Melo Debut: Milwaukee Bucks at New York Knicks Betting Preview

Milwaukee Bucks AT New York Knicks
Feb 23, 2011 at 7:30 PM EST
Opening Line:  NY -7.5
Current Line: NY -7
Opening Total:  199
Current Total: 200
Opening Moneyline:  NY -310 / Mil +260
Current Moneyline:  NY -300 / Mil +250

Carmelo will be donning a Knicks Uni Tonight

This game is sure to be about one thing:  Carmelo Anthony.  After being discussed as the main part of a trade rumor between both the Knicks and the Nets, he finally landed in a Knick uniform and will now team with Amar’e Stoudemire to launch the Knicks into contention — Well, maybe.  Even with Carmelo and Amar’e paired, it may not be enough to overcome the talent amassed by the other top teams in the Eastern Conference.

However, one must be careful to remember that the Knicks also acquired Billups.  While Billups may not have a lot left in the tank, he is going to be a viable starter at point guard for the next few seasons.  It would have to be assumed that the Knicks would have rather kept Felton, but that obviously wasn’t an option for them.  Either way, Billups will be a great point guard to facilitate Anthony and Stoudemire.

Some betting trends:

Milwaukee is 3-8 SU In their last 11 games and the total has gone UNDER in 4 of Milwaukee’s last 5 games on the road.  Milwaukee is 0-5 SU in their last 5 road games and the total has gone UNDER in 6 of the last 8 games against the Knicks.  Milwaukee is 8-1 SU in their last 9 against New York and the total has gone UNDER in 5 of Milwaukee’s last 6 games on the road against the Knicks.  Milwaukee is 4-1 SU in their last 5 games on the road against the Knicks.

The total has gone UNDER in 4 of New York’s last 6 games and it has gone OVER in 4 of their last 6 at home.  New York is 1-7 ATS in their last 8 against Milwaukee.  The total has gone UNDER in 6 of New York’s last 8 games against Milwaukee.  New York is 1-8 SU in their last 9 games against Milwaukee and they are 1-4 SU in their last 5 home games against the Bucks.  New York is 1-5 ATS in their last 6 home games against the Bucks and the total has gone UNDER in 5 of the last 6 games at home against Milwaukee.

Key Matchups:

Brandon Jennings vs. Chauncey Billups

Youth vs. Experience.  Jennings’ “youth” shows up at the wrong times, as he is prone to launching bad shots and making risky passes, but he still remains one of the top prospects at the point guard spot in the game.  He’s exciting (he was going to be in the dunk contest if not for recently coming back from injury) and knows how to make his teammates better.  On the other side of the ball is Billups, who has been perpetually underrated his entire career.  Fittingly, at least, he has the nickname “Mister Big Shot,” but how could he be denied that nickname given his late game heroics?  Billups has been playing less minutes this year (32 a game) and his stats are down mainly due to that.  His field goal percentage is actually UP, so his efficiency has improved slightly, even if his point total has decreased.  Jennings is averaging 15.5 points per game and 6.0 assists per game for his career against New York.  Billups should be able to slow him down a little, and wear him out defensively, where he will be quite undersized to cover Billups.

Luc Richard Mbah a Moute vs. Amar’e Stoudemire & Carmelo Anthony

Ah, if only the Bucks could clone the “Prince” and use one of each of the clones to cover Amar’e and Melo.  He’ll do a great job on whomever he is covering, but there will then be the other to do the damage.  Normally, when a team struts out their starting 5 they have at best one forward that needs to be covered intensely, but the Knicks now have TWO.  Ersan Ilyasova isn’t a bad defender, but for Carmelo he will be too slow, and for Amar’e, too weak.  Mbah a Moute won’t score much, but that really isn’t his job.  Like I said, his only downfall is that there is only one of him to go around.

The Knicks now have one of the most potent teams in the league.  People could raise questions about their ability to defend, but Amar’e has improved dramatically as a defender and Billups is able to cover even the best point guards.  If Melo can improve his intensity and effort on defense, the Knicks might be able to contend.

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