Times have been tough for the New York Knicks over the past decade. The franchise has seen just one playoff appearance since 2013, averaging just 29 wins a season during that time and topping 40 victories in a year just once.
That came two years ago, when the Knicks appeared on the verge of a turnaround with a young nucleus of RJ Barrett and Julius Randle.
“Things were looking really promising then,” said Johnny Avello, director of sportsbook operations for DraftKings Sportsbook. “Maybe they were one player away from making it to the next level. … The East is so tough, though. It really is.”
Indeed, while the Knicks may be on the threshold of returning to NBA relevance, the Eastern Conference is as stacked as it has ever been. The Boston Celtics (+600), Brooklyn Nets (+700) and Milwaukee Bucks (+800) top the New York sports betting odds table to win the NBA championship this season. The Knicks, meanwhile, sit in the bottom tier at +15000.
The odds are stacked against New York in its own division. And simply reaching the postseason? Odds favor another missed playoffs for the Knicks.
But could the 2022-23 New York Knicks buck the trend this year?
New York Knicks 2022-23 NBA games to watch
The Knicks tip off the 2022-23 NBA season with a nationally televised game at the Memphis Grizzlies on Oct. 19, the first of 13 Knicks games that will air on national TV. These five, though, have our attention the most.
Dec. 7 vs. Atlanta Hawks
In the annals of Knicks history, the Hawks don’t stand as “rivals,” per se. Of course, we know that isn’t true these days.
Trae Young became a villain in the 2021 playoffs, hitting game-winners, shushing the Madison Square Garden crowd, bowing, shivering on the way to eliminating New York in five games. No Knick fan puts up with that. After going 3-1 against Atlanta last season, New York looks to continue that trend and attempt to bury Young and the Hawks.
Dec. 14 @ Chicago Bulls
Nostalgia at its finest. John Starks throwing down over Horace Grant. The Knicks getting past Scottie Pippen and the Bulls to advance to the 1994 NBA Finals. Arguably the most contentious rivalry in the NBA, especially in the 1990s.
Now, these two teams look for resurgence. The Bulls with DeMar Derozan and Zach Lavine, the Knicks with Barrett and Randle (and now Brunson). And of course, Tom Thibodeau, now coach of the Knicks who led the Bulls back to Eastern Conference supremacy 10 years ago.
Dec. 25 vs. Philadelphia 76ers
Christmas and the Knicks go together like milk and cookies. No team has played more Dec. 25 games than the Knicks. And no two teams have played each other the most on this holiday than New York and the Philadelphia 76ers.
The Sixers, who lead the series 7-5 on Christmas, boast a championship-caliber roster with James Harden and Joel Embiid. But it’s Christmas at MSG. Magic happens this time of year.
Dec. 27 @ Dallas Mavericks
Jalen Brunson makes his return to Dallas after a career year (16.3 points, 4.8 assists) helped the Mavericks reach the Western Conference Finals.
The Mavericks, led by Luka Dončić, stand as one of the popular darkhorse picks to win the 2022-23 NBA title. And this particular game will certainly carry ample emotions with the Knicks’ newest point guard.
Jan. 31 vs. Los Angeles Lakers
It’s not a “rivalry,” in the purest form. But the history of the NBA runs through New York and Los Angeles. This is tradition and history intersecting with living legends and young talent.
What’s more, depending on how the start of the season goes and how much rest/games he misses, this could be the game that LeBron James passes Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to become the all-time leading scorer in NBA history.
Can 2022-23 New York Knicks turn things around?
After putting up the franchise’s first 40-win season in eight years, the Knicks stumbled last season, limping to a 37-45 record and finish 11th in the East.
That said, RJ Barrett put together a career year in his third season, averaging 20 points per game to complement Julius Randle going for 20.1 points, 9.9 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game. (Though Randle also had his lowest shooting percentage since his rookie season in 2014-15.)
The Knicks added Jalen Brunson at point guard and brought back rim protector Mitchell Robinson to create one of the most exciting young teams in the league.
“It’s a young team,” Avello of DraftKings Sportsbook NY said. “I do like Brunson, that’s a good addition. Randle. Obi Toppin, I was expecting a little more from him coming out of college. So we’ll see if he’s able to perform better than what he’s shown so far.”
Breaking down New York Knicks betting odds
As it stands the New York Knicks betting odds list the team’s over/under win total at 38.5 games. To win the East: +8000. And just to win the Atlantic Division, which features four members in the top seven of NBA title odds: +6000.
“As far as the money’s in, they’re not being bet in the future book: 20th most-bet team, only taken about 1% of the total handle,” Avello said. “Even in New York, they’re the 11th most bet team with about 3% of the handle. At least the New Yorkers feel a little more optimistic about them.”
In his third season at the helm, Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau may be coaching for his job at this point. Although New York has seemingly gone all in on its personnel with the $104 million contract given to Brunson and $120 million extension of Barrett. But in terms of betting, Avello hasn’t seen the long odds lead to an increase in Knicks betting.
“The interest isn’t there as much as you think it would be,” Avello said. “I think that’s because you look at the East and try to project them out, you don’t see them falling in the top eight. You see them probably in that play-in round. Now, if anything changes during the year — they get off to a good start — that (+15000) won’t last.
“But right now, there’s not a lot of takers on it. I think it’s the strength of the East and everybody that’s in front of them.”