NBA Odds & Predictions: Our Staff’s Best Bets for Mavericks vs. Cavaliers and Timberwolves vs. Raptors (March 30)
Sarah Stier/Getty Images. Pictured: Minnesota Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns.
- The NBA season heads toward the conclusion of the regular season with 11 games on Wednesday.
- Our Action Network NBA analysts have three best bets, including two plays on Wolves-Raptors.
- Check out their analysis and picks below.
We have another busy evening on the NBA landscape Wednesday, with several intriguing matchups taking place via an 11-game slate.
Action Network analysts Brandon Anderson, Raheem Palmer and Joe Dellera have uncovered three best bets, including a prop play from the Dallas Mavericks vs. Cleveland Cavaliers.
They’ve also found a side/moneyline wager, along with another prop, from the showdown between the Minnesota Timberwolves and Toronto Raptors.
That said, let’s take a look where our crew has landed with their selections.
NBA Odds & Picks
Dallas Mavericks vs. Cleveland Cavaliers
Brandon Anderson: With Jarrett Allen sidelined indefinitely and Evan Mobley out with a sprained ankle, things are starting to look a bit bleak for the once promising Cleveland season. Don’t forget, Collin Sexton is out for the season and the team also lost Ricky Rubio for the year before trading him. Heck, Dean Wade just went on the IR and he had started over half his appearances as well.
The Cavs might not have much left to offer, but all those missing bodies means someone is going to have to step up and take on more minutes. And luckily for Cleveland, they happen to have a $31-million man ready for the job.
Kevin Love has quietly been pretty awesome. A guy many counted as one of the worst contracts and thought to be a malcontent on a bad team has instead been a model citizen and a low-key Sixth Man of the Year candidate. Love is averaging 13.6 points and 7.3 rebounds, with 2.4 3s a game on 39 percent. It doesn’t look like much, but he’s doing that in only 22 minutes per game.
While Allen and Darius Garland are first-time All-Stars, and Evan Mobley looks likely to win Rookie of the Year, Love actually has the best advanced metrics of anyone on the team.
And now with Allen and Mobley both out, the Cavs have no real choice but to give Love big minutes and a bigger role again over these final couple weeks or at least until Mobley is able to return. He already played 32 minutes last game off the bench when Mobley went down, and he’ll likely get to somewhere around that mark tonight. And when Love is on the court, he produces.
In 13 games with 28 or more minutes, Love is averaging 18.8 points, 9.3 rebounds, 3.1 assists, and 3.7 3s per game. His rebounding line is about right, but all the rest of his lines look in our favor according to the Props Tool, so the question is deciding on which over(s) to play.
The 3-pointers stand out most, so that’s my top play. In those high minute games, Love is taking 8.6 3-point attempts per game and hitting 3.7 of them. He’s gone over 2.5 makes in 10 of those 13 games with multiple 3s in all but one of them. We get that at plus money? Yes please.
I prefer that over the points because the line is better and we need the 3s to hit the points anyway. You can also play 4-plus treys at +310 at FanDuel for a small escalator. He’s done that in seven of these 13, over half of them.
The assists also look worth a play. Love has cleared 2.5 assists in 10 of these 13 high-minute games, hitting that 77% of the time, and again we are getting plus juice for our play. I’m not looking for an alternate over on the assists, but the base over looks good. Dallas has a tough defense, but actually rank bottom six against opposing power forwards, so I’m confident Love will produce.
You can decide how you want to play this. If you only want one, I’ll stick with the traditional 3s over. But you can play several angles if you like, or build a Same Game Parlay with Love overs since hitting one means more likely to hit the others, since it likely means his minutes are up.
Let’s just hope John Lennon was right. Tonight, all we need is Love.
Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Toronto Raptors
Raheem Palmer: The Toronto Raptors made easy work of the Minnesota Timberwolves with a 103-91 victory when these teams met back in February. Things could be a lot different this time around, though, with these franchises battling for playoff seeding as they look to stay out of the Play-In Tournament.
When they met last time, the Timberwolves were playing their third game in four nights after earning a 126-120 overtime victory over the Charlotte Hornets the night before. The Raptors came into the contest well rested and it’s no surprise they held the Wolves to just 91 points on 0.93 points per possession.
The Wolves shot just 39% from the field and 23.8% from behind the arc in a game where they held a lead going into the fourth before melting down in the last 12 minutes.
Nonetheless, I think the Wolves are the better team and my model reflects that as I make this game a Pick’em, which totally disagrees with the market that has the Raptors pegged as 2.5-point favorites. Outside of the Boston Celtics, Minnesota is the hottest team in the league since the All-Star break, going 12-5 with Net Rating of 9.2 behind an Offensive Rating of 120.4 and the Defensive Rating of 111.1 overall.
Although the Raptors have been in solid form recently, winning three games in a row against the Cavaliers, Pacers and a depleted Celtics team, which rested their starters, this is a huge step up in competition.
Karl-Anthony Towns should feast on a Raptors defense that’s 22nd in field-goal percentage at the rim (66.1%) and with the better offense, I’m not sure they can keep up. Toronto is just 27th in half-court points per 100 possession (91.2) and face a Minnesota defense that has the 10th-best Defensive Rating in the half court (93.6) this season.
In addition, the Raptors tend to generate much of their offense in transition where they’re sixth in points per 100 possessions (3.5) so far. The Wolves are top 10 in transition points per 100 possessions (2.4) as well.
Nevertheless, I like this spot for Minnesota, with both teams desperate to stay out of the Play-in Tournament. I’ll back the Wolves on the moneyline and getting +2.5 points.
Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Toronto Raptors
Joe Dellera: The Raptors and the Timberwolves face on in a game with major playoff implications. Toronto is trying to stay out of the Play-In tournament, while Minnesota is chasing Denver to get out of the Play-In situation.
This is a game where both teams should play their stars max minutes in a very competitive meeting. The Raptors are generally a pace-down spot for teams. However, the Timberwolves continue to play at a blistering pace, so this should even out in this meeting.
In the one game between these teams earlier this season, the game pace was at 98.50, which is the fifth-fastest pace of all teams to play the Raptors this season, per NBA Advanced Stats.
With a fast-paced and competitive game, I expect Karl-Anthony Towns to see tremendous usage. Currently, his assist line is set at over 2.5 assists at (-145) and 4+ assists at (+146) as of this writing. In the prior matchup, KAT recorded three assists. He averages 3.7 assists on the season, with 7.1 potential assists per game, per NBA Advanced Stats.
The 2.5 is a line he has cleared in 70% of games but, like I said, I expect this game to be close and competitive. He should see more time than his average of 33 minutes per game. Whenever he has played 33 minutes or more, he has cleared this line in 35 out of 41 games this season.
This information, coupled with the fact that Toronto gives up the 20th-most assists per game, makes me like this spot for Towns. If the juice is too much for you, I think 4+ assists is worth a sprinkle considering he has hit that threshold in 46% of games, but in contests with 33+ minutes that jumps to 56 percent.