Chuck Vitolo’s UFC 267 betting guide

To be candid (as if I have any other choice here), my UFC betting guides and predictions have not gone well on this website so far in 2021.

First, there was the UFC 257 debacle that was headlined by Conor McGregor suffering his first career knockout loss against Dustin Poirier. Next, after a long layoff (for both her and I), UFC women’s bantamweight (featherweight?) Aspen Ladd laid up a monster egg for me on a play I really had confidence in. Well, we’ll have to charge those ones to the game, as they say.

My partner on this site, Daniel Cunningham, has been far more apt at picking winners so far in 2021 than I have even though he focuses very little on the gambling aspect of the UFC — figure that one out.

Nevertheless, I’m going to look to get my 2021 UFC gambling prediction success on par with my NFL 3-pack of picks I’ve released weekly and this is a fantastic card to get started with that. With back-to-back terrific cards on the horizon, there is plenty of opportunity for us to get back into the green and finish up this year strong.

(This week’s 3-pack is off to a hot start this week, below)

Let’s start with the main event.

My major issue when failing to consistently pick winners when it comes to UFC is that I become way too personally invested in certain fighters and tend to be biased with where I throw my units around. So, we’re going to do the same thing here, of course. My affinity for Glover Teixeira (32-7 MMA, 15-5 UFC) is no secret, but I truly feel the sharp money is, in fact, on the 42-year-old fan favorite.

I wrote about a potential path to victory in more detail earlier this week, but in short, the clearest path to victory for Teixeira here is to make this ugly and get things to the mat. From there, he should have a leg up on Jan Blachowicz (28-8 MMA, 11-5 UFC) in the grappling department. Blachowicz is no slouch there, to be sure, but Teixeira has shown a remarkable ability to control opponents on the mat as of late.

While the defending champion surely deserves to be the favorite here, Glover at +270 is just far too much value for me here as I look to make up some ground from our two prior disasters. In a display of how versatile he truly is, Teixeira has just about an even chance to win the fight via KO (+700), as he does both by submission (+750), or by points (+1000). Teixeira by decision is worth a sprinkle here, as there is a chance he’s able to clinch up and hold onto Blachowicz for a long period of time.

We’re gonna back him straight up, though.

The play: Glover Teixeira +270 for 2U

(Max bets are 5 units, all odds through Fanduel Sportsbook)

The rest of the UFC 267 card

This card is jam-packed with wall-to-wall action, as there is no shortages of opportunities to make some profit.

Off the prelims, I’m going to go ahead and parlay two favorites that I love, as my intent here is and will always be to focus more on underdogs for the average bettor to take advantage of and make a lot of a small investment. Andre Petroski (6-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC) (-235) and Amanda Ribas (10-2 MMA, 4-1 UFC) (-154) are both very solid plays in their own right, but when parlayed together we end up with +135 value. That’s too good to pass up as, in my mind, there is a better chance that they both win than there is of one of them losing.

Ribas dogged me back on that UFC 257 debacle, but we’ll back her here in a big-time get-right spot against Virna Jandiroba (17-2 MMA, 3-2 UFC) who is lacking legitimate UFC cache’ and wins.

The play: Andre Petroski (-235) / Amanda Ribas (-154) parlayed at +135 for 1.5U

Further up the card, we’re going to hop on an underdog that is in my favorite type of spot — one that is being massively undervalued due to public perception. Khamzat Chimaev (9-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC) no doubt deserves most of the hype he has gotten aftet setting the promotion on fire at Fight Island last summer, but, he has no business being a 5.5-to-1 favorite against an established UFC commodity such as Li ‘The Leech’ Jingliang (17-6 MMA, 9-4 UFC).

The Leech rightfully deserves the #11 ranking next to his name in one of the toughest divisions in the sport and should be much closer to a 50-50 bet here. While I wouldn’t touch him at a -110 number, this is far too much value (+410) to pass up. Also, there is no indication that Chimaev has made a full recovery from COVID-19 last year that blew up potential fights against Leon Edwards and supposedly almost derailed his entire career.

