Houston Rockets (67-17 SU, 42-41-1 ATS) vs. Minnesota Timberwolves (47-37 SU, 38-43-3 ATS)
Time: Saturday, April 21st, 2018 7:30 PM EDT
Where: Target Center Minneapolis, MN
TV: ESPN / FSN / TSN
by Keith, Professional NBA Handicapper, Predictem
Odds Houston -240, Minnesota +200
Point Spread: Minnesota +5.5
Total Line: 214
The Minnesota Timberwolves will host the Houston Rockets for Game Three of the Western Conference Quarterfinals. The game is set to kick off at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota on Saturday, April 21st, 2018 at 9:00 PM ET. The contest will be aired on ESPN for national audiences. Additional broadcasting will be offered on both FSN and TSN. This series has been dominated by Clutch City. The Rockets have jumped out to a 2-0 lead in this series presently. Moreover, the Rockets have won the last eight meetings between both parties. Most recently, Houston defeated Minnesota in the Clutch City by a score of 102-82 in Game Two.
The Rockets continue to show why they are the best team in the NBA. After being threatened on their court in Game One by a spunky Minnesota Timberwolves, the Rockets shut the door in Game Two with a dominant performance. The result of this is bound to shatter the confidence of the eight seed in this contest as they are looking elimination in the face.
There are several key narratives that we are focusing on in this Game Three. First off, the Rockets are 31-10 SU outside of Houston. Minnesota is also a force at home as they are 30-11 SU in Minneapolis. At home, Minneapolis is a practical .500 proposition as they are 20-19 ATS in the Twin Cities. The Rockets are 24-17 ATS on the road.
Home court advantage is always a big part of basketball, especially in the playoffs. With the Timberwolves looking a 3-0 deficit in the face, this is what is called a true swing game. If Minnesota wants to have any shot of getting back into this series, they will need to get a win here. This sense of urgency and desperation makes this team a quality play in Game Three.
Given how the Rockets have performed in this series combined with their overall performance against the Timberwolves as of recent, the stock on this team is through the ceiling. The Rockets have shown why and how they are the superior team in this series. More importantly, this franchise has shown that they are a true threat to represent the West this year at the NBA Finals.
From what we have seen in the early going, there has been a lean on the Rockets by the fact we have seen this market rise by two points. 88% of the cash and 90% of the ticket action is on the Rockets to confirm this trend. In Over/Under markets, we have seen the figure rise by 1.5 points to reflect steam on the Over. 59% of the cash and 66% of the ticket action is on the Over in this market. 75% of the consensus also like the Timberwolves in Game Three from a forum perspective.
A great approach toward handicapping NBA Playoff games is the taking advantage of the narrative of the one seed versus the eight seed. As we have championed, takers will have to pay to back the top seed especially when they enter into the fixture in, especially good form. This scenario is only enhanced more when you toss in the fact Houston enters with a 2-0 lead and a dominant performance to bolster their credibility. However, what this creates is a propensity for an overlay and likely overreaction from the general public. We will go ahead and take the points here. It may not even be previous to book the Timberwolves outright on the Money Line in this contest under most circumstances.
KEITHs PICK: Minnesota +5.5
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