Timberwolves vs. Grizzlies NBA Betting Odds: Is There Value on Road Underdog?
Pictured: Rudy Gobert. (Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images)
- The Grizzlies host the Timberwolves in a rematch from last year's postseason.
- Minnesota has struggled early this season, but perhaps this is the matchup to get the Timberwolves back on track.
- Chris Baker previews the game and shares his best bet below.
Timberwolves vs. Grizzlies Odds
|Time||9:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.|
We’re getting our first regular season rendition of the T-Wolves and Grizzlies, who matched up in the first round of the playoffs last year.
The Rudy Gobert experiment has not worked out for the Timberwolves through their first 12 games. Normally I would advise caution against completely condemning the transaction after such a small sample size, but when you consider that the Timberwolves have played the easiest schedule of opposing teams, it is easy to see why fans are panicking.
Minnesota traded away five first-round picks and multiple talented young pieces and has yet to receive anything remotely close to success. They defense looks slightly better as Minnesota ranks seventh in points per 100 possessions. However, when you adjust for schedule strength, they rank 22nd in both offensive and defensive rating, per dunksandthrees.com.
Most recently, the Timberwolves suffered embarrassing blowout losses to the Knicks and Suns. This team has been a massive disappointment, but I actually think they may have a chance to get back on track here as they have been predictably elite at defending the rim.
Defending the rim, preventing offensive rebounds and transition defense are the three most important things you need to do to beat the Grizzlies, and the Timberwolves have done all three at a top-10 level when Gobert is in the lineup.
In the loss to the Suns, Minnesota allowed Phoenix to shoot just 29% of its shots at the rim (24th percentile). This team has tons of length when Gobert, Karl-Anthony Towns, Jaden McDaniels and Anthony Edwards are in the starting lineup together. I expect that group to be able to limit Ja Morant’s ability to assault the rim.
Minnesota also ranks eighth in transition rate allowed on defense, so it should be able to force Memphis to play in the half court. This is huge when playing Memphis as the Grizzlies offense drops from fifth to 11th when forced to play in the half court.
The final key for Minnesota will be its ability to block out as the Grizzlies are first in offensive rebound rate this season. This has been an area in which the Timberwolves have struggled this year, but I expect them to improve with Gobert back in the lineup.
The Grizzlies have been rolling, despite injuries to multiple starters from last year’s team. They are 8-4 and sitting in fifth place in the Western Conference.
Unsurprisingly, Ja Morant has continued to be electric as he has put up 28.8 PPG on 48/45/80 shooting splits through 12 games. His three-point shooting should frighten teams throughout the league as that was the last true “knock” on his game.
If he continues to shoot the ball from deep at an above 40% clip, then he will have a case for best point guard in the NBA. This has been reflected in the futures markets, as he has the fourth-best odds to take home the MVP award.
Morant should have no issues penetrating the paint in this matchup as he likely gets to go against D’angelo Russell, who has been a turnstile on defense for his entire career.
Desmond Bane has built off his breakout 2021-2022 season and is averaging 24.7 points on near 50/40/90 splits. He should be able to get going against a Minnesota defense that ranks 16th in three-point rate this season. Bane will be huge for Memphis in this one as I expect Morant will have issues getting to the rim with Gobert in the way. If Bane and the Grizzlies shooters can get hot and space the floor, it could be a long night for the Timberwolves.
I could see this game going either way, but I have to buy Timberwolves at their lowest point of the season.
Gobert poses unique challenges to Morant’s style of play and should be able to limit Steven Adams on the offensive glass. The Timberwolves should also be able to get up lots of threes against a Memphis defense that ranks 26th in three-point rate. The Minnesota bigs should also have some success at the rim as the Grizzlies defense ranks 17th in rim rate this season.
This is the low point for the Timberwolves, who are coming off multiple horrible losses and I think that we are getting value on a team that should be motivated going up against the team that eliminated them from playoff contention last year. I’d play this down to +5. At anything below +5, I would prefer to bite at the moneyline, which is playable down to +170.
Pick: Timberwolves +6.5 (-110)