Jason’s 2018-19 NBA picks record through Apr. 9:
25-27-1 ATS, 0-4 ML (minus-9.35 units), 34-20 Totals
Minnesota (36-45 SU, 39-42 ATS) at Denver (39-42 SU, 40-40-1 ATS)
Wednesday, 10:30 p.m. ET
Free NBA Pick: Over
Best Line Offered: 5Dimes
Drama! Excitement! Intrigue! Yeah, there won’t be any of that during Wednesday’s season finale between the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Denver Nuggets. The Timberwolves were long ago eliminated from the postseason, and the Nuggets are already coasting into the Western Conference playoffs with the No. 2 seed. And since both teams have nothing left to play for, we’re putting the ‘over’ in our NBA picks. Makes sense, right?
Well, it was the correct call for Sunday’s glorified exhibition game between the “Boston Celtics’ and the Washington Wizards. Locked in as the No. 4 seed in the East, the Celtics brought out the B-team and won 116-110 (Over 222.5) in a game that you’re not going to see on ESPN Classic anytime in the future. We’re expecting more of that Wednesday night. Maybe they’ll even have some NBA odds posted for this matchup by then. One can always hope.
The Nuggets didn’t seem to care about clinching that No. 2 seed, by the way. On Sunday, with the possibility of slipping to No. 3 or even No. 4 hanging in the air, Denver sat Nikola Jokic (plus-5.9 OBPM, plus-3.8 DBPM) and Paul Millsap (plus-0.6 OBPM, plus-1.9 DBPM) and assorted other players for their road game against the Portland Trail Blazers. Portland won 115-108, going ‘over’ the 219-point total.
Then came Tuesday’s game in Salt Lake City against the Utah Jazz. Jokic and Millsap returned to the lineup, but Jokic fouled out after just 16 minutes of action, and Denver went deep into their bench, eventually losing 118-108 (Over 212.5). They wound up with the No. 2 seed anyway when the No. 3 Houston Rockets (–3 away) faded late and fell 112-111 to the Oklahoma City Thunder – mumble grumble. So we’re expecting more bench mob action from the Nuggets in their season finale.
Shut It Down, Big Man
Meanwhile, the Wolves didn’t wait for Game No. 82 to start shutting things down. They gave Karl-Anthony Towns (plus-4.9 OBPM, plus-1.9 DBPM) the day off on Tuesday and ended up losing 120-100 (Under 227) to the Toronto Raptors – who left Kyle Lowry on the bench for load management. Okay, that one didn’t go ‘over’ the posted total, but you can’t have everything.
It remains to be seen at press time whether Towns or Jokic or any of the major players for either team will see the floor on Wednesday. The more reserves they throw out there, the more we expect to see “fun’ basketball from these two clubs, with lots of shooting and little emphasis on defense. Nobody wants to get hurt at this time of year playing hard in a meaningless game, so keep an eye on the shoot-around and the opening total, bet accordingly, and we’ll see you for the playoffs.