2020-21 NBA Week 1 Odds, Picks and Predictions: New York Knicks Nab Surprise Win at Indiana
One of the NBA’s favorite rivalries will be part of the Week 1 make-up as the New York Knicks visit the Indiana Pacers in their 2020-21 season opener on Wednesday (Dec. 23).
No team in the league is at longer odds to win a championship this season than the Knicks, who start their campaign as +295 moneyline underdogs with Betrivers. Indianapolis-based customers may prefer the home team as much stronger -385 frontrunners, though there’s reason to believe a Week 1 upset is on the cards.
For starters, New York were successful in their most recent visit to Bankers Life Fieldhouse and came away as 92-85 victors when they last travelled to this venue in February:
That result brought an end to the Pacers’ seven-win streak against the Knicks and provided the latter’s first win in Indiana since January 2017. It also doesn’t hurt the visitors’ chances that they’ve gone 3-1 in pre-season while the Pacers failed to win any of their three warm-up fixtures, not that new coach Tom Thibodeau is allowing that to go to his players’ heads:
Asked about 3-1 record in preseason Tom Thibodeau answers: We're 0-0 now.— Steve Popper (@StevePopper) December 20, 2020
New York Knicks @ Indiana Pacers Game Info
Date: Wednesday, December 23
Time: 7 p.m. ET
Venue: Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, Indiana
Knicks @ Pacers Odds & Prediction
New York Knicks: +295
Indiana Pacers: -385
Prediction: Knicks by 3
Both the Knicks and the Pacers will start the 2020-21 season with new coaches in charge, and it’s Thibodeau whose preparations look better-equipped to give his side the positive start.
Nate Bjorkgren has been promoted to his first head coach job at Indiana following two years as the Toronto Raptors assistant, putting him at a significant disadvantage in experience when compared with 2011 NBA Coach of the Year Thibodeau.
Bjorkgren has been without two surefire starters in forward TJ Warren (foot) and center Myles Turner (concussion) for most of pre-season, and while the coach said both should feature in their Week 1 clash, there’s little guarantee either will be part of the starting team:
Nate Bjorkgren expects Myles Turner and T.J. Warren to be available for the @Pacers' regular season opener on Wednesday: "They were in a full, physical contact practice today and they looked good." #Pacers pic.twitter.com/skFFIaFUSw— FOX Sports Indiana (@FSIndiana) December 20, 2020
Rushing either of those players back prematurely could create more problems than it fixes, and the Knicks look more than happy to take advantage based on current form. Bjorkgren has placed heavy emphasis on optimising Indiana’s ‘disruptive defense’, but it was the Knicks who looked robust when they hammered the Cleveland Cavaliers 119-83 in their last pre-season outing.
A confident New York outfit has the current confidence and momentum to maintain their recent winning record in Indiana depending on the fitness of the Pacers’ starter corps, though it won’t be by any wide margin.