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New Orleans Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram (14) goes up for a dunk against Chicago Bulls forward Chandler Hutchison (15) in the second half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020.
New Orleans Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram (14) goes up for a dunk against Chicago Bulls forward Chandler Hutchison (15) in the second half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020.|Matthew Hinton | Associated Press
NBA

NBA Friday: Greg Frank picks Pelicans vs Knicks and Bucks vs Kings — why is New Orleans favored by so much in New York?

Greg Frank

Greg Frank

1-0 Thursday, 64-64-1 overall

Pelicans (-4.5) @ Knicks (227.5)

Pick: Knicks +4.5

Since when are the New Orleans Pelicans favored by this much on the road? This is a New Orleans team that had the first overall pick in last year’s draft and is 13-25 approaching the halfway point of the season. They sport the NBA’s sixth-worst record and are only three games better than their opponent tonight. If this game were in New Orleans, the line might be a little more reasonable. However, while Zion Williamson might be getting closer to suiting up, he’s won’t be on the floor at Madison Square Garden tonight. Neither with Pelicans point guard Jrue Holiday who is nursing a minor elbow injury. Brandon Ingram is a game-time decision for New Orleans with a finger injury. Yes, the Pelicans are coming in hot at 7-3 in their last 10 games and 8-1-1 ATS in those 10. However, even despite that run, New Orleans is still slightly worse than New York against the spread sporting a 17-19-2 ATS record while the Knicks are 19-19 against the number. This is just the third game all season that the Pelicans are a road favorite and more often than not I’m going to bet against those teams rather than bet on them. The Knicks are back home after four-game trip out West and we like them to get a win tonight and just in case we’re wrong, the 4.5 points should be enough to still cover.

Bucks (-9) @ Kings (224)

Pick: Kings +9

The Sacramento Kings as underdogs is music to our ears. We discussed last night in our Rockets-Thunder handicap that Oklahoma City and Sacramento have been two of the best pups in the NBA so far this season and the Thunder cashed easily for us on Thursday. Let’s keep things rolling with the Kings getting almost double digits at home against the Bucks. While it was last season, Sacramento nearly won outright in the last meeting between these two teams in Milwaukee as the Bucks escaped with a 141-140 OT victory. Golden State lost by nine points on Wednesday against Milwaukee. We’re just betting on the Kings being one point better against the Bucks than the undermanned Warriors were. That doesn’t seem to be asking much. The Bucks are in the midst of a three-game road trip against teams they won’t see in the NBA Finals if they get there and all three teams might miss the playoffs. Milwaukee concludes the trip tomorrow night in Portland. Non-conference games against bad and mediocre teams are probably when motivation for a contender will be at its lowest. The Bucks were able to just show up and win against Golden State and that might be the case again on Friday. But that doesn’t mean they’ll cover.

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