The play: Li Jingliang +410 for 1U

Next, while Dan Hooker (21-10 MMA, 11-6 UFC) is a favorite of mine to watch, and his number (+450) is certainly attractive, we’re going to stay away in a bad style matchup with Islam Makhachev (20-1 MMA, 9-1 UFC). That leave us with just one more bout, which is the co-main event in the bantamweight division before former (but rightful) 135-pound champion, Petr Yan (15-2 MMA, 7-1 UFC) and Cory Sandhagen (14-3 MMA, 7-2 UFC).

This fight will be an absolute treat for onlookers of the diehard, or the wet behind the ear variety. While Sandhagen always comes with a chance to finish the fight through a flashy strike, Yan has not shown that he is susceptible to even really be hurt yet, let alone finished. What he has shown is an ability to absolutely wear on fighters over the course of 15-25 minutes, which I expect to happen here.

With -230 straight up being a bit too heavy for my taste, we’ll play Yan by decision at +165 here to round out our card.

The play: Petr Yan by decision at +165 for 1U

Let’s get back in the green.

Official UFC 267 plays:

Glover Teixeira +270 for 2U to win 5.4U

Petr Yan by decision +165 for 1U to win 1.65U

Li Jingliang +410 for 1U to win 4.1U

Amanda Ribas -154 parlayed with Andre Petroski +135 for 1.5U to win 2U

2021 YTD: -7.2U

(All plays have a maximum of 5 units and all odds are through Fanduel Sportsbook)

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UFC 267 Preview: Jan Blachowicz – Glover Teixeira

Corey Anderson

Tomorrow night in the main event of UFC 267, the light heavyweight title is on the line. The Polish Power and defending champion Jan Blachowicz (28-8) will defend his title against the veteran Glover Teixeira (32-7).

Both of these men have similar stories that have led them to UFC 267. Just a few years ago, people would have likely laughed at you if you told them that these two would be headlining a UFC card for the light heavyweight title, but here we are.

Back in 2018, Glover Teixeira lost a decision to Corey Anderson. With the loss, he was just 2-3 in five fights and he was getting older. However, Glover wasn’t prepared to hang things up and he’s rattled off five consecutives wins to earn himself another shot at UFC gold.

Back in 2017 at UFC 210, Jan Blachowicz lost a fight to Patrick Cummins. That fight dropped him to 2-4 in six UFC fights. However, things all started to change when he took his career more serious.

The Polish Power went on a streak that saw him go 9-1 leading up to tomorrow night. The top two highlights were winning the UFC title against Dominick Reyes then defending against the previously unbeaten middleweight champion Israel Adesanya.

UFC 267 Prediction

I will be the first person to say that I’ve doubted Glover Teixeira virtually this entire winning streak. He’s proved me wrong every single time that I doubted him. Will UFC 267 go that route as well or will the magic finally run out for Glover.

The first two rounds are going to be incredibly dangerous for Teixeira. Blachowicz has ungodly power and we’ve seen Glover get hurt several times by other opponents. If the champion lands clean, he can easily put the lights out.

Glover Teixeira needs to close the distance quickly and try to tire the champion out tomorrow. If he can do that, he might be able to land some takedowns after the halfway point of the fight. If he gets a tired Blachowicz down, he can submit him in the later rounds.

However, I don’t think the UFC 267 main event is going to get there. I think that the champion is going to find a home for that famous Polish Power in the first round and the title will return to Poland tomorrow.

Prediction: Jan Blachowicz by KO – Round 1

UFC 267 Preview: Petr Yan – Cory Sandhagen

Tomorrow in the co-main event of UFC 267, we will see a battle for the interim bantamweight title. Former bantamweight champion Petr Yan (15-2) will try to regain some gold as he takes on “The Sandman” Cory Sandhagen (14-3).

This matchup came together after the champion, Aljamain Sterling (20-3), wasn’t cleared to compete following neck surgery. Yan lost the title to Sterling back at UFC 259 in an extremely controversial manner. The former champion was completely dominating the latter half of the fight.

However, an illegal knee caused the fight to end and Sterling won the UFC title by DQ. It was also the first UFC loss for Yan who had started out a perfect 7-0 inside the octagon on his way to capturing the title.

Cory Sandhagen would have likely had a title shot against Yan earlier this year had Yan not lost by DQ. He was the clear number one contender, but was forced to sit on the sidelines waiting his turn. The UFC decided to book Sandhagen against TJ Dillashaw.

