The Knicks and Bucks square off in a win-or-go home matchup in the quarterfinals of the inaugural in-season tournament on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at Fiserv Forum.
In the first ever in-season tournament, the Knicks went 3-1 in Group B play with their lone loss coming to the Bucks 115-110 on Nov. 3 in Milwaukee.
The Bucks won Group B as they finished undefeated with wins against the Knicks, Hornets, Wizards and Heat.
Can the Knicks pull off the upset and advance to the semifinals on Thursday night or will the Bucks defeat New York for a second time this season?
Here’s my betting breakdown for this matchup on Tuesday evening:
Knicks vs. Bucks spread: Bucks -5.5, Knicks +5.5 (Odds via DraftKings)
Unsurprisingly, Milwaukee is a home favorite this evening.
The Knicks on the other hand rank in the top-10 in the NBA in terms of covering and are 6-3-1 ATS on the road through the first 10 games.
What’s most important is that the first time these teams met there was no R.J. Barrett for New York as he was dealing with a knee injury. Now he’s back and is shooting a career-best 83.6 percent from the free throw line and 38.9 percent from beyond the arc, his highest percentage since his sophomore campaign in 2020-21.
While it was a push against the spread last time these two teams played (spread was five and Bucks won 115-110), I believe the Knicks cover this number with Barrett back in the lineup and Milwaukee’s struggles to cover this year.
Almost all sportsbooks have this line at Knicks +5, but BetMGM is the only option for New York at +5.5 with a price of -115 (Bet $115 to net $100).
Prediction: Knicks +5.5
Knicks vs. Bucks total: Over/under 229.5 points (Odds via FanDuel)
After opening with a total of 222 points, the over/under has skyrocketed to a current line of 229.5 points on Tuesday afternoon.
In the last week, the Bucks have had some incredibly high scoring games, with all three of them going over 233 points. In fact, Milwaukee has gone over this line in eight of its last 10 contests.
The first matchup just over a month ago went under this total despite Milwaukee shooting an outrageous 20-of-39 from the three-point line (51.3 percent).
This is a clear strength-on-strength matchup with the top-rated Knicks defense and a Bucks offense that ranks in the top-10 or higher in most offensive categories.
Even though the over/under has risen significantly, I’d bet the under here as I don’t see Milwaukee getting that hot from beyond the arc again.
Casears is currently the only sportsbook that offers the 229.5 line with a price of -110.
Prediction: Under 229.5 points
Knicks vs. Bucks moneyline: Bucks -195 (Odds via Caesars), Knicks +175 (Odds via bet365)
There’s no denying the Bucks began the season slow compared to their now normal sky-high expectations with a 5-4 start.
Since then, Milwaukee has won nine of its previous 11 games and its lone home loss came all the way back on Oct. 29 versus the Hawks.
With a healthy Barrett, New York should give the Bucks all they can handle especially on the defensive end.
In the end, the Knicks come up just short as they’re knocked out of the in-season tournament and Milwaukee advances to the semifinals in Las Vegas against the Pacers on Thursday evening.
Most sportsbooks have this line at -200 or higher but the only option with better odds is at Caesars with a price of -195 (Bet $195 to win $100).
Prediction: Bucks 111, Knicks 108