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The Knicks and Pacers will tee it up for game 2 of their series on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden with the Knicks looking to bounce back from a game 1defeat which saw the Pacers in control throughout, leading by double digits for most of the 4th quarter. The Knicks are currently favored by -5.5 points at 5 Dimes Sportsbook with a total of 183. The total has been bet down from an opener of 185, likely sharp action as most average joe bettors don't bet un til game day. (this is being written on Monday).
If you take a glance at the mainstream media articles covering this series, you'd get the impression that the Knicks should just wave the white flag. Many of these same outlets predicted the Knicks to win the series yet after watching game 1, they have already flip flopped their predictions. True, the Pacers dominated game 1, and they did so with their size, but we don't see reason to panic just yet if you're a Knicks fan. The Knicks have gotten to this point with a small lineup.
Adjustments will be made and perhaps the hangover of having won their first playoff series in 13 years will be gone come Tuesday night. The feeling here is that this series has all the makings of a Pacers vs. Knicks series of old. Like, the mid 90's with Ewing, Starks, Miller and Smits. We still see this as a 7 game series. If that's going to happen, the Knicks will have to win Game 2.
These two split their season series with both teams winning at home. The Knicks beat the Pacers at the Garden by 10 and by 12. In their 1st round series, the Pacers took two games from the Hawks at home before losing the next two on the road by double digits. With that in mind, we like our chances backing the Knicks in game 2. We expect a much more focused effort and a much different result as the Knicks send a message that they are in this for the duration. We don't shock easily, but would be shocked if the Pacers went up 2-0 in this series.
Prediction - Knicks -5.5. We also lean towards the Under 183 but aster a 2 point line move, we'll stay away from the total.
For the record, we run an NBA score prediction model which is similar to our college model. It spits out scores using season to date Data, last 5 games data and last 7 games data. Each of the 3 different parameters has the Knicks winning this game by 4 but we think the added motivation the Knicks have here will widen that margin a bit.
Also note that when using season to date data, the predicted score is Knicks 96-92, however, when using the last 5 and 7 games worth of data, the predicted scores are 86-82 and 87-83. That's just 168 and 170 total points which explains the early line move on the Under 185.
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