The rising Cavaliers or the slumping Timberwolves? Which team will have the edge when they meet on Friday in Minneapolis? Find out below.
Cavaliers Betting Preview:
The Cleveland Cavaliers have been a rather bright story this season, probably more so than many expected. An interesting mix of young talent with several noted professionals is proving like a very good combination for the Cavs, who have a 14-12 record flirting with a chance to contend for the postseason. That record is quite good considering several injury issues they had to endure this season, but the Cavs are a dangerous team at full capacity. No team is better than covering the spread, especially at home this season, with the Cavs always in very close games.
A lack of experience causes them to drop several of those close games, but it will come with time. Nobody expected them to challenge for the playoffs either way, so this is a great season so far. It’s a proper team effort with many players contributing. Garland sticks out, especially since Sexton was ruled out for the rest of the season, and the Cavs have looked a lot better without him. There are big men in Mobley and Allen; there is a veteran experience in Rubio and Love. A couple of rotation players as well like Osman, and it’s looking fairly solid.
On offense, it’s been a below-average season because many youths in the squad are still learning to play in this league. The defense is impressive, with the team ranking as the 2nd best team defensively this season, which shows how hard they compete and play every night. They will need such an effort to knock off the Timberwolves.
Timberwolves Betting Preview:
Minnesota is once again experiencing a very strange season that has the team kind of competing but not really. The team is a very interesting mix of players who seem to work together but not really. Towns is still the team’s alpha being the best player and playing some of the best basketball he has ever played. Now, leading-wise, it’s more Edwards than Towns as the young player shows fearlessness both in play on the court and off the court. He is taking the initiative whenever he can, and it’s worked out for Minnesota. The problem for them is Russell because he does not really fit with either Edwards or Towns. It’s something they need to figure out before they can properly move on because those three can’t really play well together.
It’s been especially evident when Russell elects to hero ball in close matches, which rarely goes well. They are currently 11-14 with a 4-game losing streak, but those losses came against fairly good teams. The Jazz, the Hawks, the Wizards, and Brooklyn were all competitive through 3 quarters. Late collapses followed in all four matches, demonstrating a clear problem in clutch time.
Defensively Minnesota is one of the worst teams, but that’s expected as neither of their stars is known for their defense. They mostly win thanks to their offense which ranks average so far this season. It could be better, but glaring chemistry issues prevent it from being that.
Garland – Russell
Garland has emerged as the leading player for the Sexton-less Cavaliers. He has been putting up solid numbers and meshing well with Rubio and his other teammates in the backcourt. He is efficient in scoring and playmaking, making him quite a threat. A good matchup for him will be Rusell, who is not a good defender by any means. He is a good attacker but rarely drives to the basket, which makes this a matchup Garland can win. If he does Cavs will be in a good position.
Allen – Towns
Not a lot of players can defend Karl-Anthony Towns successfully, but Allen might have a shot. The lanky player is a very good athlete capable of dominating the glass with his rebounding. He is also a proficient shot blocker which could give Towns trouble. Luckily for Minnesota, Towns is really good on the perimeter, and if they can put Allen in some motion, Towns might bury them from the three.
Cavaliers vs. Timberwolves betting lines
So Minnesota is essentially a 1,5 point favorite in this one, and that’s quite reasonable as they are a home team. It also tells me that the Cavs are very good value here. The points are set at 212, which is a solid number to think about.
Free Betting Pick
So this is rather simple for me, and it comes down to whether you trust the Cavs or not. I think they will be slightly favored, and I would side with them. They played better recently, they have some solid matchups on the board as well, and they have been really good on the road. Not amazing, but very solid. I think they can win this one.
When it comes to the points, I would back the under here. As predicted, the number is 212, and I would favor the under here. I might get close, which is why I back the Cavs here.