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NBA Betting Odds & Picks: Our 2 Best Bets for Cavaliers vs. Nets, Clippers vs. Timberwolves (April 12)

NBA Betting Odds & Picks: Our 2 Best Bets for Cavaliers vs. Nets, Clippers vs. Timberwolves (April 12) article feature image
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Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Reggie Jackson (front) and Paul George of the L.A. Clippers.

  • Looking for an angle in Tuesday's pair of NBA Play-In games? We've got you covered.
  • Our NBA experts are aligned on one team's spread and moneyline plus a player prop for tonight's games.
  • Check out their best bets below.

The NBA Play-In Tournament begins tonight with two spots in the NBA Playoffs up for grabs for four teams.

In the early matchup, the Cleveland Cavaliers and Brooklyn Nets will square off for the No. 7 seed in the East and potential matchup with the Boston Celtics in the playoffs. In the late game, the Los Angeles Clippers and Minnesota Timberwolves will go head-to-head for the No. 7 seed in the West and a playoff matchup against the Memphis Grizzlies.

Three of our NBA experts are giving their in-depth analysis for tonight’s matchup, including why there’s value on of these underdogs.

NBA Odds & Picks

Click on a game to skip ahead
Cavaliers vs. Nets Prop
7 p.m. ET
Clippers vs. Timberwolves Spread & Moneyline
9:30 p.m. ET
Clippers vs. Timberwolves Spread & Moneyline
9:30 p.m. ET

Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Brooklyn Nets

Pick
Bruce Brown Over 13.5 Points
Book
DraftKings
Tipoff
7 p.m. ET
TV
TNT

Brandon Anderson: The Brooklyn Nets are all about Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving these days, but Bruce Brown has established himself as the third-best Nets player and found his minutes tethered to Durant’s. He does all the dirty work for this team, and with minutes up and so much attention on the two superstars, he tends to find easy buckets along the way.

Since Durant returned on March 3, Brown has averaged 15.1 PPG for these new-look Nets, going over this line in 12 of 18 games (67%). That includes 18 points against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday and 21 points in Game 82 on Sunday.

I like him to go over this line tonight in a crucial home game for the Net.

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Los Angeles Clippers vs. Minnesota Timberwolves

Pick
Clippers +3.5 & ML
Book
BetMGM
Tipoff
9:30 p.m. ET
TV
TNT

Raheem Palmer: The Los Angeles Clippers and the Minnesota Timberwolves have been two of the hottest teams in the league, and they’ll compete in the Play-in Tournament No. 7 vs. No. 8 game on Tuesday night at Target Center.

For much of the season, the Clippers struggled to score efficiently, but over the past two weeks, they’re scoring 127.4 points per 100 possessions in their non-garbage time minutes per Cleaning The Glass.

The Clippers rank second in 3-point percentage (38%), and they’ll be facing a Wolves team that allows the seventh-highest frequency of 3-point attempts. You can look at their recent games in March against the Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors where both teams torched the Wolves from behind the arc as an example of what we could see in this matchup.

The Wolves don’t have the best defensive shot profile, they have the fourth-worst location eFG% (54.7%) and rank 20th in frequency of field goal attempts allowed at the rim (34.1%). The last thing you want to do as a defense is to allow teams to get decent looks at the rim and from behind the arc.

The Timberwolves force turnovers at the the third-highest rate this season (15.5%), however the Clippers are one of the best teams in the league at protecting the ball, ranking seventh in Turnover Rate (12.8%). If the Clippers can take care of the ball, their offense should have no problems scoring in this matchup.

While the Clippers could have some issues with Karl-Anthony Towns, they’ve done a tremendous job defending him this year, holding him to just 15.3 points on 42.1% shooting along with 9.0 rebounds and 2.3 assists in their three matchups this season.

The Clippers also won the season series 3-1, winning all three games in which George played, while losing the Jan. 3 matchup in his absence. George put up 25.3 points, 8.3 rebounds and 6.0 assists in three of those games, and I expect that to continue here based on his recent play as he’s shooting 52.5% from behind the arc on 4.2 3-point makes per game.

While many of the betting models will put the Wolves as favorites in this game, I’m not sure they’re capturing what the Clippers are at this point in the season. George played just 31 games this year, and the Clippers as a whole have played just two games with George, Powell and Robert Covington, whom they also acquired at the trade deadline. The Clippers are stacked with wing talent who can shoot, defend and have experience in a postseason setting.

The Wolves are a great story, but they’re caught in a bad situation needing to win a Play-In Tournament game against a seasoned opponent to make the postseason given how great their season was. I’ll back the Clippers against the spread and on the moneyline.


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Los Angeles Clippers vs. Minnesota Timberwolves

Pick
Clippers +3.5 & ML
Book
BetMGM
Tipoff
9:30 p.m. ET
TV
TNT

Joe Dellera: The Clippers face the Timberwolves in the Western Conference Play-In Tournament and I think the wrong team is favored here.

The Timberwolves have been better on the season +2.6 Adjusted Net compared to +0.2 — nothing against the Timberwolves but Paul George played in just 31 games this season and they were 18-13.

Additionally, if we look at their recent form, the Clippers have destroyed teams and are 6-1 with a +18.4 point differential per 100 possessions over the last two weeks compared to 3-4 and -7.6, per Cleaning the Glass.

Is it a coincidence that this coincides with Paul George’s return? I don’t think so. A big factor here is the Clippers 3 point shooting, which is second best in the league on the season, 38.0%, but has been incredible over the last two weeks and the team is shooting 46.7% since George’s return.

He’s an underrated facilitator and his gravity is clearly having an impact while helping the team space the floor. This is problematic for the Wolves because they allow opponents to shoot 3s at the seventh-highest frequency in the league. In fact, the Clippers shoot about 2% better from 3 point range against the Wolves than their season average.

Another issue for the Wolves in this matchup is stylistic. The Wolves depend on turnovers to kickstart their offense and the Clippers are not a turnover prone team. Even if the Wolves try and blitz them defensively, they have so many wings that are capable ball handlers and secondary facilitators it is a tough ask.

Additionally, in the Postseason the Pace generally slows a touch, and if the Wolves are forced to play in the halfcourt, this is not to their strength, and it would allow the Clippers to utilize their length and versatility to their advantage.

On the season, the Clippers are 3-1 against the Timberwolves but the loss was without PG. I expect the Clippers to continue their hot play and secure their place as the 7 seed in the Western Conference.

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