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Knicks’ big surge hasn’t made a believer out of oddsmakers

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While opposing coaches are going gaga over these Knicks, the bookmakers have been slow to embrace Tom Thibodeau’s rolling juggernaut — winners of a league-high nine straight games.

According to Covers.com, a betting analysis website, the Knicks have covered the point spread the last 11 contests. However, in four of the last six wins, they’ve gone in as betting underdogs in the point spread.

One case in point came Saturday vs. Toronto.

While the Knicks weren’t underdogs, they were only favored by 1.5 points against the Raptors in a consensus spread used by Covers.com. The Knicks had entered the match tied for fourth place in the Eastern Conference while Toronto was in 12th place – 7 ½ games behind them.

In addition, the game was at the Garden. Betting experts say bookmakers usually add three points to the home squad. The Knicks won by 17 points.

According to Covers.com betting analyst Rohit Ponnaiya, two other abnormal spreads were apparent when the Knicks were underdogs in two recent games against New Orleans on April 14 and April 18.

The Knicks were underdogs on April 18 at plus-1.5 points despite being at home and having already beaten the Pelicans by 10 points in New Orleans four days before. The Knicks’ record was 30-27 record while the Pelicans were 25-31. 

The obvious explanation is the Knicks are still being taken lightly because they’ve been out of the playoffs seven straight seasons and didn’t make a major free-agent addition.

But Ponnaiya believes bookmakers are slow to adjust because the Knicks were also the worst team against the spread in 2019-20 and have seen a lot fluctuations even in this revelatory 34-27 season.

The Knicks had a five-game losing streak in early January and a 1-5 stretch at the end of January. They also had a 1-5 stretch before this historic winning streak began on April 9.

“I think that inconsistency has played a role in oddsmakers being convinced they aren’t the real deal,” Ponnaiya said.

However, the Knicks have beaten the odds all season — 14-7 against the spread as an underdog on the road. That could bode well for next weekend’s start of a six-game Western swing.

As for Monday’s home game vs. Phoenix in its first meeting with the resurgent Suns (42-17), Ponnaiya expects the Knicks to be betting underdogs.

Las Vegas vastly underestimated the Knicks entering training camp, setting an over-under for victories at 22 ½.

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