Kawhi Leonard’s back to his old MVP-esque ways, and the Magic’s plummeting defense provides a great matchup for him to continue stuffing box scores, as our NBA prop picks are backing him to keep the Clippers’ playoff push moving.
Today’s NBA matchup between the Denver Nuggets and the New York Knicks promises to be an intriguing contest, as both teams bring their unique strengths and challenges to the table.
Key players, such as the Knicks’ Julius Randle, will also play a significant role in the game’s outcome, with Randle’s first-quarter scoring prowess being a notable aspect to consider.
Find out your best options with our free NBA betting picks and predictions for the Knicks vs. Nuggets tonight.
Picks made on 3/17/2023 at 7:00 p.m. ET.
Click on each pick to jump to the full analysis.
Best NBA bonuses
Looking to bet on some NBA action? Here are two of the best bonuses* available:
A) New users at FanDuel can get a deposit bonus 10x the value of their first bet (up to $200)! Sign Up Now
B) Get one no-sweat NBA same-game parlay every day at DraftKings! Opt-in Now
*Eligible USA locations only. Also, check out our full list of best sportsbook promotions for 2023.
21+. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER
The odds widgets below represent the best odds currently available for each betting market at regulated sportsbooks.
The Los Angeles Clippers are under immense pressure. They traded basically all their future draft equity and All-NBA-to-be guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to unite Paul George and Kawhi Leonard in pursuit of their first championship. Four years into that experiment, a Conference Finals is the best they’ve managed, and their window may be closing soon. They demonstrated a distinct lack of confidence in their own ability to get it done this season by making significant moves at the trade deadline, adding multiple new rotation players, including Russell Westbrook.
The one thing that should give Clippers fans solace (and instill fear in their opponents) is that after missing the entire 2021-22 NBA season, Kawhi Leonard is fully and truly back. Leonard is averaging 23.8 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 3.9 assists on the season on 62.4% true shooting. Those are superstar numbers, but he’s turned it up another notch recently.
Over his past five games, Kawhi is up to 29.4 points, 8.2 boards, and 3 assists on 55.7/50/90.2 shooting splits. That’s not superstar stuff, that’s Top-5 (and not five) stuff. He’s doing this as opposing teams practically give up guarding Westbrook entirely in order to double-team him. He’s being face-guarded the length of the court. Nothing is working and Kawhi is a walking highlight machine right now. Over his past 10 games Leonard is averaging 40.2 total points, rebounds, and assists — he’s up to 43.7 over his last four games.
The only concern would be that Leonard wouldn’t play a full game against the Orlando Magic, but the Clippers have been inconsistent with Leonard off the court and are desperate for every win as they try to maintain a Top-6 seed. I expect Kawhi to play a full game and produce accordingly.
Kawhi Leonard prop: Over 37.5 points, rebounds, and assists (-115)
The Denver Nuggets have already all but locked up the No.1 seed in the Western Conference, but that’s just about the only good thing you can say about them right now. They’re struggling, losers of four of their last five, and with playoffs right around the corner they’re suddenly on very shaky ground.
Perhaps the biggest reason for Denver’s recent struggles is the current slump of Jamal Murray. Murray is an up-and-down player at the best of times, but in his return from injury season the down periods have been more pronounced (and devastating). Jamal is now nursing what has been deemed a sore left knee, and it’s possible that this injury explains what has been poor play by him for a couple of weeks now.
On the season, Murray is averaging a hair under 20 points per game on good efficiency, but over the last five games, he’s down to just 16.8 points on 34.1% from the field and 27.5% from deep. He’s also coughing the ball up 3.4 times per game.
With Murray slumping and possibly on a bad knee, he’s in for a rough go on Saturday against the New York Knicks. The Knicks boast some of the best defensive guard depth in the NBA right now, with Quentin Grimes, Immanuel Quickley, and Deuce McBride all certain to take their turns locking up Kitchener’s Finest. Against some teams, Jalen Brunson would be forced to guard the point of attack, but the Knicks will feel comfortable hiding Brunson (assuming he plays at all) on Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who primarily spaces the corner.
Bank on Murray to underperform against New York’s tenacious perimeter defense.
Jamal Murray prop: Under 20.5 points (-110)
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is the league’s fifth-most accurate 3-point shooter this season. That’s why his Nuggets’ teammates were outraged at his exclusion from the 3-point contest during All-Star Weekend. If he wants a measure of revenge, Saturday’s game against the New York Knicks (and Julius Randle the man who took his spot in the contest) looms large.
But motivation isn’t the reason to believe in this line, it’s the team context and value on the board. The Knicks subscribe to the theory that defending the paint wins basketball games, even if in turn you have to surrender some good looks from the perimeter. New York allows the fifth-most opponent 3-pointers as a percentage of their offense in the Association at 38.4%. A whole lot of those are corner threes, which are KCP’s bread and butter as a marksman.
The Knicks concede threes to crash into the paint on opposing drivers, either stunting or outright switching, and they do so even off the strong side corner one pass away. Stunting and recovering is an art form, and some of the Knicks are better at it than others. It’s something that RJ Barrett has struggled with consistently this season, and Jalen Brunson’s lack of height and length makes him ill-suited to it as well. More than likely, those two will get the lion’s share of minutes guarding KCP on Saturday, with the other Knicks backcourt players locked in on Murray.
The shots will be there for Caldwell-Pope, and if last game’s an indication that he’s shaking off the mini-slump he was in, this line will look foolishly low in the fullness of time.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope prop: Over 1.5 3-pointers made (+105)
Celtics vs. Kings Odds Celtics Odds -4.5 Kings Odds +4.5 Over/Under 238.5 Time 10 p.m. ET TV NBA League Pass Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute
The Brooklyn Nets (39-32) enter their game on March 21, 2023 as a 2.5-point underdog against the Cleveland Cavaliers (45-28). A point total of 219.5 has been s
Odds are against the San Antonio Spurs (19-52), who are a 10-point underdog when they hit the court against the New Orleans Pelicans (34-37) on March 21, 2023.
The Los Angeles Clippers (38-34) are 7.5-point favorites as they are set to play the Oklahoma City Thunder (35-36) on March 21, 2023. Clippers vs. Thunder Odds