Season-to-date record: 74-73-3, 50%
Fading the Knicks' sterling ATS record: Dallas Mavs 1H -3.5
The New York Knickerbockers ran the board over their last four games, sweeping a three-game home stand and then carrying that momentum to New Orleans to thwart Zion Williamson and the Pelicans Wednesday. Prior to the proceedings on the Gulf Coast, the Knicks beat the Lakers (absent LeBron James and Anthony Davis, that is), the Raptors and the Grizzlies. These teams boast a combined record of 20-25 SU in their last 15 games--and this stat would look much worse if not for the Grizzlies strong showing so far this month. So New York has not exactly beat the NBA's crème de la crème during this stretch.
Moreover, the win at New Orleans entailed an unsustainable 52% connection rate on the longball (17-33). For context, an average night beyond the arc for New York looks more like 11-28. Inline with this general tendency, the Knicks rank 26th by three-point tries as a percent of all shot attempts.
Thus, we are inclined to view the present as a sell high opportunity for New York. Our thinking is that recent success has attracted a greater amount of action New York's way than their play warrants. We expect the line is too low as a result. Consistent with our hypothesis, we note that bad teams on hot streaks have proven vulnerable, particularly versus the first half number.
Fading underdogs that missed the previous post-season and that won their last four has been good for a 13% return on investment back to 2004 against the 1H number.
This system has suffered only four seasons over this span with a cover rate below 50%, and is 5-3 ATS so far this year.
At odds with our thinking though, we note that the Knicks' 34-21-1 ATS record makes New York the third best bet in the League this season. Further, at 36-19-1 the Knicks' 1H ATS tally is even more impressive. In contrast, Dallas is a lackluster 26-28 versus the number overall this year and at 25-26-3, is only slightly better against the 1H line.
Yet not all of the team-level trends point to the road cover. For one, we note that New York has struggled to beat the number facing quality opposition. The Knicks are 5-7 ATS 1H against Western Conference teams that participated in the previous post-season action.
Similarly, the Mavs are 7-3-1 this season against the first half chalk laying points to teams that missed the prior playoffs after all but the most lopsided of victories (the Mavs have won a couple by 40+; let-downs versus the first half number have proven the norm after these most bloated margins).