Lakers vs Knicks Picks and Predictions: No LeBron, No Problem at Madison Square Garden

Even with LeBron James out against the New York Knicks, the Los Angeles Lakers feature an explosive offense with Russell Westbrook and Anthony Davis at the helm. Is it enough to overcome the Knicks in MSG? Find out in our free NBA betting picks.

Last Updated: Nov 23, 2021 11:24 AM ET Read Time: 4 min
Russell Westbrook Anthony Davis Los Angeles Lakers NBA
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

Two teams that entered the NBA season with high expectations hope to get on track on Tuesday night as the Los Angeles Lakers take on the New York Knicks.

With LeBron James serving a suspension - unless he appeals - NBA betting lines opened with the Lakers installed as 5-point road underdogs for this contest at Madison Square Garden.

Here are our best NBA picks and predictions for Lakers vs. Knicks on Tuesday, November 23, with tipoff at 7:30 p.m. ET. 

Lakers vs Knicks odds

Odds via the Covers Line, an average comprised of odds from multiple sportsbooks.

The Knicks opened as 5-point favorites in this contest with the Over/Under at 215. Early money came in on the Lakers and the Under moving the line to Knicks -4.5 and the total to 214.5. These teams previously clashed last season in May with the Lakers winning 101-99 in overtime. The Knicks covered as 3-point road underdogs in that game while the Under 209.5 cashed despite the extra time. Use the live odds widget above to track any future line movements right until tip-off and be sure to check out the full NBA odds before betting to ensure you get the best number.

Lakers vs Knicks predictions

Predictions made on 11/23/2021 at 10:30 a.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.

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Lakers vs Knicks game info

Location: Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
Date: Tuesday, November 23, 2021
Tip-off: 7:30 p.m. ET

Lakers vs Knicks betting preview


Lakers: LeBron James SF (Out), Anthony Davis PF (Probable), Kendrick Nunn PG (Out), Trevor Ariza SF (Out).
Knicks: Taj Gibson PF (Doubtful), Mitchell Robinson C (Out), Derrick Rose PG (Questionable).
Find our latest NBA injury reports.

Betting trend to know

The Over is 4-1 in the Lakers' last five road games vs. a team with a losing home record. Find more NBA betting trends for Lakers vs. Knicks.

Lakers vs Knicks picks and predictions

Our predictions are compiled from the analysis of the spread and total and are indications of where we are leaning for this game.
Our best bet is the play that we like the most for this game, which we would actually put some of our bankroll behind.

Barring an appeal, the Lakers will be without LeBron James after the "Malice at Little Caesar's Arena" on Sunday when LeBron bloodied the Pistons' Isaiah Stewart with an elbow to the face in the third quarter. That incident seemed to spark the Lakers, who rallied from a double-digit deficit to beat Detroit 121-116. 

As Skip Bayless pointed out, the Lakers needing inspiration to stage a comeback "against a 4-11 team led by a 19-year-old" isn't the greatest look for a squad that was supposed to be a championship favorite (even a blind squirrel like Skip finds a nut once in a while). 

Prior to that come-from-behind victory in Detroit, the Lakers had lost three in a row. They're sitting at 9-9 on the season and are just 2-4 SU and ATS in their last six. The Knicks also have just two wins in their last six games, going 1-5 ATS over that span, and they're 9-8 SU (7-10 ATS) on the year.

Both teams have had their share of struggles with the Knicks ranking just 17th in net rating (plus-0.3) and the Lakers ranking 24th (minus-3.3). And the Lakers should be even worse without LeBron. However, oddsmakers might be overestimating his impact with the Lakers just 1-7 ATS with James in the lineup and going 5-5 ATS without.

Russell Westbrook might be turnover-prone and streaky, but he can still fill up the stat sheet with 19.3 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 8.7 assists per game, while power forward Anthony Davis is one of the best two-way players in the NBA with 24.6 points and 2.3 blocks per game. 

The Knicks have a fantastic power forward of their own in Julius Randle (20.4 ppg, 10 rpg, 5.1 apg), but they've had a tough time finding consistent offense around him with R.J. Barrett, Evan Fournier, and Kemba Walker going ice-cold at times. It might be easy to fade the Lakers sans LeBron, but the Knicks really haven't been any more impressive, which makes taking them at -4.5 a tough play. Grab the road team with the points. 

Prediction: Lakers +4.5 (-110)

Neither team has looked good lately and both appear to have massively regressed on the defensive side of the ball. Last season, the Lakers had the top defensive rating in the NBA, while the Knicks were ranked fourth. This season, the Knicks are ranked just 19th in defensive rating, while the Lakers are one spot behind them. 

The Lakers also play at an electric tempo, ranking second in the league in pace, and they run the floor even faster with Westbrook controlling the offense. 

That's led to the Lakers ranking sixth in the league in scoring with 109.9 ppg but also allowing a whopping 113.4 ppg, the second-worst number in the NBA.

In a season that has seen Unders cash at a terrific rate league-wide (59.3 percent), the Lakers have been the best Over bet, with the score going above the total in 10 of their last 16 contests. We're leaning in that direction tonight. 

Prediction: Over 214.5 (-110)

One area where the Knicks have excelled has been the play of their backups. New York's bench ranks second in the league in plus/minus (plus-4.3) while scoring the third-most points per game (40.9).

That hides a worrying trend for Knicks backers. Their starting unit simply isn't very good, which tends to result in some poor starts. The Knicks have an average scoring margin of minus-0.3 ppg during the first quarter and rank 22nd in the league with 25.8 first-quarter points. That number has absolutely plummeted lately with New York averaging a pathetic 18 in the first quarter over its last four contests. 

On the other hand, the Lakers have been starting off fast. They drop 28.8 ppg during the first 12 minutes with that number jumping up to 33.3 ppg over their last three games. Back the Lake Show on the first quarter moneyline. 

Pick: Lakers first quarter moneyline (+130)

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