Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Boston Celtics Pick
Minnesota Timberwolves (17-20 SU, 19-18 ATS) vs. Boston Celtics (21-15 SU, 18-18 ATS)
When: Wednesday, January 2nd, 2019 – 8:00 PM ET
Where: TD Garden – Boston, MA
TV: ESPN / FSN
By: Keith Franks, NBA Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: MIN +6 / BOS -6
Power Rankings: Boston +7
Takeaways From Minnesota and Boston’s Most Recent Games
The Timberwolves last took the court on New Year’s Eve where bid farewell to 2018 with a loss to the New Orleans Pelicans in the Big Easy by a score of 123-114. The T-Wolves have lost two of their previous three outings overall and have produced a matching record against the spread when they failed to come in under the number as a 5.5-point underdog against the Pelicans.
Like their counterparts heading into this affair, the Celtics also were on the end of a defeat on New Year’s Eve when they were defeated 120-111 by the San Antonio Spurts in the Alamodome despite being favored by 1.5 points. Like Minnesota, Boston is also 1-2 SU and ATS in their previous three contests.
How the Public is Betting the Minnesota-Boston Game
Given Boston’s reputation for playing a superior level of basketball at home combined with their dominance in this series as of late, most of the betting public will likely fancy Boston here as the home favorite. In light of this, we have yet to see the line budge as a result.
The Celtics have had their way in this series as of late as they have won the last five meetings between both franchises. Most recently, the Celtics cruised to a 118-101 victory in the Twin Cities on December 1st as a two-point underdog.
Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving is listed as questionable for this game as he sustained a scratch to his cornea in Boston’s last game against San Antonio. Even if Irving were to play, the eye injury could have significant impacts on his excellent shooting ability. Should Irving be unavailable that will be a huge blow to Boston’s offensive operations as he averages 23.1 points per game.
Minnesota Are Making Solving Road Troubles A New Year’s Resolution
A central storyline surrounding this Minnesota basketball team is their well-documented troubles on the road as they are just 5-14 SU outside of Minneapolis. However, the T-Wolves have truly made playing better basketball on the road a new year’s resolution as they had won three consecutive road games before losing their most recent outing in New Orleans against a Pelicans team known for a strong home court presence and also a track record of infamy away from home. The Timberwolves produce middle of the road numbers offensively as they are ranked 13th in scoring (111.5 points per game) whilst being effective from the three-point line hitting a ninth-ranked 35.8% of their attempts.
Celtics Will Look To Get Their Defense Back On Track and Shoot A Few Threes Too…
The Celtics are a known as a team that loves to play physical defense. Despite giving up over 120 points in two of their last three games, the Celtics presently own the fifth-ranked scoring defense that gives up just 106 points per game. Boston remains a bunch that loves to stymie their opponents shooting operations as they allow the opposition to shoot just 44.4% from the field (4th in the NBA) and 33.6% from three-point land (3rd in the NBA). Offensively, the Celtics are seventh in the league in shooting three-pointers (36.2%) and have a favorable match-up against a Minnesota team that is the worst in defending against the trey as opponents hit 37.6% of their attempts from downtown.
There are several trends that sell the Celtics here in this scenario. First, the Celtics are 6-0 ATS in their previous six outings against Minnesota in Beantown. Moreover, Minnesota has not covered in their last five contests between the two sides.
Keith’s Pick to Cover the Spread: Minnesota +6
The price dictates the play here as there appears to be a significant edge in backing the T-Wolves with the points in this spot. According to early sportsbook sharp action, it is Boston not Minnesota that should be the underdog here but thanks to several narratives influencing this market, the line is subjecting bettors to what appears to be an overlay on the Celtics. The two chief narratives are Minnesota’s poor road record combined with their overall struggles against the Celtics in this series. However, both of those are primed to end in this affair. Given the fact that the Timberwolves were projected in power ratings to be favored here, they may be worth a split-bet with a half a unit on the Money Line (+210) and half with the points as there is tremendous value for the taking. Despite being ranked 22nd in the league with field goal efficiency (44.9%), Minnesota has been shooting well above this figure as of late, win or loss. Against New Orleans in a hostile environment, Minnesota went 43 for 93 and hit 46.2% of their attempts while doing so. In two of their last three road wins, The T-Wolves have shot above 49% against both Chicago and Oklahoma City. Minnesota has found their stroke in some notoriously unwelcoming environs and this will help them cash in here to end Boston’s supremacy in this series.
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