball Reference.
Nevertheless, they persist. Rose’s injury pretty much forced head coach Tom Thibodeau to let Kemba Walker (plus-1.0 BPM) out of the doghouse and back into the lineup. Since his return, the Knicks are 4-6 SU and 6-4 ATS in the games where Walker has been available, so they still have some work to do. But Walker and Evan Fournier have both played well of late, developing some of that chemistry they showed when New York started the season on a promising 4-1 SU and ATS tear.
Meanwhile, back in Milwaukee, the Bucks aren’t quite 100% on their own health meter with Brook Lopez (back) out indefinitely and both Grayson Allen (hip) and Wesley Matthews (knee) listed as day-to-day. But they do have the three players that mean most to their success: reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and his fellow All-Stars, Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday. They could definitely win the title again if all three can stay in the lineup.
Those other three players would be helpful, though. Maybe this is a good spot to forget the spread and hammer the Under, which is 29-21 for the Bucks this year and 28-21 for the Knicks. Caesars opened their total at 215 points, down 1.5 points from when these teams last met on December 12; with Rose starting and Walker out, Milwaukee won 112-97 as 6-point road faves, sliding below the total by 7.5 points. Friday’s result might not be all that different.
NBA Pick: Under 215 (–110) at Caesars