Timberwolves-Raptors Betting Preview: Debating Tonight’s Over/Under
Photos from USAToday Sports. Pictured: Jimmy Butler and Kawhi Leonard
Betting odds: Minnesota Timberwolves at Toronto Raptors
- Spread: Raptors -8
- Over/Under: 228.5
- Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
- TV channel: FSN
>> All odds as of noon ET. Download The Action Network App to get real-time NBA odds and track your bets
After looking to be franchise mainstays for years, Jimmy Butler is now in the Western Conference, and Kawhi Leonard is now in the East. The NBA comes at you fast.
They’ll likely match up against each other tonight, so who has the edge? Can the Wolves cover against a great team on the road? Our analysts are here to discuss.
Moore: Why I Like the Over
I don’t want any part of the Wolves against the spread right now. There are just too many unstable factors. They don’t look particularly good. The numbers are solid for them, but in every game it seemed as if they were one run away from a complete collapse … then managed to pull themselves away from the flames.
Toronto, meanwhile, is so good that it’s hard to find a line for the Raptors in any capacity. Leonard should be able to do more work than the average joe vs. Butler, and the long, athletic Raptors frontcourt should bother Karl-Anthony Towns. The big advantage is at point guard with Kyle Lowry playing like a little fireball from Mario’s hands, just tearing through all the Koopas on the court.
If there’s one alarming stat here, it’s this: The Raptors have started out sluggishly in transition defense, allowing the eighth-most transition points per game, via Synergy Sports. The Wolves are second in transition offense. Keep an eye on the over. — Matt Moore
Locky: Why I Like the Under
With Toronto’s current form, overall health and general home-court dominance, I am not really looking to play against the Raptors in this spot. Throw in Minnesota’s ongoing dysfunction, and despite the Timberwolves’ win over Indiana on Monday night, I’m still not confident enough to bet them at this number.
The total, however, is interesting. Despite Andrew Wiggins being questionable, 226 is now available, and I think this number is too high.
The Raptors have gone over in all their games, and the Timberwolves flew over their first three before a more ‘traditional’ defensive Tom Thibodeau performance against Indiana. Knowing Thibodeau, if there’s one point of emphasis game to game since last week, it’s been to improve defensively.
For guys such as Butler who missed the preseason, team defense could be a challenge out of the gate because he and his teammates aren’t as used to playing together in the short term. It takes time. I think their numbers improve, perhaps starting tonight.
This number is the highest posted total for a Raptors game all season, and with the best scorers on each team being guarded by an All-Defense-caliber player on the other side, I think this total going under is more likely than not. –– Ken Barkley
Mears: The Wolves Offense Is Trending Up This Season
I’ve consistently hammered Thibodeau for his archaic offenses. Last season, per Cleaning the Glass, the Timberwolves were dead last in 3-point rate and at the bottom of the league in both transition opportunities and frequency of shots at the rim.
But now I have to give some credit: At least early this season, the Wolves offense has looked more modern. The Timberwolves are close to average in frequency of shots at the rim and transition opportunities, and they’re not dead last anymore in 3-point rate.
Those are baby steps, and we’ll have to see if those trends continue in a positive direction, but if so it’s a good sign for the Wolves this season, especially if they can keep Butler. — Bryan Mears
Betting Trends to Know
The Wolves played at home on Monday night against the Pacers before turning right around on the road north of the border to face the Raptors. In Thibodeau’s career as a head coach, he is 85-70 SU (+15.8 units) when playing on the road immediately after a home game. There’s a catch, however … Thibs was 71-40 SU (+29.3 units) with the Bulls in this spot; he is just 14-30 SU (-13.5 units) with the Timberwolves.
The Wolves just beat the Pacers by 10 points at home. Under Thibodeau, Minnesota is 25-17-1 against the first-half spread after winning its previous game by double digits. That said, in that same spot with the Bulls, Thibs was only 56-68. — Evan Abrams
The over has hit in all four of the Raptors’ games. From 2005-2017, when the home team has had a perfect over record, the under has gone 107-81-2 (57%) in its next game. That said, this season the under in that spot is 4-15. The difference can be explained by overs hitting an unprecedented rate. — 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.