Martin Luther King Day features a full slate of NBA games in the states. The pick of the bunch is at Madison Square Garden, where the in-form Brooklyn Nets try to put the squeeze on the Knicks.
There were signs during New York’s win over Detroit in London last Thursday that the return of Iman Shumpert could provide a fresh spark for a side who have won only five of their last ten. Up to now, New York have been giving up 96.5 points per night but that figures to drop once Raymond Felton returns to replace Jason Kidd in the starting line-up, possibly next week.
Brooklyn are turning up their heat on their rivals, moving just two games behind in the Atlantic Division with eight wins in their last ten. But they’ve lost two out of three in this series this season and with the Knicks on home turf, they look a good bet at -4.5 on the handicap at 1.91.
Atlanta’s once-promising season looks to be fading away and the loss of Lou Williams for the remainder of the season is a harsh blow to a team which is just 2-8 over their last ten games. They host Minnesota, who have fared little better of late since Kevin Love was sent back to the sidelines. Yet despite the additional absences of Alexey Shved and Nikola Pekovic, the Timberwolves broke a five-game voodoo when they upset Houston on Saturday.
Minnesota’s best hope is to keep the score low while the Hawks have to try and pile up the points. On recent form, it’s more likely we’ll see a dogfight with a total points below the line of 185. But have a look at the Wolves at a generous +8 on the handicap, available at 1.91.
Monday’s slate opens up with Indiana’s trip to Memphis in a battle of the league’s top best defensive units. The Grizzlies have won two consecutive games while conceding no more than 82, but the Pacers have slipped a little, conceding an average of 96 in their last pair of outings. No wonder that the total points line is just 172.0, which still may be a little low. And in what could be a tight low scorer, the handicap of +6 on Indiana is intriguing.
Bet of the day: Take Minnesota on the handicap over Atlanta at 1.91