Week 9 of the 2020-21 NBA season wraps up Sunday, February 21, with eight games on the schedule, bringing plenty of interesting markets to choose from. I’ve prepared the best betting pick for the interconference showdown at Madison Square Garden in New York, so let’s take a closer look.
The Minnesota Timberwolves meet the New York Knicks for the first time this season, opening as slight 2.5-point road underdogs on BetMGM Sportsbook. The visitors are without D’Angelo Russell (knee) and Jarrett Culver (ankle), while the Knicks miss Mitchell Robinson (hand).
Minnesota owns the worst record in the NBA
The Minnesota Timberwolves (7-23; 14-15-1 ATS) are sitting bottom of the league after another disappointing defeat. They lost to Toronto 86-81 this past Friday despite leading by six points late in the fourth quarter, so the Timberwolves extended their losing streak to three games.
Karl-Anthony Towns posted a double-double of 19 points and 13 rebounds but couldn’t help his team to finish the job down the stretch. The T-Wolves made only 38.6% of their field goals and 23.7% of their triples while allowing 15 offensive rebounds to the Raptors.
Minnesota’s offensive woes continue, and the Timberwolves rank 28th in the NBA in both points scored per 100 possessions (106.1) and field goal percentage (43.9%). On the other side of the floor, the T-Wolves surrender 113.4 points per 100 possessions (22nd) on 47.3% shooting from the field (also 22nd).
New York is still in the playoff picture
The New York Knicks (14-16; 16-14 ATS) put an end to a three-game winning streak this past Wednesday, suffering a 107-89 defeat at the Orlando Magic as 3.5-point road favorites. They shot only 37.9% from the field and 25.9% from beyond the arc while handing out a paltry 16 assists.
Julius Randle led the way for the Knicks, accounting for 25 points and seven rebounds, while R.J. Barrett added 15 points and seven boards. Derrick Rose had an awful game and went 1-for-10 from the field, finishing with four points and six rebounds in 17 minutes off the bench.
The Knicks continue to lean on their defense, yielding 108.3 points per 100 possessions (3rd in the NBA) on 43.1% shooting from the field (1st) and 32.0% from beyond the 3-point line (also 1st). They score 108.2 points per 100 possessions (24th) while making 45.0% of their field goals (23rd) and 35.7% of their 3-pointers (20th).
- 1-4 ATS in the last five games overall
- 1-5 ATS in the last six games against the Atlantic Division
- 4-1 ATS in the last five games overall
- 6-3 ATS in the last nine home games as favorites
The Knicks should torture the Timberwolves on the defensive end, so I’m backing the hosts to win and cover. Minnesota could keep it close, as the Knicks are struggling offensively, too, but the hosts should tight things up down the stretch and grab a very important victory.
New York is the No. 7 seed in the East at the moment. The Knicks just have to win games like this one if they want to stay in the playoff picture.
Pick: Take New York -2.5 at -110
While the Timberwolves average 100.9 possessions per 48 minutes (9th in the league), the Knicks play at the slowest pace in the NBA, recording just 95.7 possessions per 48 minutes. Therefore, we shouldn’t expect to see a bunch of baskets in this one.
The Knicks will continue to work hard on the defensive end, while both these teams have some serious offensive issues. The under is 8-4 in New York’s last 12 games overall, and it is 5-2 in the previous seven matchups between the Knicks and Timberwolves.
Pick: Go under 215.0 points at -110