Dillashaw won a razor close split decision, but suffered a knee injury due to a heel hook attempt by Sandhagen. With Dillashaw out and the fight having been razor close, the UFC opted for Sandhagen as Yan’s challenger.

UFC 267 Prediction

In Sandhagen’s last fight, I was incredibly impressed with how well he did on the feet. He was able to use his length to strike well from distance and even hurt TJ Dillashaw a couple of times. His range striking could come into play at UFC 267.

His ground skills are also something to watch out for tomorrow. However, it’s going to be incredibly tough stopping Petr Yan. Yan is the kind of fighter who gets better and better as the fight goes on. I’m expecting success early from Sandhagen until Yan figures things out.

If Yan can survive early, which I’m expecting, I think he’s going to really pour it on late at UFC 267. Yan won his first title on Fight Island and he’s going to win another tomorrow as I’m expecting him to flourish later in the fight and pick up a late stoppage.

Prediction: Petr Yan by TKO – Round 5

New York Giants: Logan Ryan addresses the hated MetLife Stadium turf

new york giants, logan ryan

The New York Giants and Jets play in one of the NFL’s more high-end stadiums.

After all, MetLife Stadium only opened in 2010 and cost $1.6 billion to build. That’s $1.9 billion based on 2020’s currency values. The stadium is set to host prestigious events well into the future such as the 2026 FIFA World Cup Final. With that being said, Giants safety Logan Ryan still has a problem with it: the turf.

The turf at MetLife Stadium became the subject of criticism last season after a string of injuries that affected both the home and visiting teams, but the turf is back in the news this year after the Giants have had it especially bad injury-wise.

Logan Ryan points out turf as injury factor

“We’ve really got to talk about these turf fields, man. It’s just not best for a player’s safety,” Ryan said to reporters on Thursday. “It’s taking guys earnings away, their earning ability away, when you miss a season because your ankle can’t get out of the turf or your knee can’t get out of the turf.”

The subject came up when Ryan was asked about his injured teammate, Jabrill Peppers. Peppers is out for the season after suffering a ruptured ACL and high ankle sprain while playing on that very turf as the Giants took on Carolina at home.

He’s not the only Giants player to go down in similar fashion this year. Blake Martinez suffered a torn ACL against the Falcons. Just like Peppers’ injury, it happened on the MetLife Stadium turf.

With that being said, it’s uncertain if anything will change. It’s not the first time the issue has come up, but it’s never resulted in progress towards getting a grass field at MetLife Stadium.

Maybe this season, as the Giants suffer from an abnormal amount of injuries, someone involved in management will take note of what Logan Ryan said.

Islanders News Roundup: Varlamov ready to return, Nashville outlook

Semyon Varlamov, New York Islanders

The New York Islanders have an extensive break to rest their bodies and prepare for the remainder of the 2022 season. However, they are still getting back a few players from injury, including goaltender Semien Varlamov.

Varlamov, whose injury designation is unknown, played in 36 games last year with the Islanders, allowing 72 goals on 120 shots against.

“I’m feeling great right now,” Varlamov said after practice, per the NY Post. “I’m ready, ready to go. Ready to play a game.”

Varlamov has a rather solid health history, so missing camp this year was quite a surprise for the veteran goalie.

“First time in my NHL career I missed the entire camp, it never happened to me before,” Varlamov said. “But things happen. Of course it wasn’t a perfect situation for me.”

Islanders head coach Barry Trotz indicated that Varlamov could play immediately, despite fears of being rusty.

“The starting point for Varly, no matter when you put him in, will be his starting point,” Trotz said. “He’s not gonna be any more rusty than he would be now. So he could go in in Nashville [on Saturday] or he could go in in Montreal [on Thursday] or we could wait until next week. We’ll make a decision on where he is with our goaltending coaches and myself tomorrow.”

Islanders head south to take on a tough Predators team:

The Islanders a preparing to take on the Nashville Predators on Saturday afternoon at 1:30 PM. The Predators sit at 3–4 on the season, winning their last two games against the Wild and Sharks.

Roman Josi leads the Nashville team with nine points, including three goals and six assists. For the Islanders, Oliver Wahlstrom and Matthew Barzal have a combined six goals but haven’t logged an assist. Josh Bailey leads in assists with three.

With the Islanders finishing the last two games on a strong note, scoring five goals and allowing zero, they should be in for a solid competition as they travel to Nashville.

