Pelicans vs Knicks Picks and Predictions: Slowing Things Down at MSG

Two flawed rosters face off at MSG as the Pelicans enter as 4-point road underdogs against the Knicks. Jonas Valanciunas should feast on the inside with Nerlens Noel sidelined. We also pinpoint an Evan Fournier 3-pointer prop in our betting picks.

Last Updated: Jan 20, 2022 4:06 PM ET Read Time: 4 min
Jonas Valanciunas New Orleans Pelicans NBA
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks host the New Orleans Pelicans at Madison Square Garden on Thursday night in a matchup of teams trying to find some consistency.

Both the Knicks and Pelicans enter as losers of back-to-back games and will try to regain some momentum as they head into the weekend. Can the Knicks cover as slight home favorites or do the Pelicans have value as a road underdog?

Find out in our free NBA betting picks and predictions for Pelicans vs. Knicks on January 20.

Pelicans vs Knicks odds

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

The Knicks opened this matchup as 4-point home chalk and the line has seen little movement as of Thursday afternoon. It’s the total seeing the action. The Over/Under hit the board at 211 and has been bet down to 209.5.

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.

Pelicans vs Knicks predictions

Predictions made on 01/20/2022 at 1:30 p.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.

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Pelicans vs Knicks game info

Location: Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
Date: Thursday, January 20, 2022
Tip-off: 7:30 p.m. ET

Pelicans vs Knicks betting preview


Pelicans: Devonte' Graham PG (Questionable), Zion Williamson PF (Out).
Knicks: Nerlens Noel C (Out), Derrick Rose PG (Out), Cam Reddish SF (Out).
Find our latest NBA injury reports.

Betting trend to know

The Under is 6-1 in the Pelicans' last seven games overall and 7-0 in the Knicks' last seven games as a favorite. Find more NBA betting trends for Pelicans vs. Knicks.

Pelicans 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.

The Knicks continue their four-game homestand against the Pelicans and they’re hoping their offense can get right in this matchup. New York now ranks 23rd in offensive rating and 25th in effective field goal percentage for the season. It doesn’t help that RJ Barrett has hit a bit of a rough patch thanks to a recent uptick in turnovers while Julius Randle is still trying to find his form from last season.

Randle’s scoring is down about five points per game this season and he has his lowest effective field goal percentage since what was essentially his rookie season in 2015-16.

The Knicks will get a chance to improve on those numbers when they go against a Pelicans team that struggles on the defensive end of the floor, ranking 23rd in defensive rating. That said, the Pels have picked up their play at that end of the floor lately, and are a much more respectable 14th in defensive rating over their last six games.

Meanwhile, the Pelicans offense, which ranks 25th in offensive rating, can be quite streaky. Keep an eye on Devonte’ Graham's status for this one, as he is questionable with an ankle issue. Additionally, with Nerlens Noel out for the Knicks, expect New Orleans to lean heavily on Jonas Valanciunas on the inside.

Frankly, both of these teams have plenty of flaws but there isn’t much separating the two at the moment, so I would lean towards taking the points.

Prediction: Pelicans +4 (-110)

There is a reason the total has seen more action in this game than the side. For starters, neither offense is especially good.

As noted, the Pelicans' streaky offense produces maddeningly inconsistent results. On top of being ranked 25th in offensive rating, the Pels also rank 26th in effective field goal percentage and 24th in points per game. While the Knicks are not the defensive team they were a year ago, they still do a decent job of altering shots, ranking fourth in opponent field goal percentage and fifth in scoring defense.

On the other side, the Knicks rank 27th in scoring and 25th in scoring percentage, while New Orleans has limited opponents to a respectable 106.5 points per game over their last six games and that includes two contests where they allowed the Nets and Timberwolves to fill up the bucket.

On top of all that, the pace of this game should be super slow. The Pelicans rank 20th in the NBA when it comes to pace while the Knicks rank dead last. 

So, even though we have lost out on the best number, the total is still low enough to take the Under.

Prediction: Under 209.5 (-110)

While the Knicks have generally struggled on offense of late, that hasn’t stopped shooting guard Evan Fournier from putting up more shots than ever. He has upped his 3-point attempts to 7.6 per game while shooting 43.6% over his last 15.

Now, he’ll face a Pelicans team that has a real problem guarding the perimeter. New Orleans ranks next-to-last when it comes to opponent 3-point shooting percentage, allowing them to hit 37.3% of their attempts from downtown.

Bet him to go Over his made threes prop of 2.5, which is a number Fournier has eclipsed 10 times over his last 15 games.

Pick: Evan Fournier Over 2.5 Made Threes (-145)

NBA parlays

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