The New York Knicks (26-25) and Atlanta Hawks (30-22) will meet up in an Eastern Conference affair on Friday night inside the Philips Arena in Atlanta.

New York Knicks at Atlanta Hawks 

The New York Knicks are 3.5-point road underdogs against the Atlanta Hawks on Friday night

New York has won eight of its last nine games and comes off a 108-86 blowout victory over the Orlando Magic as 1.5-point home underdogs on Wednesday night.  The Knicks are now above .500 for the first time since being 6-5 on Jan. 12, as they’ll enter Friday night with a 2.5-game lead on the Milwaukee Bucks for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.  Mike Woodson will return to Atlanta as the team’s interim head coach for the first time, as he served as a coach for the franchise from 2004-10.  New York is 2-2 ATS as a road underdog of 3.5 to 6 points.

The Knicks have been getting it done on the defensive end over the last nine games under Woodson, allowing just 86.0 points per game.  New York has also managed to capture three consecutive wins in this series, winning each contest by an average of 14.0 points per game.  It’s still important to note that the team is just 9-15 on the road, including a losing 7-8 mark versus Eastern Conference foes.  This swill also serve as the front end of a back-to-back situation, with the Knicks being 9-8 in that situation this year.

Atlanta has followed up a four-game win streak by dropping its last two games, including an embarrassing 99-77 defeat to the Chicago Bulls as four-point home underdogs on Wednesday night.  “We couldn’t get anything going,” commented Hawks forward Josh Smith, as the team was playing for the fifth time in six days.  He will need to be at his best in order to come out of this contest with a victory, averaging 21.7 points and 10.0 rebounds in his last three games against the Knicks inside tonight’s venue.  Atlanta is 2-2 ATS as a home favorite of 3.5 to 6 points this year.

The Hawks will be hosting the Knicks for the first time during the 2011-12 campaign, as they seek revenge from a 99-82 loss as seven-point road underdogs on Feb. 22.  Atlanta was outscored by a significant 60-35 margin in the opening half and was never able to recover.  Atlanta is 16-8 at home overall, including a 12-5 mark versus teams out of the East.

Bettors will likely back the Knicks due to their 7-1 ATS mark in Atlanta, while the Hawks are 2-7 ATS versus Atlantic division opponents.

Recommendation: New York Knicks +3.5

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