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NBA on TNT Tuesday Preview: Warriors/Knicks and Grizzlies/Nuggets

The Warriors visit the scorching Knicks without Steph Curry before Ja Morant and the surging Grizzlies go to battle with two-time MVP Nikola Jokić and the Nuggets.

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Denver Nuggets v Memphis Grizzlies Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

The NBA on TNT is back tonight starting 6:30 PM CT!

First up, the Golden State Warriors will attempt to and slow down the red hot New York Knicks in their first visit Madison Square Garden since Steph Curry broke the NBA’s 3-point record last season. But they’ll have to play without him tonight, as Curry is again out with a left shoulder sublaxation. Then at 9 PM CT, Ja Morant leads the first-place Memphis Grizzlies into Mile High for matchup with two-time MVP Nikola Jokić and the second-place Denver Nuggets.

Here’s a look at the betting breakdown ahead of tonight’s matchups:

DraftKings Odds

(As of 11:30 AM CT on Tuesday)

You can bet your favorite spread, moneyline, total or game prop over with our friends at DraftKings Sportsbook.

New Orleans Pelicans v Memphis Grizzlies Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images

Warriors (+5 +170 ML) at Knicks (-5, -200 ML) | Total: 221

Currently, New York -5 is receiving 54% of the overall betting handle (proportion of total money wagered), and 52% percent of the total bets placed according to VSiN.

This suggests the public is betting on the Warriors a tiny bit more more than sharp, professional bettors are. Anytime you find a higher bet percentage higher than handle percentage, it’s a sign that sharps are fading the public. In this case, the public is fairly split on the game, as are pros, with pros slightly favoring the Knicks.

80% of the handle and 80% of the total wagers are on over 221.

After struggling to build an identity in the beginning of the season with Jalen Brunson settling in as his new role as PG1 for the Knicks and learning to play alongside Julius Randle and RJ Barrett, New York has found its rhythm in a major way.

The Knicks have their last seven games behind a league-leading 101.4 defensive rating in December and the second best net rating in the league at 10.3 this month, per NBA Stats. On the other end, New York is second in that span in offensive rebound rate (33.7%), but is otherwise middling; they are 19th in offensive rating (111.7), last in turnover rate (16.6%) and 24th in true shooting percentage (56.3%).

Golden State, however, is fighting through injuries and working hard just to tread water in a bloodbath of a Western Conference this season. Andrew Wiggins (right adductor strain) will join Curry in street clothes tonight, while Donte DiVincenzo (non-COVID illness) is doubtful.

Despite that, the Warriors are coming off a 126-110 dismantling of the Toronto Raptors behind a career-high 43 points from Jordan Poole, who has scored 72 points in the Dubs two games without Curry. Draymond Green and Klay Thompson joined Poole with 17 points apiece. Golden State will need to continue to share the ball extremely well (second in assists in December) and continue to pour it in from deep (39.3% from 3 this month, fourth in NBA). But offense hasn’t been their issue. Steve Kerr’s squad has surrendered 124, 128, 125 and 118 points in their last four losses. Adding Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody to the rotation tonight may help, as will facing a cold Knicks offense, but the energy and effort has to be there.

The Picks: Warriors +5 | Over 221

I like the Warriors in this spot. While New York has successfully defended the 3-point line this month (sixth in fewest 3PM allowed and first in opponent 3-point percentage), nobody shares the ball or bends defenses quite like the Warriors do. Even without Curry, Golden State still has two of the best shooters on the planet in Thompson and Poole, two very good defenders in Green and Looney, and a solid enough bench to keep this within five. I expect the Knicks to win, but for Golden State to keep it close.

As for the over, this line signals that Vegas believes the Knicks will control the tempo of the game with their defense. 12 of the Warriors’ last 13 games have gone over 221. Even on nights where they lose because of poor defense, they’re still controlling the pace and putting up points. They’ll try to turn this one into a track meet in transition, and it shouldn’t be too difficult for them to do that against a Knicks offense that leaves a lot to be desired.

Memphis Grizzlies v Denver Nuggets Photo by Ethan Mito/Clarkson Creative/Getty Images

Grizzlies (-1.5, -120 ML) at Nuggets (+1.5, +100 ML) | Total: 235.5

This line could be on the move depending on how the Nuggets injury report shakes out. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (left lower leg contusion), Jeff Green (low back pain) and Jamal Murray (left knee injury management) are all questionable for Denver.

The Grizzlies are receiving 68% of the handle on the spread and 56% of the overall wagers, per VSiN. The public likes Memphis, but the sharps are buying even higher on the Grizz. Both sides are in disagreement, however, on the total in this matchup; over 235.5 is receiving just 59% of the total money wagered compared to 72% of the total wagers, with money continuing to come in on the under ahead of the 9 PM CT tip.

The Picks: Grizzlies ML | Under 235.5

Both teams enter play tonight on a resurgent streak. Denver has won four of its last five following a three-game losing streak, while Memphis won nine of its last 10 before losing on the road to the Oklahoma City Thunder following Morant’s puzzling ejection on Saturday night.

The Grizzlies clearly have an advantage in the health department and are more in-sync on both ends of the floor than a Nuggets team still needing to pull wins out of a hat, even though Jokić is playing at an MVP level. Hell, Jokić put up Wilt Chamberlain numbers (40, 27 and 10) and yet Denver were barely able to beat the 7-23 Hornets at home.

Memphis is first in net rating this month at a ridiculous +14.8 behind their No. 4 ranked offense (116.7) and No. 2 ranked defense (101.9). They take great care of the basketball and are extremely unselfish; they should carve up a Nuggets defense that struggles to defend in space, is slow to rotate against teams that pass well, and has problems defending the 3-point line.

Despite how poor the Denver defense is, this total of 235.5 is just too high for me to bite on the over. Both teams carry top-10 pace, but matchups and history matter. These two teams played three times last season with very similar rosters, strengths, weaknesses and styles, yet all three times the total stayed under 220, let alone 235.5. Jaren Jackson Jr. and Steven Adams are a good pairing to help slow down Jokić and the Nuggets don’t have a wealth of perimeter players to stay in front of Morant and Co.

Give me the Grizzlies and the under.

Sacramento Kings v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images

Prop Report

While not the most popular angle for basketball bettors to take, I find it much easier to find an advantage against sportsbooks when researching player props. With that in mind, let’s take a look at one pick for each game that stands out. You can view DraftKings Sportsbook’s player props for each game here.

Warriors at Knicks

The Pick: Jalen Brunson o1.5 made 3s (-130)

Brunson is 12/18 (66.7%) from 3 over his last 3 games. He took five 3s in his first matchup with Golden State, connecting on just one of those fires. I expect him to continue to look for his shot against a depleted Warriors team that is more geared to defend wings and 4s than point guards.

Grizzlies at Nuggets

The Pick: Bruce Brown o3.5 assists (-155)

Expect Jokić to face doubles in the post with Jackson Jr. coming to help on both the low and high sides. If this happens, or at the very least Jokić sees increased pressure, expect second-side playmaking to be important. Brown is excellent at doing just that, and has at least four assists in each of his last three games, in which he has averaged 33.3 minutes per game. With KCP and Murray less than 100%, Brown should see increased run again tonight.


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