Should the UFC really book Conor McGregor vs. Max Holloway rematch?

Yes, the UFC should undoubtedly book the Conor McGregor and Max Holloway rematch.

However, the operative word in that sentence is very much ‘should’, as there are far too many shaky variables currently at play to really ‘book’ this fight in good faith. That does not mean the UFC shouldn’t be stacking the deck in order to allow things to unfold in this manner though and have a ‘handshake agreement’ of sorts between the two tantalizing fighters.

Even though the two superstars were at similar points in their careers during the epic first bout all the way back in 2013, now, McGregor and Holloway are in totally different places. Most notably, McGregor seemingly can’t get out of his own way outside of the octagon as he has found himself fighting with UFC fans more often recently than against actual UFC fighters.

As popular as Conor McGregor (22-6 MMA, 10-4 UFC) is amongst UFC fans (and Dana White), though, that just might not even matter. As we’ve seen in the past, if there is a fight that Conor McGregor wants, he gets it, as the former ‘champ-champ’ could garner a million pay-per-views against just about any fighter on the UFC roster — let alone one as popular as Max Holloway (21-6 MMA, 17-6 UFC).

While I understand that it’s mainly annoying to UFC fans to have to hear about a new potential Conor McGregor matchup just about every other day, I’m here to tell you that this one actually makes a ton of sense. More importantly, Max Holloway has shown time and time again that he is not the difficult diva-type that many of his peers are when it comes to nailing down bouts with Dana White and the rest of the UFC brass.

Right now, there seems to be little left for Holloway to do inside the 145-pound featherweight division. Whether or not he’ll get an unprecedented third fight (after losing the first two) against current champion Alexander Volkanovski remains to be seen, but, this would be a hell of a consolation prize. Still just 29, Holloway surely has many great years left in the promotion, but the chance to make the type of money he would make in this fight will likely never materialize again.

For Pete’s sake, the two even share identical professional records at 22-6, overall.

The major obstacle that lurks between this dream matchup taking place is, of course, Conor McGregor’s health as he recovers from a nasty broken lower leg he suffered against Dustin Poirier this past July. The timeline for this proposed fight remains unclear, although Holloway suggested a March date on Twitter yesterday.

Make it make sense

Now, the seminal point to this entire argument: does it really make sense? Like, for all parties involved?

To me, it very much does. For starters, it has long been believed that Max Holloway would eventually make his way up to the 155-pound lightweight division. In fact, Holloway already fought for the 155-pound title back in 2019 at UFC 236 against Dustin Poirier for the interim championship. As entertaining as it was to see Holloway fight at a more comfortable weight for him, he ultimately lost that bout in a back-and-forth, but dominant, decision win for Poirier.

Conor McGregor made the choice to stop killing himself (quite literally) to get all the way down to 145 pounds all the way back in 2016, shortly after he won the unified 145-pound featherweight title (he never defended it). That decision worked out well for him for a time, and Holloway surely can look at it as a blueprint of sorts for himself.

McGregor’s punching power did follow him along to the heavier weight class which is always the concern of a fighter pondering moving up a division. Naturally, it is believed the McGregor and Holloway walk around at similar weights on a day-to-day basis. Holloway has been a consummate professional – just like McGregor was – at making that 145-pound limit, yet, it is easy to see the strain it puts on him each time he is forced to do so.

Moving up to 155 would open up all types of possibilities for Holloway, whom Tapology already ranks as a top-20 all-time MMA fighter at just 29-years-old. On the other hand, McGregor needs to find the right blend between a big name and someone who still is at the top of their game; this checks those boxes. Fans and the promotion, as a whole, will not be so inclined to see him rough up another Donald Cerrone-type fighter again.

If Conor McGregor truly wants to make one last run towards meaningful title contention, this is the fight that gives him the best chance to do so. While it is hard to imagine a world where giving a fighter championship consideration after losing two of their last three – which is what would be the case if McGregor were to beat Holloway – this would be a legitimate enough win to do so for ‘The Notorious’.

At the same time, a dominant win over a still in-his-prime McGregor would catapult Holloway right to the very top of what many believe to be the best division in all of MMA (not just the UFC). It would sell an obscene amount of pay-per-views, and would be a rematch that just about any fight fan would want to see.

