NBA Odds & Picks: 2 Best Bets for Saturday, Including Timberwolves vs. 76ers & Pelicans vs. Jazz
Photo credit: Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images. Pictured: Brandon Ingram
College football and basketball might get most of the public attention on Saturday, but a quality NBA slate is also on tap.
NBA Odds & Picks
T’Wolves at 76ers
Kenny Ducey: The Minnesota Timberwolves are feeling it. Over the last six games, they’re all the way in third when it comes to offensive efficiency and sixth in defense. After so much inconsistency on both ends of the floor, the talent is finally shining through for Minnesota, and this team may be vaulting into contender-ship.
Even with a fully-healthy Joel Embiid playing his full complement of minutes in a fully-healthy lineup, I’d still bet the Timberwolves at this number, probably all the way down to four points. After all, this has been one of the best defenses inside of 10 feet this year, allowing just 56.7% of shots to fall in that range.
The fact that there’s still so much uncertainty surrounding the Sixers’ health makes me that much more inclined to back Minnesota. Though this line would indicate there’s a strong chance Embiid plays, he’s still yet to be deemed available for this one, and Tobias Harris is questionable as well. Though the latter hasn’t played well, his absence would still force some lesser wings into heavy minutes in a potentially-tight matchup.
Pelicans at Jazz
Brandon Anderson: When you find something that works, sometimes you just gotta stick with it. I just wrote about Brandon Ingram’s assists in yesterday’s NBA props article and we got an easy winner there, so we’re going back to the well.
After all, this is literally the exact same matchup. It’s another one of those duplex matchups, and this one is on back-to-back nights and both in Utah. Rough break for the Pelicans. We’re not worried about winners and losers though — we just want four Brandon Ingram assists.
Ingram’s role appears to be shifting a bit in New Orleans as the Pelicans search for answers. He started the year as a big volume scorer, with at least 20 points in all six games to begin the year. Then he missed a few weeks injured, and his scoring has dropped since his return as Ingram takes a few less shots per game and focuses more on getting his teammates going.
So we’re playing Ingram’s assists, because this line remains too low. Ingram has gone over 3.5 assists in nine of his last 10 games, and now 12 of 14 for the season. And he just cleared this line with ease last night. Ingram had five assists against the Jazz, and he did that on 12 potential assists, well above his season average.
When you make 50 passes and have 12 potential assists, there’s a pretty good chance of at least four of them getting converted, even when your teammates aren’t that great and even in a tough road matchup against a great defense. As always, you just have to play the numbers here, and the numbers think this line should have moved to 4.5 assists long ago.
Our Props Tool projects Ingram at 5.2 dimes and ranks this over a healthy 10 out of 10. Let’s stick with what works. I’ll play the over to -140.