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New York Knicks forward RJ Barrett, right, dunks in front of Atlanta Hawks center Alex Len, lower left, during the first half of an NBA basketball game in New York, Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2019. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
New York Knicks forward RJ Barrett, right, dunks in front of Atlanta Hawks center Alex Len, lower left, during the first half of an NBA basketball game in New York, Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2019. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)|Associated Press
NBA

NBA Thursday: Greg Frank picks Knicks vs Nets as Spencer Dinwiddie and Julius Randle battle for New York supremacy

Tip is 7:30 pm EST.

Greg Frank

Greg Frank

1-2 Christmas Day, 53-54-1 overall.

Knicks (+7) @ Nets (223)

Pick: Knicks +7

The Nets are favored by at least seven for just the fourth time this season. Have the oddsmakers been disrespecting them or are they simply a mediocre team that doesn’t often lay big numbers? Given they are 1-2 ATS in the previous three and lost one of those games outright, it’s likely the latter. As they play the waiting game with Kevin Durant, the Nets figure to be what they were last year, but with some different faces. Brooklyn will likely win between 38 and 42 games, look good some weeks and awful others, sneak into the playoffs and get eliminated in the first round. Teams in the middle like this are usually good plays as underdogs when they have an opportunity against an upper echelon team in a game they’ll get up for, and bad plays as favorites because they can’t be trusted to bring their best every night like some of the elites. Sure enough, through 29 games the Nets are 7-8 ATS as a favorite and 9-5 ATS as a dog. The Knicks are 2-0 ATS against Brooklyn this year which also makes sense because a bad team like New York is often going to avoid checking out if the game is against a rival. When bad teams like the Knicks don’t cover the big numbers they’re getting, it’s usually because they never got into the game and then aren’t good enough to come back. Well the Knicks have been in both games so far against the Nets and while they haven’t won either one so far, seven points should be enough for us to cash here.

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