A complicated NBA playoff scenario takes center stage Saturday, as the Charlotte Hornets visit the New York Knicks in a game with two-way postseason implications.
Both teams will be motivated to bring their A-games with seeding on the line, so expect and competitive NBA betting tilt with playoff-like atmosphere.
But who has the edge? Find out with our Hornets vs. Knicks picks and predictions for Saturday, May 15.
Hornets vs Knicks game info
• Location: Madison Square Garden, Manhattan, NY
• Date: Saturday, May 15, 2021
• Time: 1:00 p.m. ET
• TV: MSG, BSSE
Hornets vs Knicks odds
Odds via the Covers Line, an average comprised of odds from multiple sportsbooks.
Compare NBA odds before betting to ensure you get the best number.
NBA Sharp Money and Line Movement ReportBy Patrick Everson
After going up at New York -5.5 Friday night, this line bounced between -5.5 and -6 a couple times at FanDuel, then got to -6.5 this morning before backing up to the -5.5 opener. As of 11:30 a.m. ET, the Knicks are attracting 74 percent of tickets and 72 percent of money on the spread. The total bounced around a bit, as well, from 212.5 to 213, then down to 211.5 and up to 212, with the Over getting 70 percent of bets/57 percent of dollars.Check out the full line movement for this game
Hornets at Knicks betting preview
Hornets: Gordon Hayward SF (Out), Miles Bridges SF (Out), Cody Martin SF (Out).
Knicks: Mitchell Robinson C (Out), Derrick Rose PG (Questionable).
Find our latest NBA injury reports.
Betting trend to know
Knicks are 35-15-1 in their last 51 games overall. Find more NBA betting trends for Hornets vs. Knicks.
Against the spread (ATS) pick
It's corny and simplistic to reduce an NBA game to an adage like "which team wants it more", but that will no doubt play a role in this matchup, with both teams jockeying for important playoff markers.
New York still holds a tiebreaker against Atlanta and can claim the East's 4th seed by finishing with a better record than Miami. Meanwhile, the Hornets hold a tiebreaker against the Pacers, and need to hold them off to stay in the top bracket of the play-in tournament.
Suffice to say, both will be supremely motivated to come away with a win this afternoon, and the Knicks figure to be the better pick for several reasons.
Julius Randle will be the best player on the court, and in a season where Randle has ridden a breakout to mortal-lock status as the NBA's Most Improved Player and a likely All-NBA nod, it wouldn't be out of the question for him to just come out and dominate this one.
The Hornets are down basically their entire small forward rotation with Miles Bridges and Cody Martin joining Gordon Hayward on the IL, leaving Charlotte to scramble defending the Knicks' forwards: Randle and sophomore stud RJ Barrett.
The Hornets have struggled of late, losing four of their last five, with the only victory coming over the pathetic Magic. They have the NBA's 19th-rated offense in May, which will struggle to get the job done against a Knicks squad that's ranked 3rd in the NBA defensively.
On the season, the Knicks are the NBA's best ATS team at 44-25-1, which they've compounded down the stretch by going 14-3 ATS in their last 17 games. Bet on them to get the job done again here.
PREDICTION: Knicks -5.5 (-110)
This is a well-placed line given New York's propensity to keep scores low. The Knicks play at the NBA's slowest pace, allowing the league's fewest points while scoring the fifth-fewest points themselves.
Obviously, books are aware of this and keep their totals on the smaller side, but there's reason to believe they can still deliver an Under here.
Firstly, Charlotte plays at a pretty slow pace itself (100.6, 19th in NBA), and will be without Bridges, who had picked up the slack as a secondary scorer in Hayward's absence. While LaMelo Ball's playmaking and Terry Rozier's microwave scoring are threats to rack up points, it will be that much more difficult against a keyed-in Knicks defense.
Tom Thibodeau has built a stalwart defense around a criminally underrated interior defender in Nerlens Noel, flanked by defenders ranging from capable to borderline-elite. He's a no-nonsense coach who will have his squad focused and ready to do what they excel at in one of the season's most important games. Count on the Knicks keeping this one low.
PREDICTION: Under 211.5 (-110)
Player prop pick
Randle's breakout season has seen him doing a bit of everything for a Knicks squad that has needed propping up on offense at times. He's become a dynamic scorer who can now light up teams from distance just as easily as he barrels his way to the hoop.
He's only topped 26.5 points (today's market total) once in his last five games, but did so in five of six games prior to that. Given that the stakes are so high today, we're expecting Randle to engage maximum primacy for this matchup, and as solid a defender as P.J. Washington can be, Randle's Over here feels like the better play, especially with recently-scorching Derrick Rose listed as questionable.
PREDICTION: Julius Randle Over 26.5 points (-120)
Hornets vs Knicks betting card
- Knicks -5.5 (-110)
- Under 211.5 (-110)
- Julius Randle Over 26.5 points (-120)
Picks made on 5/15/2021 at 10:20 a.m. ET
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