Welcome to the Friday, Feb. 22 edition of the NBA Best Bets column. Here, I’ll strive to identify one NBA bet for tonight I feel has profit potential at DraftKings Sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook, 888 Sportsbook, and BetStars Sportsbook.
Depending on the circumstance, I’ll hone in on moneylines, point spreads, or projected totals. Sometimes I may even touch on multiple metrics. Then, I’ll take you on a fairly deep dive as to why.
Please note we’ll be referencing only legal, regulated sportsbook betting odds and totals here at PlayPicks. A “pick” is a wager that, as of the time of this writing, we feel confident recommending. A “lean” is a wager we favor over the other side. This play could end up on our card with the release of additional information.
Season to Date:
ATS Leans/Picks: 42-31-1 (.575)
Moneyline: 25-8 (.758)
Over/Under: 15-10-1 (.600)
2/22/19 NBA Betting Pick:
Minnesota Timberwolves (27-30) vs. New York Knicks (11-47)
PointsBet Sportsbook Odds: Timberwolves -6
Over/Under Total: 220.0
The Knicks and Timberwolves come into their Friday interconference matchup very well rested after last having taken the court eight and nine days ago, respectively. For New York, that time off also served the purpose of allowing recent trade acquisitions Dennis Smith, Jr. and DeAndre Jordan valuable classroom and practice time with their new teammates. The pair of former Mavericks have the ability to offer a much-needed infusion of offense in the Big Apple, and the chance to finally pause and absorb coach David Fizdale’s system likely will lead to positive on-court results.
Then, the All-Star break also allowed one of the Knicks’ injured assets to get to the precipice of a return to the court. Emmanuel Mudiay, who’d been enjoying a career season before succumbing to a shoulder strain on Jan. 23, was able to practice in the latter portion of the week and could well suit up Friday. While it remains to be seen how the minutes will be split at point guard now that Smith is in town, a return by the Mudiay would naturally serve as a boost to the Knicks’ offensive firepower as well, considering he was averaging a solid 14.7 points per contest on 45.3 percent shooting before getting hurt.
On the other side of the ball, the Knicks have been one of the more generous teams in the NBA on their home court of Madison Square Garden. Despite some improvement prior to the All-Star break, New York still checks in yielding the sixth-most points per game (113.3) of any team on its home floor. Naturally, that number is largely the byproduct of the Knicks doing a poor job defending opposing shooters. New York is allowing 47.1 percent of shot attempts against them to find the net at MSG, the fifth-highest figure in the NBA. That includes the fourth-highest success rate from three-point range (36.0) as well.
The Knicks’ track record of getting into some high-scoring affairs when playing Western Conference teams is worth noting as well. Of New York’s 17 interconference tilts, 12 of them have exceeded Friday’s 220-point projected total. And two of the five that haven’t have come versus the Memphis Grizzlies, currently the lowest-scoring squad in the NBA. Incidentally, this trend is largely mirrored by the Timberwolves. Of Minnesota’s 18 contests versus Eastern Conference foes, nine have exceeded Friday’s projected total, including their last two road interconference matchups.
The T-Wolves have trended toward higher-scoring games this season due to a combination of their collection of accomplished scorers and often suspect defense. This was particularly true heading into the All-Star break. Minnesota’s last four games prior to the extended layoff — two of which came on the road — went well over Friday’s projected total. While not as prolific as on their Target Center home floor, the T-Wolves are averaging a solid 109.8 points per road contest. And they averaged an impressive 122.7 per contest over the last three before the ASB.
But on the flip side, Minnesota’s defense has been particularly exploitable when traveling. The T-Wolves allow a hefty 114.7 points per road game, just under six points per game more than the 108.8 they’ve yielded at home. Minnesota also yields a 47.6 percent success rate in their away games, including the second-highest road three-point percentage (38.0). And, the T-Wolves scored and/or allowed at least 116 points in 10 of their 14 games before the All-Star break.
UPDATE: News broke late Friday morning that Karl-Anthony Towns is now questionable for Friday’s game after being involved in a car accident Thursday. His potential absence naturally affects the chances of the game exceeding its projected total, and that contingency is acknowledged below in the “Pick” section.
By The Numbers
The Over is 29-26-2 (52.7 percent) in the Timberwolves’ games this season. That includes a 14-14 (50.0 percent) mark in the Timberwolves’ road games. The Over is also 12-6 (66.7 percent) in Minnesota’s 18 non-conference games.
The Over is 10-7 (58.8 percent) in the Knicks’ 17 non-conference games.
The Final Word
The Knicks admittedly haven’t been very good about doing their part to push games over their projected totals. However, this is a team that will naturally be very well rested and that should have had plenty of time during the extended layoff to incorporate new pieces Smith and Jordan into their system. Plus, the potential return of Mudiay on Friday can only help New York’s offensive cause. Then, the Timberwolves have proven their ability to both score and give up plenty of points. With the total not being overly high, I’m taking a run at the over in this contest.
The Pick: (If Towns is active and without a minutes limit): Over 220.0
The Pick: (If Towns is out of the lineup or announced as having restrictions): Under 220.0