First to 15 NBA Odds & Picks: How to Bet Timberwolves vs. Suns (March 29)

First to 15 NBA Odds & Picks: How to Bet Timberwolves vs. Suns (March 29) article feature image

Stephen Maturen/Getty Images. Pictured: Anthony Edwards #1 of the Minnesota Timberwolves greets former teammate Josh Okogie #2 of the Phoenix Suns.

There are so many ways to bet an NBA game, but for those bettors who can't bear to sweat the full 48 minutes, there are other markets that offer more instant satisfaction. One of those markets is the Race to 15 Points. It's as simple as the name suggests: The first team to hit 15 points cashes the bet.

Tonight we're focused on one game: Timberwolves vs. Suns. Here's a look at the best first to 15 pick for Wednesday's slate.

Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Phoenix Suns

First to 15 OddsTimberwolves: +110 | Suns: -140
Time | TV10 p.m. ET | ESPN

All the focus in this game is on Kevin Durant's return to the court. There's no debate that his impact will be huge for the Suns — he fits seamlessly with this team on offense — but I don't think we'll see that impact immediately as far as the Race to 15 market goes.

The Timberwolves have actually been the hotter team over their past 10 games, winning the Race to 15 in eight of those matchups. They are averaging 32.5 points in the first quarter over that span (third-most) and have the fifth-highest point differential (+3.7). This season, the Wolves have reached 15 points at the sixth-fastest rate (6:01) and rank 10th in first quarter Pace. They are one of the elite teams in this market.

So why are the Wolves dogs here? It would appear the books expect the Suns with Durant to dominate simply because he's in the lineup. The recent and season long data don't support that, though. Over those same 10 games, the Suns are 5-5 in the Race to 15 standings, 12th in first quarter points (29.7) and tied for seventh in first quarter point differential (+1.4). And for the season, the Suns have been a slower team in the first quarter in terms of Pace (99.97) and average time to 15 points (6:41), both marks rank 25th in the NBA.

There's also the matchup. In the three games the Suns played with Durant, he played more of a decoy early on, which allowed Devin Booker, and Deandre Ayton to get better looks. But none of those teams have a center who can defend like Rudy Gobert. He can't stop all five players on his own, but he can help neutralize the multiple threats the Suns can throw out.

I think the Suns are overvalued in this spot, so I'm taking the plus-money odds on the Wolves.

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Doug Ziefel
Jun 23, 2024 UTC