Pelicans-Timberwolves Betting Preview: Bet on Minnesota’s Extreme Home/Road Splits?
Photo credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Karl-Anthony Towns and Derrick Rose
NBA Betting: New Orleans Pelicans at Minnesota Timberwolves
- Spread: Wolves -1
- Over/Under: 235.5
- Time: 8 p.m. ET
- TV channel: ESPN
>> All odds as of noon ET. Download The Action Network App to get real-time NBA odds and track your bets
There are questions abound in this marquee matchup, especially since four key rotation players are questionable to suit up tonight.
Is there any value in the current number of Wolves -1? How will their new players fit in? Our analysts discuss.
Mears: How the New Wolves Fit In
This is a tough game to handicap early in the day, as there are four key rotation players questionable to play. Also, the two new Wolves guys will make their debuts.
- Pelicans PG Elfrid Payton is questionable
- Pelicans PF Nikola Mirotic is questionable
- Wolves PG Jeff Teague is questionable
- Wolves SG Andrew Wiggins is questionable
- Wolves SF Robert Covington will make debut after trade
- Wolves PF Dario Saric will make debut after trade
If all of those guys play, our NBA power ratings would peg this at about a pick’em or perhaps Pelicans -1. The line opened at Wolves -1.5 and has since moved to -1. We’ll see who suits up and who doesn’t.
The most intriguing part of this game is seeing how the new guys fit in with this squad. It’s unlikely they’ll play big minutes right away, but they should help this team moving forward this year.
Covington will provide a decent facsimile of what Jimmy Butler provided. Cov is an excellent team defender and is a threat from outside. The real question is Saric, who seems like an ideal fit next to Karl-Anthony Towns despite really struggling in Philly this year.
Saric is hitting just 30% of his 3-pointers (he’s a career 35.1% shooter from beyond the arc), but he’s still hoisting them, posting a career-high 53.0% three-point rate. The Wolves have not had a modern offensive profile under head coach Tom Thibodeau, and they currently sit 25th and 24th in frequency of shots at the rim and 3-point line, respectively.
Part of that is because Wiggins and Butler weren’t 3-point gunners, and Thibs insisted on playing KAT with a non-shooting big in Taj Gibson. Even with Saric’s awful shooting this year, the 76ers did make 4.3% more 3-pointers with him on the floor. Spacing at that four position is so crucial in today’s NBA.
If Mirotic, a super important piece for the Pels, plays, I think there’s value on New Orleans as a short road dog. But in general, I think the Wolves may not take a huge hit this season sans Butler, especially if Covington and Saric help space and modernize the offense more than it was before the trade. — Bryan Mears
Betting Trends to Know
On Monday night in Minnesota, the Timberwolves finally broke a five-game losing streak against the Nets. The Wolves shot 52.5% from the field, their second-best shooting performance of the season.
As coach of the Timberwolves, Thibodeau has a bad track record against-the-spread after his team plays an efficient offensive game, going 14-30 ATS (31.8%), losing bettors 17 units. Of the 38 different head coaches to be a part of this trend, Thibodeau is the least profitable, losing more than 4.0 units than the next closest coach, Nate McMillan.
An added layer: The Wolves not only shot 52.5% from the field against the Nets but also 43.5% from 3-point range. Under Thibs, Minnesota is 5-19 ATS (20.8%) the game after shooting above 50% from the field and above 40% from 3. They are 2-12 ATS in their last 14 games in this spot, failing to cover the spread by 3.5 PPG. — Evan Abrams
Minnesota has some strong home/road splits to start the season. The Timberwolves are 5-1 straight-up and 4-2 ATS when playing at home but 0-8 and 2-6 ATS on the road. The Wolves are playing the second of a five-game home stand on Wednesday. — John Ewing
Editor’s note: The opinions on this game are from the individual writers and are based on their research, analysis and perspective. They are independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.