Nuggets vs Knicks Picks and Predictions: Randle Rumbles to Early Buckets

Julius Randle's been picking up his first-quarter production even more of late, and against a soft defense with Jalen Brunson still marginalized at-best, this Knicks-Nuggets matchup provides him with another easy prop takedown.

Malcolm R. Banks - Contributor at
Malcolm R. Banks • Contributor
Mar 18, 2023 • 08:50 ET • 4 min read
Julius Randle New York Knicks
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

Today’s NBA matchup between the Denver Nuggets and the New York Knicks promises to be an intriguing contest, as both teams bring their unique strengths and challenges to the table. 

Key players, such as the Knicks’ Julius Randle, will also play a significant role in the game's outcome, with Randle's first-quarter scoring prowess being a notable aspect to consider. 

Find out your best options with our free NBA betting picks and predictions for the Knicks vs. Nuggets tonight.

Nuggets vs Knicks best odds

Nuggets vs Knicks picks and predictions

Julius Randle is an absolute monster when it comes to scoring points in the first quarter. It’s not unusual for him to surpass 8.5 points in this frame, as he's currently averaging 9.2 points in the first quarter alone. Randle has proven time and time again that he is an elite first-quarter scorer. In fact, he’s already scored a total of 644 points in the first quarter this season, surpassing Carmelo Anthony's previous record of 628.

This particular pick is much easier to rely on than predicting a 30-point game for Randle, as he has consistently demonstrated his ability to score at least 10 points in the first quarter. In the first game between the Nuggets and the Knicks this season, Randle racked up an impressive 12 points in the first quarter on 57.1% shooting. Over his last 10 games, Randle's first-quarter scoring average has actually increased to 10.3 points.

Randle's high usage rate gives him consistent opportunity to produce. With a usage rate of 31.9, he currently ranks fourth among starting forwards in the NBA this season, indicating that he will have the ball in his hands quite often. 

Tonight, he will have to get the best of Aaron Gordon who is a tough defender and matches up with Randle from a physical standpoint. I’d expect the Knicks to look to get Randle into a lot of switch situations where Nikola Jokic and Michael Porter will get their fair share of looks at Randle. Neither of those players has a reputation as high-level defenders capable of slowing down Randle. 

Additionally, with Jalen Brunson's status for the game still uncertain; it’s unlikely that he will be a significant factor in his first game back, should he choose to suit up. In games without Brunson, Randle has been even more aggressive, averaging over one more shot attempt per first quarter. Given all these factors, it's highly probable that Randle will score over 8.5 points in the first quarter of tonight's game between the Nuggets and the Knicks.

My best bet: Julius Randle Over 8.5 First Quarter points (-150 at DraftKings)

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Nuggets vs Knicks spread analysis

Today's game between the Nuggets and Knicks is shaping up to be an intriguing contest, especially considering the -2  spread in favor of Denver. The Nuggets have recently experienced their toughest stretch of the season, with a 5-5 record in their last 10 games. This potentially makes the matchup more competitive, and the Knicks may be able to cover the spread.

In their last meeting, the Knicks managed to cover the spread by two points. Both teams boast impressive offensive ratings, with Denver ranking second and the Knicks at fifth. However, their shooting efficiency tells a different story. Denver excels in field goal percentage (50.8) and 3-point percentage (38.7), ranking first and second in the league, respectively. On the other hand, the Knicks lag behind, ranking 24th (46.5) and 22nd (34.8) in those same categories.

Despite its offensive prowess, Denver's defense can be vulnerable at the rim, allowing the sixth-most points to opponents in the paint (52.9). While the Knicks are league average in points in the paint, RJ Barrett has proven to be a valuable asset, scoring 10.1 points per game in the paint. I’d expect to see him attacking the rim early and often. Given these factors, it’s possible that the Knicks could keep up with Denver's potent offense and potentially cover the -2 spread. However, bettors should be cautious, as Denver's superior shooting efficiency could still tilt the game in its favor.

Nuggets vs Knicks Over/Under analysis

Defensively, both these teams are tied at 15th in the league with a defensive rating of 115.1, indicating that their defensive capabilities are relatively equal. Offensively, their recent performance differs. Over the last three games, New York has averaged the fifth-lowest points per game at 110, while Denver has averaged the 13th most points with 116.3.

In the previous matchup between these two teams, the total points scored fell under the line, with both teams combining for only 209 points, significantly below the set total of 226.5. This suggests that their head-to-head history leans towards a lower-scoring game. Additionally, neither team plays with a particularly fast pace, as Denver ranks 19th (97.3) and New York ranks 27th (96) in the league, which could contribute to fewer possessions and potentially lower scoring.

The Knicks' Over/Under record stands at 36-33-2, and Denver's Over/Under record is 36-34, indicating that both teams have been relatively balanced in terms of Over/Under outcomes this season. However, it is worth noting that the under has hit in the Knicks' last four road games. Taking all of these factors into account, it appears that the upcoming game between the Nuggets and the Knicks has the potential to be a lower-scoring affair, which might suggest leaning towards the Under. However, bettors should be cautious, as both teams have the offensive firepower to surpass this mark if their key players perform well.

Nuggets vs Knicks betting trend to know

Nuggets are 1-5 ATS in their last six home games vs. a team with a losing road record. Find more NBA betting trends for Nuggets vs. Knicks.

Nuggets vs Knicks game info

Location: Madison Square Garden, New York City, NY
Date: Saturday, March 18, 2023
Tip-off: 1:00 p.m. ET
TV: Altitude Sports, MSG

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