NBA Pick: Nuggets -8.5 (-110) at Bookmaker (visit our Bookmaker Review)
Top-rated online sportsbooks have released their NBA odds for tonight’s NBA matchup between the Minnesota Timberwolves and Denver Nuggets.
The Timberwolves are coming off a big win against Denver, although this game promises to look very different.
For reasons that I will explain, you should play both the Spread and the Total for this contest.
Remember, fans from the Land of 10,000 Lakes or the Mile High City who want to make a wager on this game should check out our top-rated Minnesota or Colorado betting sites.
Out of state? No problem! Check out the best-rated US Betting Sites available in order to make secure wagers in your own home state.
Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Denver Nuggets
Tuesday, February 07, 2023 – 09:00 PM EST at Ball Arena
These two teams just played each other last Sunday as Minnesota won 128-98.
Should we expect that result to repeat itself?
We need to behave as if that game didn't happen because Denver's top players did not play.
Star center Nikola Jokic, point guard Jamal Murray, and the team's other starters were resting on what was the second leg of a back-to-back. Denver's star players and starters are back, though.
If anything, the Nuggets benefit from having seen up-front how Minnesota's starters -- who did play in that game against Denver -- like to operate.
Despite not playing in that game, Nugget starters might also feel the inclination to achieve revenge because being on a team that loses by 30 does not good.
The Importance of Jokic
Jokic is a perennial MVP candidate primarily because of his abilities as a scorer inside the arc and as a passer. He is efficient as a mid-range shooter and as a rim-attacker.
Of course, his teammates are likelier to be open with him on the floor because opposing offenses struggle so heavily to limit his scoring prowess.
His precise passing and his vision as a passer also help him accrue assists. Given his unique blend of skills, he ranks 18th in points per game, sixth in rebounds per game, and second in assists per game.
Literally averaging a triple-double, Jokic will make a tremendous difference in tonight's game.
Other Key Returners
Also look out for power forward Aaron Gordon, who is normally an efficient scorer at the basket. Denver missed his efficiency on Sunday.
As for Murray, he likes to attack inside by driving, although he is also inclined to pull up from the mid-range, like Jokic.
Given this bevy of inside scoring talent, Denver collectively relies more than other teams for scoring inside the paint. To be exact, the Nuggets make the third-most field goals within five feet of the basket.
Given the Nuggets' reliance on scoring inside, we need to attach serious consideration to the ability of Minnesota's rim protection.
Don't Trust Rudy
Somebody who hasn't been paying attention might think that a team that wants to score inside the arc and at the basket matches up poorly against a team that starts Rudy Gobert at Center.
It is true that Gobert's accolades were no fluke. So I am not saying that this multi-time Defensive Player of the Year is a bad defender.
My point is rather that our perception of Gobert hinges on his performance in another team.
Gobert's stats this year speak for themselves: compared to prior seasons, his defensive rating is worse, his block rate has declined dramatically to the extent that he only achieved fewer blocks per game when he was a rookie, and he is likewise achieving fewer rebounds per game.
Gobert has often looked vulnerable this year, but this actually shouldn't be too surprising. Recall his performance in Utah's series against the Clippers.
He becomes vulnerable when his team's on-ball defense breaks down and when he is forced away from the basket.
The critical difference is that Gobert, as a member of the Jazz, benefitted from his teammates' stronger on-ball defense.
Individual Minnesota defenders are not displaying that same level of quality.
Timberwolves' defenders like Anthony Edwards have also regressed in this respect, which is why he made public statements attesting to the importance that he (supposedly) still accords to defending well.
Minnesota's Perimeter Defense vs. Nugget's Three-Point Attack
Minnesota has benefitted in games, such as its recent lower-scoring win against Cleveland, in which its defenders could sag off potential shooters because they're inefficient from deep.
Conversely, they struggle against a Utah team that can space the floor with multiple efficient shooters, leaving the Timberwolves powerless both to limit the opponent's inside scoring and to account for its different threats from deep.
Denver is more like Utah and in a more powerful sense.
The Nuggets are the most efficient three-point shooting team. They boast the services of sundry efficient three-point shooters, guards, and forwards.
More so than Utah just did with its 126-point output, Denver will overwhelm Minnesota both inside and outside the arc.
Minnesota's Offensive Outlook
Similar to Denver, Minnesota likes to score at the basket.
The rim-attacking momentum of Edwards and the efficiency inside of forward Jaden McDaniels are two prominent figures to look out for.
A Denver defense that allows the third-highest field goal percentage within five feet of the basket is a defense that Minnesota is built to exploit.
Both teams will thrive inside, although Denver possesses the superior scoring talent led by perennial MVP candidate Jokic plus the Nuggets have unique three-point shooting efficiency with which to complement their inside scoring.
For your best bet for your NBA Picks, expect a high-scoring Nugget win.
Score Prediction: Nuggets 135 - Timberwolves 115
NBA Pick: Nuggets -8.5 (-110) at Bookmaker
NBA Pick: Over 235.5 (-108) at Heritage Sports (visit our Heritage Sports Review)
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