The Cleveland Cavaliers and Minnesota Timberwolves will play their two-game regular-season series in the next two days with the opening clash at Target Center in Minneapolis on Sunday night. According to William Hill Sportsbook, the Cavs are 3-point road favorites in the opener, so let’s see what’s the best betting pick here.
The visitors can count on all their players besides Kevin Love (calf) and Matthew Dellavedova (back). The Timberwolves, on the other side, will miss Karl-Anthony Towns and Juancho Hernangomez due to the COVID-19 medical protocols, while both Jarrett Culver (ankle) and Naz Reid (wrist) are listed as questionable.
The Cavs fell apart at Madison Square Garden
The Cleveland Cavaliers (9-10; 10-9 ATS) have had some ups and downs over the last two weeks. They’ve outlasted the mighty Brooklyn Nets twice while suffering a couple of heavy losses at Boston and New York. Over their last six games, they’ve also beat Detroit and lost to the Lakers, so the Cavs are 3-3 SU and 4-2 ATS in that span.
Last Friday, the Cavaliers suffered a 102-81 defeat at Madison Square Garden, struggling to cope with the Knicks’ defense. They shot only 34.5% from the field while handing out a paltry 15 assists.
Collin Sexton leads the way for Cleveland with 24.6 points and 4.3 assists a night, but the Cavaliers score only 104.9 points per 100 possessions (29th in the NBA). They allow 109.4 points in a return (10th) while playing at the second-slowest pace in the league (97.2 possessions per 48 minutes).
The T-Wolves extended their skid to three games with a loss to Phila
The Minnesota Timberwolves (4-14; 7-11 ATS) continue to struggle mightily, coming off a 118-94 home loss to the Philadelphia 76ers last Friday. It was their third straight defeat and seventh in the last eight outings, while the Timberwolves went 2-7 SU and 4-5 ATS through their previous nine showings on the home court.
Minnesota didn’t stand a chance against the Sixers considering KAT and Naz Reid’s absence. The Timberwolves allowed Joel Embiid to score 37 points with 11 rebounds in just 27 minutes on the floor. Also, they posted only four offensive rebounds while surrendering 12 to the Sixers.
D’Angelo Russell (20.1 PPG, 5.4 APG) and Malik Beasley (20.0 PPG, 4.9 RPG) continue to lead the way for the shorthanded Timberwolves who have the worst offensive rating in the NBA. Minnesota scores only 104.4 points per 100 possessions while yielding 114.7 in a return (28th).
- 5-2 ATS in the last seven games overall
- 8-4 ATS in the last 12 games against Minnesota
- 1-5 ATS in the last six home games against Cleveland
- 1-4 ATS in the last five games overall
I expect the Cavaliers to dominate Minnesota in the paint on both sides of the ball. Andre Drummond (18.1 PPG, 14.7 RPG) and Jarrett Allen (12.3 PPG, 6.5 RPG) will be key players for the Cavs who also have to continue with a good defensive performance.
Cleveland lacks experience and could struggle with consistency. Still, they look like a much better team than KAT-less Timberwolves, so I’m backing the Cavs to win and cover.
Pick: Take Cleveland -3.0 at -110
The Timberwolves like to play at a fast pace, notching up 101.5 possessions per 48 minutes (7th). They will try to speed up things as much as they can, but I’m not sure that will have a great effect on the totals, considering how poorly both these teams execute offensively.
The Cavs will take things slowly, as usual, looking for easy baskets in the paint. Therefore, give me the under on the totals even though the over has hit in eight of the previous ten encounters between Cleveland and Minnesota.
Pick: Go under 220.5 points at -110