The New York Knicks and Washington Wizards have their final preseason game before the 2021-2022 NBA season on Friday night. With the Knicks starting this preseason at 3-0 and the Wizards at 0-3, New York enters as the favorite as they look to complete an unbeaten preseason campaign. Washington, meanwhile, will look to avoid a winless preseason entering a year in which they will have to overcome changes to their roster.
The Washington Wizards vs. New York Knicks matchup scheduled for Friday has already taken place once this preseason, with the Knicks winning that meeting by 18 points. Here, the Wizards will look to make this a more competitive contest than their first preseason encounter. Before the opening tip of the 2021-2021 season, there is some value in the betting markets as the Knicks and Wizards get after it at Madison Square Garden.
Washington Wizards – A Preseason Nightmare
This preseason has seen the Washington Wizards struggle to find their footing, as Washington has lost all three of their tune-up games heading into Friday’s finale against the Knicks. Washington has lost their three games by an average of 9.6 points per game in the preseason. And the defense in Washington doesn’t appear poised to improve from last year’s team, as they are allowing 118 points per game on that end of the floor.
Heading into Friday’s preseason finale against the Knicks, the Wizards are set to be without one of their young stars yet again. Rui Hachimura is in the league’s COVID-19 protocol and is expected to miss this matchup. His size and physicality would have been good to have against a Knicks team that prides itself on physical play. But the Wizards will miss him and hope that they can cope with the Knicks’ style without him.
Expected Line-Up: Spencer Dinwiddie, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Bradley Beal, Kyle Kuzma, Daniel Gafford
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New York Knicks – Cultivating A Culture
The New York Knicks are undefeated so far in the preseason, going 3-0 heading into their final tune-up against the Wizards. They are outscoring opponents in the preseason by 15.7 points per game on average, which is not unexpected from a Tom Thibodeau coached team. Thibodeau preaches maximum effort at all times, and the team has clearly bought into his philosophy as they have torched opponents this preseason.
For the Knicks, the interior is their only area of real concern heading into this game. Nerlens Noel and Mitchell Robinson are both listed on their injury report and could miss this matchup. If they were to miss out, the Knicks would likely give away some size and skill on the interior to Washington’s Daniel Gafford. But the Knicks’ advantages elsewhere on the court and on the defensive end could make up for that situation.
Expected Line-Up: Derrick Rose, Evan Fournier, RJ Barrett, Julius Randle, Taj Gibson
Expert Pick #1 – Knicks -4.5 @ -110
The first bet to make on this game is the Knicks to cover the 4.5-point spread at -110 odds. The Knicks have won every one of their preseason games by at least eight points so far, and shouldn’t have trouble doing so again here against a struggling Washington team. With Tom Thibodeau playing his starters late into their preseason games, the Knicks are likely to finish strong and secure the cover.
Expert Pick #2 – Knicks to Win @ -190
Even with Bradley Beal on the court for the Wizards in this game, the Knicks should be the right bet on the moneyline at -190 odds. The Knicks held Beal to 5-13 shooting in their first meeting in this preseason, and the Knicks performed very well against the Wizards last season as well. Expect New York to maintain their momentum into the regular season as they finish this preseason with a 4-0 record after last year’s playoff appearance.
Expert Pick #3 – Over 216 @ -110
There is an interesting contrast in styles to consider for the total in this game, as the Knicks tend to play a low-scoring style of basketball while the Wizards try to push tempo and make games as high-scoring as possible. The Knicks should put up big numbers on offense here, while Washington will do just enough to contribute to the over late in the game when the Knicks are able to take their foot off the gas by playing some reserves in what should be a lopsided affair.
Based on the way these two teams have played this preseason and last season, there are no circumstances where the Knicks should be at this short a price against the Washington Wizards. The Knicks will continue their culture building in the preseason here, while the Wizards will simply aim their attention to the part of the year where the games count.