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Nets, Knicks in good betting spots

The Nets and the Knicks take the floor Wednesday night amidst promising investment outlooks for the near future. 


— Brooklyn hosts Charlotte having covered five games in a row and eight of its last 10. The Nets are playing consistently well in the absence of the injured Kyrie Irving. 


Yes, the schedule has been relatively soft of late. But the Nets do have recent win/covers over Boston and Denver. Sunday’s 105-102 victory over the Nuggets was highlighted by a 56%-38% edge in two-point shooting, a 23-14 advantage in free throw attempts and an impressive 48-37 rebounding victory. 


The Nets are playing aggressively rather than hoping a bunch of 3-pointers fall. Emotional leader Spencer Dinwiddie shot 10 of 14 inside the arc. This is clearly a collection of players trying to get results now rather than pacing themselves for a long slog. 


Betting markets are taking forever to acknowledge this reality. VSiN always reminds you to use point-spread trends to evaluate the market rather than teams. The market’s stubbornness has left the door wide open to profitable betting. Let’s see how long it takes for the lines to catch up. 


— New York is more of a question mark because of potential turmoil around a recent coaching change. David Fizdale clearly wasn’t getting results and wasn’t about to. In his last two games on the sideline, the Knicks lost by 44 points at Milwaukee and 37 points to Denver at the Garden. Two in a row like that often means players have “gone on strike.”


Those players did respond to new coach Mike Miller in his debut vs. Indiana. In a 104-103 loss as 5.5-point underdogs, the Knicks won “hustle” stats like rebounding (52-42) and turnovers (16-11) while earning more free throw attempts with aggressive play. 


Maybe asking the Knicks to thrive in a back-to-back Wednesday at Golden State after visiting Portland on Tuesday could be too much. But effort and enthusiasm should be more noticeable in rested spots or against unmotivated or flat opponents. 


Moving forward, New York doesn’t have to be a good team to be a smart bet. It just has to play better than very low market expectations. Sacramento has made backers big money this season despite a losing straight-up record. Washington is in the black as well as a distant also-ran. If the Knicks play to compete against point spreads pricing them as worst in the league, backers will be cashing tickets. 


Of course, if those monster losses to Milwaukee and Denver represent deeper problems with management and ownership, you’ll want to be fading the Knicks against quality.  


Winning money as an NBA bettor reflects a constant weighing of team skill sets, player enthusiasm, schedule fatigue and market evaluations. If you can find scenarios that catch the market napping, whether it’s teams rising to the occasion when a star is out or responding to a coaching change, rewards will be waiting for those who bet smart.

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