It’s a West Coast vs. East Coast battle in the NBA when the Knicks, who have won their last nine, take on the Lakers at Madison Square Garden. The Lakers are coming off a big win over Boston without Anthony Davis and LeBron James, while the Knicks have jumped to the top of the Eastern Conference standings behind point guard Jalen Brunson. Let’s put together a winning parlay!
NBA Picks & Parlay of the Weekend | February 3
Los Angeles Lakers at New York Knicks Best Bet
It is Knicks-mania in New York. It’s been a long time since Knick fans could reasonably think about a deep playoff run, but the signs are all there for the Knicks.
But….let’s wait and see. New York has a nine-game winning streak entering Saturday night’s contest with the Lakers, but six of those games have come against losing teams in the NBA. Hey, that is what good teams do. The Knicks have won these nine games by an average of 16 points.
LA pulled off one of the surprises of the season downing Boston in Boston without LeBron and Anthony Davis. Both are still questionable for this one. My gut tells me LeBron won’t miss a chance to play at the Garden though.
It’s a long season. LeBron just wants to get in the playoffs and then take over.
But I think this game has real meaning for the Knicks and they win in front of the home crowd in a close one.
Lakers vs. Knicks Total Best Bet
It’s a clash here of styles. The Lakers have averaged 128 points in their last five games and seven of their last eight games have hit the over. They’re 28-22 over/under this season.
New York is doing it with defense. 10 of the last 11 Knick games have gone under. They’re averaging right around 115 points a night. Weirdly, if you do a deep dive in the numbers, games at MSG are averaging pretty low (like around 219).
But I’m riding the over. It’s become an Over league and especially in games with some hype - like this one - and a big crowd - like this one - players want to get to the basket and score. And still, most NBA teams don’t seem to lock down on defense until the fourth quarter. This one could be 100-100 after three quarters.
Take the Over. It's just the right play.
Jalen Brunson Points Best Bet
Jalen Brunson has become the Talk of New York City. There was controversy over him not making the All-Star team because of a lack of fan votes, but he was named a reserve this week. It’s his first appearance as an All-Star.
Brunson is in his sixth year in the NBA, played four with the Mavs. He’s really blossomed into a star. He’s averaged 32 points in his last 10 games, including 41 against the hapless Wizards and 38 against the Raptors. He had 40 on Thursday night against the Pacers in a comeback win. Plus, he’s doing this without Julius Randle who is sidelined with a shoulder injury.
But 32.5 is a huge number of points and even if the Knicks win and there’s an over bet, I can’t see him getting there. He’s only averaged 24.4 points against the Lakers in his career in 14 games.
He can score 28 and lead the Knicks to a big win and that’s still not 32. FanDuel is trying to catch some bettors riding the wave. Don’t fall for it.
Take the under on Brunson points.
Born and raised in Louisiana, Darren Cooper has a fond appreciation for bayous, Mardi Gras beads and the sports betting industry. Darren has worked for multiple print and online publications since 1998, primarily as a sports columnist in the Northeast. He’s covered a Super Bowl (it was a blowout), the World Series (same) and the NBA Draft (man, those guys are tall). For the last few years he’s dug deep into the sports gambling industry as it exploded across America, learning how the legal sausage is made and how while all the sportsbooks look the same, they all have different identities and styles. He’s learned to always bet within his means -- and take the under. When not in front of his computer creating, Darren spends time with his three boys. He runs, reads and is always looking for the next big thing to write about.