When the New York Knicks brought in coach Tom Thibodeau to the bench, fans were excited. Here was a gritty New Yorker with a passion for playing hard, defensive, tough basketball. On top of that, some impressive moves in the pre-season left the Knicks with a pretty decent looking line-up. Still, major questions existed over key parts of the team – especially forward Julius Randle. For most, the Knicks major ambition was to make the play-in, meaning finishing anything from 7th to 10th. Instead, the Knicks crashed the party and landed the 4th seed in the NBA playoffs. It's quite the feat they pulled off as well, before the season started the Knicks were considered by sportsbooks to be bottom feeders and end up with the lowest amount of wins of any NBA team. It really is another another remarkable example of how betting on NBA basketball can bring about the unexpected.
Thanks to the incredible night-in, night-out defensive effort the team made, the Knicks looked a lively effort from early on. Add in the immediate rise of young rookie Immanuel Quickley and the impressive return of RJ Barrett, and the Knicks suddenly had a tough, aggressive team to watch. The only downside? The way the season somewhat passed major draft pick Obi Toppin by, though his minutes were naturally stunted thanks to the way Randle was playing.
Instead, they could have had someone like Tyrese Haliburton running the backcourt. Rather than worry, though, the Knicks moved to acquire some proper talent in the form of ex-MVP Derrick Rose. The veteran Point Guard has been incredible especially in the run-in. With their late season form so impressive, the Knicks are casting excited glances at the play-off calendar.
Can the NY Knicks make a legitimate playoff push?
If you have promised Knicks fans winning basketball and a play-in spot, they would have taken it with both hands. Instead, they hit the 40-win mark and were one of two teams in the NBA to win nine games-plus straight – the other team? Western first seed Utah Jazz. That’s some pretty solid company.
With the likes of the aforementioned Rose, Barrett, and Quickley pairing up with Randle, the resurgence of the likes of Nerlens Noel has been very impressive indeed. The secret to their success is a classic Tom Thibodeau mixture of hard work, giving 100% every night, and being willing to crash the boards and feel some pain. Truly, it has been a while since the Knicks had a team that both fans could fall in love with, and neutrals could enjoy watching.
Physical play in a rapid season with little downtime, for a roster that is sorely lacking in NBA experience, was a huge bonus. However, we have to say one thing – the Knicks aren’t exactly sitting easy with their first playoff tie.
For all of the justified praise of the team, ending the season with three wins on the spin, they will arrive in the playoffs with a very tough match-up. They will be taking on the equally resurgent Atlanta Hawks. A whopping 3-0 sweep against the Hawks looks good on paper, for sure, but the Hawks are a wonderful team who have, like the Knicks, used an off-season for the likes of the Boston Celtics and the Miami Heat to build something genuinely impressive.
That being said, the Knicks were the best team in the NBA when it came to covering the spread this season, combine that with the fact that they match up rather well vs Atlanta and we'll expect a lot of close games in this series and the Knicks having a decent chance at eliminating the Hawks.
First game is this Sunday and the little break caused by the play in games will give New York a needed rest, look for them to cover the line once again.
The series itself is trickier, but if you see the Knicks winning, BetMGM and Unibet both have them at +100 and a great welcome offer to use for betting on Randle and co. risk free.
Should they win the series, we think it'll be a close on finishing either 4-2 or 4-3 in the Knicks favor, betting on both these results would also net a profit for the series. But look for close games and the Knicks to cover the spread in all of them.