NBA Best Bets Today | Expert Picks for Mavericks vs. Timberwolves Game 2 (Friday, May 24)

NBA Best Bets Today | Expert Picks for Mavericks vs. Timberwolves Game 2 (Friday, May 24) article feature image
Credit:

David Berding/Getty Images. Pictured: Minnesota’s Anthony Edwards.

The Western Conference Finals are heating up after the Dallas Mavericks walked into the Twin Cities as underdogs and stole Game 1 from the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Heading into Game 2, the Mavs are 'dogs once again — this time at +5.5. The Wolves are essentially in a must-win spot, needing a victory to avoid heading to Dallas in a 2-0 hole.

Our NBA writers came through with three best bets for Friday night's lone NBA Playoffs game, including two player props and a parlay.

Read on for all three best bets — and be sure to check back tomorrow for even more NBA Playoffs betting coverage.


NBA Best Bets Today

GameTime (ET)Pick
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Specific betting recommendations come from the sportsbook offering preferred odds as of writing. Always shop for the best price using our NBA Odds page, which automatically surfaces the best lines for every game.

Mavericks vs. Timberwolves

Friday, May 24
8:30 p.m. ET
TNT

Timberwolves 1H -3.5

By Bryan Fonseca

This is the bounce-back spot.

We outlined a trend indicating that the Mavs were the team to back in Game 1, and it worked. In the last 20 years, teams coming off a Game 7 against a team that didn't were 17-30-1 against the spread in the following Game 1.

Now, it's time for the Timberwolves to answer.

Luka Doncic has been in seven playoff series with the Mavs — this is his eighth — and the only time the Mavs have gone up 2-0 came in 2021 against the 4-seed Los Angeles Clippers.

As a 5-seed, their first two games in each series were on the road — in fact, Luka and the Mavs have only had home-court advantage entering a series once.

But the reason I'm going with the first half and not full game is that I don't fully trust Minnesota, as elite as that defense is. You mean to tell me Dallas shot 6-for-25 from 3 — making 12 fewer 3s — and still won?

But yes, Minnesota will land the first punch and be assertive before halftime. I may live-bet something else in the app from there, and I'd still lean Minnesota -4.5 for the game.

Pick: Timberwolves 1H -3.5

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Timberwolves 1Q -2

By Alex Hinton

This is a bet that interests me for a few reasons.

First, you have a Timberwolves team that lost Game 1 of the series on their home floor. Having already relinquished home-court advantage, the Timberwolves will be playing the role of a desperate team trying to avoid going down 0-2 before heading to Dallas.

The Timberwolves saw firsthand how much the Nuggets had to fight to get back in the series after losing the first two at home last round.

Then, head coach Chris Finch questioned his team's effort in the film study and again when interviewed yesterday. The team also felt that it come out flat. Well, Minnesota won the first quarter by six points on Wednesday despite a first-quarter onslaught from Kyrie Irving.

If a "flat" version of the Timberwolves could win the first quarter by six, I like our chances of winning the first quarter by two points when they should be highly motivated tonight.

Additionally, the Timberwolves have outscored opponents by 2.6 points in the first quarter this season. They might not get three first-quarter 3s from Jaden McDaniels tonight, but Anthony Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns combined for 35 points on 12-of-36 shooting from the field in Game 1.

I expect them to set the tone tonight.

Pick: Timberwolves 1Q -2


Karl-Anthony Towns Over 20.5 Points

By Joe Dellera

Game 2 is a bounce-back spot for the Timberwolves and Karl-Anthony Towns.

The Wolves’ offensive process was abysmal in Game 1 with the team taking over 50% of their shots from 3-point range. That's not what has gotten Minnesota to this point. The Wolves were baited into taking those 3s by a strong Dallas scheme that capitalized on their tired legs from their previous seven-game series.

I expect the process and game plan to be better in Game 2.

KAT had all of the volume in the world in Game 1 with 20 field-goal attempts and nine 3-point attempts — he simply couldn't convert, as he scored just 16 points with just six makes.

KAT has averaged 21.2 points per game this season, and even though the output is down in the playoffs, this is a better matchup for him. Plus, the 20 FGAs were the most he’s taken this entire postseason.

Conservatively, he should take 15 shots, which is his season average. When he takes 15 or more shots he has exceeded 20.5 points in 74% of games while averaging 25.2 PPG.

The volume is clearly there, and this is a great spot for KAT to put up a great performance against Dallas.

Pick: Karl-Anthony Towns Over 20.5 Points


Anthony Edwards Over 6.5 Assists

By Chris Baker

Edwards had 17 potential assists in Game, 1 and I suspect he'll continue to have plenty of opportunities to create for his teammates as the Mavericks continue to prioritize taking the rim away.

Last series, the Mavs loaded up on Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and dared the Thunder's shooters to beat them — a dare that paid off, as players like Lu Dort, Josh Giddey and Jalen Williams struggled to make 3s.

The Mavs basically ran back the same game plan in Game 1, as the Wolves had an insanely high 51% 3-point attempt rate. Dallas is daring Minnesota to beat it with the 3-ball, which means Edwards will continue to have plenty of opportunities to kick out to open teammates.

Additionally, the Mavs were at the level of the screen consistently, so Ant should have opportunities to hit Gobert for lobs and in the short roll. Take Edwards over 6.5 assists at +122 tonight.

Pick: Anthony Edwards Over 6.5 Assists (+122)


Under 207.5 + Timberwolves ML Parlay

By Matt Moore

We've seen sharp action in the Action Network app on both of these plays, which gives me assurance that the game script has value.

When teams that faced a Game 7 went on to lose Game 1 at home, the under has gone 10-4 in the next game since 2003. The under in conference finals games when the home team loses Game 1 is 10-5-1.

The under hit in both Wolves Game 2s this postseason, as that particular game has seen their strongest defensive performances.

The Wolves were sluggish in Game 1 after winning Game 7; that was a big part of my Game 1 and series cap on "Buckets." They all admitted their energy wasn't good.

If the Wolves are going to play with desperation, it'll start on the offensive end. Minnesota can lose the rope here; a lot of playoff trends haven't held up this year.

But ultimately, this feels like a game where Minnesota tweaks some of its rotations and effort and gets it back in the mud. It lost Game 1 on the offensive side, and some of the struggles the Mavericks created aren't going to go away with better effort from the Wolves.

I wouldn't mind playing both sides on the team total under here. But as it is, I'll parlay the Wolves ML in a must-win spot with the under.

Pick: Under 207.5 + Timberwolves ML Parlay (+145)

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