NBA Betting: 76ers to draw first blood against Knicks

There's a rare double-header in the NBA as the schedule makers send the 76ers to Madison Square Garden on Sunday afternoon before the Knicks make the return trip on Monday. It's two meetings between two of the league's original six franchises
but also an early chance to inflict a little psychological damage in what is expected to be a tight battle in the Atlantic Division with these duo jostling with Brooklyn and Boston for supremacy.

Without Amare Stoudemire, the Knicks are down one of their primary offensive weapons but, with Carmelo Anthony stepping up, his absence was barely noticed when they crushed Miami on Friday.

The Sixers are also trying to cope short-handed. Star summer recruit Andrew Bynum has yet to even practice with his new side due to injury, forcing coach Doug Collins to rely on Jrue Holiday, Thaddeus Young and a deep bench. The ploy worked well in their opener with Denver so go with Philly, with a little more depth, to draw first blood on the handicap of +4 at 1.91. Also look for the sides to combine for less than a combined 187 points at 1.91.

It wasn't long ago that Phoenix against Orlando would have been a marquee match-up, but two sides stripped off their superheroes look destined for the lottery next summer. Minus Dwight Howard, the Magic's only shot this year is to revert to the hustle-first style they adopted under Doc Rivers a decade ago under new coach Jacque Vaughan.

It's a similar story for Phoenix, with bit-part veterans such as Luis Scola, Marcin Gortat and Mike Beasley trying to fill the huge void left by the exit of Steve Nash. Their Sunday trip could be an ugly low-scorer but back the Suns – who are 2-point underdogs at 1.91 - to grind out victory.

There's also a crisis looming in LA where the Lakers are 0-3 and have lost Steve Nash for a week with a small leg fracture. Fortunately, Detroit are in town today so back the Lakers to overcome their first quarter struggles and finally get off the mark even at -8 on the handicap at 1.91.

Best bet
Under 187.0 total point in 76ers at the Knicks at 1.91.