Mark this one down as one of the rare Conor McGregor fight rumors that actually makes a boatload of sense.

BREAKING: Boxing match between Jake Paul and Tommy Fury official for December

jake paul

Showtime Boxing has officially booked a highly anticipated matchup that’s been rumored for weeks. Today in a press release, Showtime announced that Jake Paul (4-0) will be returning to the boxing ring in December and will be taking on Tommy Fury (7-0).

These two have been going back-and-forth for months and Showtime has been working on booking this matchup since early September. The boxing matchup will take place on December 18th and it’s scheduled for eight rounds.

These two were on the same card back in August. Jake Paul headlined the card against Tyron Woodley while Tommy Fury took on Anthony Taylor on the undercard. Both men picked up decision wins that night to remain undefeated.

Fury will be the first time that Jake Paul will be taking on a professional boxer. The younger brother of heavyweight champion Tyson Fury rose to fame after appearing on a reality TV show, but he’s getting more and more well-known for his boxing.

Fury has already been in three matchups in 2021 so he will be making the walk for the fourth time. There will be a lot of pressure on his shoulders and his brother Tyson has already said that the family will disown him if he loses to Jake Paul in boxing.

Jake Paul actually boxing a boxer

Jake Paul really started to take his boxing career serious this year. Yes, he had two professional fights before this year, but they were against an internet celebrity and a former NBA player. Paul started targeting MMA fighters to up his competition level.

He started out slow by taking on Ben Askren who is known for having horrific striking. Paul knocked him out in the first round back in April. Then, Paul took on the challenge of boxing former UFC champion Tyron Woodley.

Woodley was the first person to ever put Paul in trouble in the ring after hitting him clean a couple of times. However, Paul was more active throughout the fight and won a split decision. Now, Paul is going to be boxing someone in the same sport who is a bigger man and is undefeated.

New York Jets WR Corey Davis “trending” toward not playing on Sunday

jets, corey davis

Davis is a surprise entry to the New York Jets’ ever-expanding injury report and likely won’t play on Sunday against Cincinnati.

A gargantuan task for the New York Jets has somehow become even more of a chore.

Top receiver Corey Davis is set to miss this weekend’s contest against the Cincinnati Bengals with a hip flexor injury sustained in Thursday’s practice. Head coach Robert Saleh revealed the extent of Davis’ injury during his Friday availability.

“Corey, obviously, he showed up on that injury report yesterday. It’s not looking good. We’re still holding on for hope, but it’s trending in that direction,” Saleh said, per notes from the Jets. “We’ll see, it’s day-to-day. We’re still holding on for this Sunday, like I said, but we’ll see as it goes.”

Davis, working through his first year with the Jets, leads the team in nearly all major receiving categories after six games. The former Tennessee Titan has scored four of the five aerial touchdowns the Jets (1-5) have earned this season and has also earned 349 yards on 24 receptions.

With Davis potentially out for Sunday’s visit from Cincinnati (1 p.m. ET, CBS), Saleh hinted that Denzel Mims could finally earn an extended opportunity in the receiving rotation.

“(Davis) is a stud,” Saleh said. “But (the injury) gives Denzel Mims an opportunity to step into that Z role and along with the rotation that we have with Elijah (Moore) and Keelan Cole, so it gives guys opportunities to step up.”

While there’s a glimmer of hope that Davis could be available on Sunday, Saleh ruled rusher Tevin Coleman, linebacker Bryce Huff, and tight end Trevon Wesco out. Huff’s fellow linebacker Jarrad Davis, on the other hand, is set to make his New York debut after spending all of this season on injured reserve, though Saleh hinted he could be on a limited snap count.

“He hasn’t played in a while, so we got to be able to spell him,” Saleh said of the former Lion’s availability. “Quincy (Williams) is going to return from concussion protocol, so we feel good about that. So, we’ll be able to get him at least some reps in there to give JD a break.”

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

UFC 267 Preview: Dan Hooker – Islam Makhachev

Tomorrow on the main card of UFC 267 we will see a tremendous lightweight contest between Dan “The Hangman” Hooker (21-10) and Islam Makhachev (20-1). Hooker will be looking for his second win in just over a month while Makhachev will be going for his eighth straight win.

There haven’t been many lightweights as dominant as Islam Makhachev over the past few years. You can point to his coach and former UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov as the one person who’s been more dominant.

