Pistons vs. Timberwolves NBA Odds & Picks: Back Underdog Detroit on Wednesday Against Minnesota
Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Blake Griffin.
- The Minnesota Timberwolves take on the Detroit Pistons in Wednesday's NBA opener for both teams.
- These franchises, who were two of the worst in the league last season, are hoping to turn things around.
- Brandon Anderson delivers his insight and explains why he likes Detroit as a live moneyline underdog below.
Pistons vs. Timberwolves Odds
|Pistons Odds||+4.5 [BET NOW]|
|Timberwolves Odds||-4.5 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||-190 /+155 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||224.5 [BET NOW]|
|Time||8 p.m. ET|
|TV||NBA League Pass|
It’s been a long time since we’ve seen either of these teams play a real NBA game. The Pistons and Timberwolves were both among the so-called Delete Eight, not making it to the NBA bubble. We haven’t seen either team since March, and both looked very different when we last saw them.
Detroit will likely start five players who did not suit up its last time out. Blake Griffin is back after a lost season, and the other four likely starters were not on the roster a couple months ago. Detroit added three first-round picks and splashed big on free agency, so this is a new-look team.
Minnesota made their big moves last spring but never really had a chance to see that team play ball. Karl-Anthony Towns had a lost year of his own, missing about half the season due to injury, while D’Angelo Russell and Malik Beasley joined the team too late to get more than a few weeks run.
Both of these teams will be eager to get a fresh start. But is the right team favored here?
Griffin had a miserable season last year, playing only 18 games and seeing his numbers plummet. He was really never healthy, but he’s now had the better part of a year and a half off and should be ready to go.
When we last saw Blake healthy, he was one of the best forwards in the NBA, adding a 3-pointer to his arsenal and handling the ball quite a bit. He was, and is, the feature player on this team.
The Pistons started rookie point guard Killian Hayes, Delon Wright, Jerami Grant and Mason Plumlee with Griffin in their preseason finale. Grant and Plumlee come over from the Nuggets as free agents on eye-popping contracts. They should add some defense to this team, while Plumlee and Griffin will be a very savvy passing big-man duo. Wright comes over from Dallas and is an excellent wing defender, while Hayes is a terrific team defender.
Detroit expects to be a dark-horse playoff contender this season, and all those defensive improvements with head coach Dwane Casey at the helm will be a big reason why.
Hayes is expected to start in his first NBA game, but this is not his professional debut. He’s been playing professionally in Europe for years and is very seasoned despite being just 19 years old. He’s a well-rounded player and will get a lot of help handling from Griffin and Plumlee.
Derrick Rose and Sekou Doumbouya should lead the way off the Pistons’ bench. Rose was one of the best sixth men in the league last year, proving to still be capable of big-scoring games and serving as an X-factor off the bench.
The Timberwolves’ roster is not so different from the end of last season, though draft night saw two big additions. Minnesota took former Georgia shooting guard Anthony Edwards with the first overall pick, and he’s had a rocky preseason. He will likely come off the bench in limited minutes as he gets his feet wet.
The Wolves also added Ricky Rubio in a draft night trade. Rubio will add some serious veteran experience to this team, as well as his terrific passing acumen and defense at the point of attack.
But Rubio isn’t going to get much defensive help on this team. The Wolves were very bad defensively last year, and their metrics were even worse with Towns on the court. Minnesota is still figuring its rotation out, but you can count on KAT, Russell and Beasley to lead the team in minutes and shots.
But all three players are very poor defenders.
Minnesota has no real obvious matchup for Griffin. The Wolves’ forward rotation is one of the weirdest and worst in the league. Juancho Hernangomez, Jarrett Culver, Jake Layman, Josh Okogie and Edwards should all rotate and see minutes, but it’s an odd group and could take awhile for Minnesota to find the right lineups.
The Wolves project to be one of the worst defensive teams in the NBA again, so they’ll have to win games on the other end. But this team still has a lot of kinks to work out. By the time Russell and Beasley joined the team, Towns was already sidelined for the rest of the year. That trio played only one game together last year. The Wolves are a work in progress.
There’s little we know about either of these teams other than both of them missed out on the bubble a year ago and both look likely to miss the playoffs again this season.
If healthy, Griffin should be the best player on the court, especially as Towns continues to try to find his groove again. Detroit has a huge advantage at forward, and Minnesota doesn’t have the continuity advantage it first appears despite all the Pistons’ new factory smell.
You never want to bet on a rookie point guard making his first start, but Hayes is a seasoned pro who will have a lot of help and won’t face much real ball pressure from Russell or Beasley. Opposing point guards had some of their best games against Minnesota last year, and the games down the stretch with Russell and Beasley were track meets with a ton of points.
I also like Detroit’s defense as the best unit on the court, and Rose should be a difference maker off the bench.
With so many unknowns here, this feels close to a toss-up. I think Detroit has the better shot at making the playoffs and, frankly, I just think Detroit is the better team.
So at +150 on the moneyline, I’m just putting a small bet on the team I think ought to be favored or at least even odds, and I’ll play that down to +135 or just take the points from there. But I’m not going wild on this one as we learn about these teams.
Honestly, it’ll just be good to see Blake and KAT back on a basketball court.
Pick: Pistons Moneyline +155