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Bookmakers Cut Knicks’ Odds Following Hot Start

Raymond Felton, Carmelo Anthony and (possibly) those retro-look jersey haves the Knicks off to a fast start, something that hasn't passed bookmakers by.

The New York Knicks’ fast start to the season has seen oddsmakers reevaluate the team’s chances of winning the NBA title to the tune of 24 points.

Entering the season, the Knicks were considered 40/1 to lift the Larry O’Brien trophy come June. Now, following a 7-1 start to the season, the team’s odds of achieving that feat have been slashed to 16/1.

Such a bump in odds is somewhat understandable when you consider that the team is off to its best start since 1993-94, a season that saw the Knicks reach the NBA Finals, falling in seven games to Hakeem Olajuwan and the Houston Rockets.

Carmelo Anthony seems to have taken responsibility for putting the team on his shoulders, an action he has been guilty of shirking at other points in his New York career. The forward is leading the team in scoring with 23.6 points per game and a close second (to Tyson Chandler) in rebounds at 7.6 per game.

J.R. Smith, in his second season in the Big Apple, has been a revelation off the bench, scoring 16.3 points per game – second only to Anthony – and grabbing 5.4 boards each outing. It’s far too early to be considering the Sixth Man of the Year Award, but as it stands, Smith is up there with Jamal Crawford (L.A. Clippers) at this moment in time.

Meanwhile, the backcourt combo of Raymond Felton, Jason Kidd and Ronnie Brewer seems to be working a treat. Felton is averaging 15.5 points and 6.5 assists to lead the backcourt, while Kidd is shooting .520 from behind the three-point arc, and contributing strong minutes.

Veterans Rasheed Wallace, Kurt Thomas and Marcus Camby have all chipped in where needed (between eight and 12 minutes per game) while Steve Novak, one of the few bright spots in the Knicks’ lineup last season, has simply done what is asked of him.

Defensively New York has troubled most it has faced, keeping opponents to an average of 90 points per game, which tops the league. Only two sides (San Antonio and Memphis) have managed to breach the century mark against the Knicks so far this season. At the other end of the floor the team is averaging 100.5 points per game, good enough for sixth in the league.

And all of this without Amar’e Stoudemire. The oft-sidelined forward remains out following knee surgery.

Of course, eight games is a small sample frame to be making any assumptions, and the Knicks will be well aware that those championship odds can skyrocket as fast as they can fall. Just ask the hapless Washington Wizards, who have seen their unlikely championship odds rise from 250/1 (bad) to 500/1 (really bad) in three short weeks.

Whilst much of the attention has focused on the Knicks’ impressive start to the season, Miami – the defending champion – has also seen its stock rise. Favorites entering the season, odds of the Heat winning a second consecutive title have shortened from 9/4 to 19/10.

At 19/10, Miami is the overwhelming frontrunner in the eyes of bookmakers, a combined result of the star power and potential on the side, as well as the poor start to the season of closest rivals, the Los Angeles Lakers. Laker odds have stumbled from 11/4 to 4/1 in the wake of a 0-4 start.

Other teams celebrating shortening odds (at the top end of the table) include the Los Angeles Clippers (from 25/1 to 10/1) and Memphis Grizzlies (from 35/1 to 18/1).

New York travels to New Orleans tonight. The Knicks are favorites (-6.5) with the over/under at 187.


Note: All odds are provided by Bovada. Preseason odds were taken on October 30. Most recent odds from November 20.

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