Welcome to the Sunday, March 10 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: 48-35-1 (.578)
Moneyline: 26-9 (.750)
Over/Under: 18-13-1 (.581)
3/10/19 NBA Betting Pick:
New York Knicks (13-53) vs. Minnesota Timberwolves (31-35)
DraftKings Sportsbook Odds: Timberwolves -8 (o/u: 226)
FanDuel Sportsbook Odds: Timberwolves -8 (o/u: 226)
888 Sportsbook Odds: Timberwolves -8 (o/u: 226)
BetStars Sportsbook Odds: Timberwolves -7.5 (o/u: 225.5)
The Knicks and Timberwolves face off in a late-season tussle Sunday, and the health and energy levels of both teams could play a factor. Each squad took the court Saturday as well, although New York had the benefit of doing so in a rare Noon Saturday matinee. Meanwhile, Minnesota scored a hard-fought overtime win against the Wizards on Saturday night. Notably, Karl-Anthony Towns was forced from the contest late with what was termed a knee sprain and did not return. The iron man has only missed two other games this season, one of which came against this same Knicks squad, but he’d have to be considered questionable at best for Sunday night’s matchup.
New York has a less impactful injury of its own in the form of big man Noah Vonleh. The veteran missed Saturday’s game versus the Kings with a hip injury and is also considered a 50/50 proposition at best for Sunday. While not a prolific producer by any stretch, Vonleh has been a solid piece of the rotation this season, offering solid complementary contributions as both a scorer and rebounder. Most recently, he’d generated pair of double-doubles and three double-digit rebounding efforts overall in the past four contests.
The Knicks appeared to have made some progress offensively shortly after the trade with the Mavericks that netted them, among other pieces, Dennis Smith, Jr. and DeAndre Jordan. However, New York has actually seen a downturn on the scoreboard over the last pair of contests despite Jordan returning from an ankle injury. The Knicks have averaged just 95 points per game in losses to the Suns and Kings after having eclipsed 100 points in the six games prior, and in eight of their previous nine overall.
New York has struggled to score overall this season and average the fourth-fewest points of any team on the road (105.2). That’s largely the byproduct of an NBA-worst 42.8 road shooting percentage. The Knicks have scored more than 109 points in only six of their 33 non-overtime road games. What’s more, they’ve tallied no more than 108 in 10 straight road contests. And, New York is averaging a modest 101.4 points in the 11 non-overtime second games of back-to-back sets they’ve played this season.
The Timberwolves have been a reasonably potent offensive squad at home this season, scoring 115.0 points per contest at Target Center and shooting 46.3 percent. They’ve also been a much more effective defensive squad at home. Minnesota yields a respectable 109.7 points per home contest, compared to 116.9 on the road. They’ve allowed just 44.9 percent of shots against them to find the net at Target as well, compared to a 47.7 percent success rate yielded when traveling. However, the T-Wolves naturally lose a considerable amount of firepower if Towns were to sit. In addition to pacing the team in rebounds and blocks, Towns also leads Minnesota in scoring (24.5 points).
Finally, it’s worth noting that while the T-Wolves have been involved in plenty of games that have exceeded Sunday’s projected total recently, they’ve been against teams much more capable of doing their part to push up the score than the Knicks appear to be. Minnesota has seen Sunday’s projected total exceeded most recently in matchups versus the Wizards (twice, one OT), the Pistons, the Thunder, the Pacers, the Hawks (OT), the Bucks, the Rockets, the Clippers and the Pelicans, dating back to Feb. 8. All of those teams check in above the Knicks in scoring, the majority by a considerable margin. Furthermore, it’s worth noting that six of those 10 contests cited were on the road. Then, one of the remaining four, last night’s win against Washington, went to overtime.
By The Numbers
The Under is 35-31 (53.0 percent) in the Knicks’ games this season. That includes a 26-26 mark (50.0 percent) in games following a New York loss and an 8-4 tally (66.7 percent) in the second games of back-to-back sets.
The one prior game between the teams this season also featured a Towns absence, and the total in that contest was 219.
The Final Word
Even if Towns does take the floor Sunday, it’s going to be at less than 100 percent. Then, with the T-Wolves’ postseason hopes dim, it would appear likely that the big man sits after having just suffered the injury Saturday night. Moreover, both squads are on the second game of back-to-backs. After some recent offensive improvement, New York has failed to hit the century mark on the scoreboard in consecutive games despite favorable matchups. Adding it all together, I see the game coming in at least slightly under the projected total.
The Pick: Under 226