The dream for AKA and Eagles MMA was for Makhachev to take over for Khabib right after the former UFC lightweight champion retired and Makhachev just might be on his way. He’s 9-1 in the UFC and right now he looks like he could be one of if not the best in the world.

Standing in his way tomorrow is the tough Dan Hooker. Hooker went on a great run when he moved from featherweight to lightweight. That run led him to a fight with Dustin Poirier last year. In a war, Hooker fell short by decision. Afterwards, Hooker last by TKO to Michael Chandler.

Last month, Hooker took on Nasrat Haqparast at UFC 266 and was able to pick up the decision win. After Rafael Dos Anjos pulled out of this UFC 267 matchup with Makhachev, Hooker immediately stepped up for this massive opportunity.

UFC 267 Prediction

In his past few fights, we’ve seen Islam Makhachev show off some decent striking. However, make no mistake about it, he’s not going to try and strike with Dan Hooker at UFC 267. Tomorrow night is all going to come down to the takedown.

If Islam Makhachev can get Hooker down with ease, it’s going to be a long night for The Hangman. We’ve seen what that Dagestani pressure and wrestling can do to some of the best fighters in the world. Makhachev possesses all the skills to ground and control Hooker.

However, Hooker isn’t going to make it easy. The Hangman is a sniper from the outside and if Makhachev is sloppy, he could get put out with a clean shot. He’s not invincible and we’ve seen him get knocked out in his only loss in the UFC.

Personally, I see Hooker landing some good shots in the early part of all three rounds. However, I don’t think any shot is going to be enough to take Makhachev out. Ultimately, I think Makhachev is able to land enough takedowns and control Hooker enough to win a decision here.

Prediction: Islam Makhachev by Unanimous Decision

4 stats to show the New York Knicks are the ‘real deal’

knicks, kemba walker

The Knicks‘ loss to the Orlando Magic this past weekend looks like a stain on a rather impressive start to the 2021–22 season. Since falling to a young Orlando team, New York has bounced back to defeat the Philadelphia 76ers and undefeated Chicago Bulls on Thursday evening.

Against Chicago, the Knicks did their best to try and blow the game with three minutes left in the fourth quarter, failing to score a single point. However, elite defense by young shooting guard RJ Barrett was just enough to force an errant shot by DeMar DeRozan.

However, the Knicks showed resiliency, which is what good teams do in the face of adversity.

The Knicks are proving they are the real deal this season, despite only playing five games. Let’s take a look at a few early statistics that indicate their growth and success so far.

1.) 3-PT percentage

Head coach Tom Thibodeau made it a priority to increase the team’s three-point attempts this season, but he wanted clean looks at the basket and not poor shot selections.

So far, the Knicks rank 5th in three-point attempts per game, but 4th in efficiency at 38%. Against the Bulls, the Knicks shot 38% from range, but against the 76ers earlier this week, they shot 43%.

If the team can maintain that level of success, they will be an incredibly difficult unit to overcome, especially if their defense continues to improve.

2.) Blocks

Despite not having Nerlens Noel available up to this point, the Knicks still rank 4th in blocks per game with 6.8. The impact of Mitchell Robinson and Taj Gibson have proved to be significant in the team’s defensive success. Against the Bulls, the team combined for seven blocks, three coming from Gibson and two from Robinson.

Once they gain Noel back, we can expect that number to rise even more.

3.) Turnovers

One of the biggest knocks on the Knicks last season was there inconsistency with ball control and turning it over. The team currently ranks 7th in the NBA in turnovers per game at 13, making them an above average squad when it comes to protecting the ball and making good decisions.

Ultimately, those few opportunities they keep rather than give away results in points and more production for their playmakers. Any given position can change the momentum of the game, so the Knicks walking away as a top-10 team in resisting turnovers is a great sign of their progression early on in the year.

4.) Points

The front office made it a priority to bring in Evan Fournier and Kemba Walker this off-season, and that decision has led to the Knicks being the 3rd ranked team in overall points per game through five contests. Of course, that number will likely even out as the season progresses, but the team is showing they can outscore opponents, which covers up some defensive issues at times.

As stated before, if the Knicks can continue improving their defensive qualities and efficiency while maintaining up-tempo offense and production, they will be an incredibly tough team to beat.