Nuggets, Timberwolves Clash for Final Western Conference Playoff Spot

wolves nuggets

Jay Pryce

Wednesday, April 11, 2018 12:51 PM UTC

Wednesday, Apr. 11, 2018 12:51 PM UTC

The stakes are simple in the Nuggets-Timberwolves regular-season finale Wednesday night (8 ET): the victor makes the NBA playoffs, while the loser stays home. Minnesota is a 3-point favorite at Target Center for the win-and-your-in contest. 

Denver Nuggets at Minnesota TimberwolvesFree NBA Pick: OverBest Line Offered: BetOnline

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Nuggets (46-35 SU, 37-41 ATS)

Dogged Denver; Road Warriors

Denver is determined to end a five-year playoff drought. Facing an 11-point deficit in the second half Monday night and possible postseason elimination, it rallied past the Trail Blazers 88-82 for its sixth consecutive victory. Nikola Jokic recorded his 10th triple-double of the season in the win, tallying 15 points, 20 rebounds, and 11 assists.

Stout defending and strong rebounding are the primary forces fueling the current streak. The Nuggets are allowing 103.7 points per game in regulation time on 43.3 percent opponent shooting during the run. They held Portland to 13 points and just one bucket in the fourth quarter. On the glass, Denver is outrebounding opponents 49.3 to 45.3 overall.

The Nuggets are outperforming the betting market consistently on the road against winning teams. Since December 1, they are 8-12 SU and 14-6 ATS outside of Pepsi Center against opponents owning a positive point differential. Denver is covering a 4.9-point average spread by 3.6 points per game. It has tipped off chalk once, yet are 6-2 SU and ATS when catching fewer than 5 points on the NBA oddsboard. The offense shines in this spot, averaging 117.5 points in regulation on 50.7 percent from the floor.

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Timberwolves (46-35 SU, 36-42 ATS)

Butler Criticism, Butler Boost

The Timberwolves kept their postseason hopes alive Monday night, topping Memphis 113-94 for their second consecutive victory. They have not won three in a row in nearly 3 months (January 14). Swingman Jimmy Butler, who missed 21 games in this span due to right knee surgery, called out his teammates for “playing soft” after the win. In his absence, Minny went 10-11 SU and 8-12-1 ATS.

The veteran is hoping to motivate his peers with pointed criticism and a timely return to the court. Butler is averaging 16.5 points and 3.5 steals in 22.8 minutes per game in a pair of contests since returning April 6. For the year, the Timberwolves are 36-22 SU and 28-29-1 ATS with the four-time All-Star in the line up. Butler’s “soft” remark has merit. The defense laid down in his absence, allowing 111.5 points a night on 48.5 percent opponent shooting. It yields 105.1 per game on 46.8 percent with Butler starting.

Overview

The Timberwolves are 24-6 SU at Target Center with Butler playing. Three of these losses occurred in five games against teams with an average scoring margin greater than 3.5 points headed into the contest. Denver currently owns a 1.6 differential. As expected, defense is the difference-maker, Minny allowing 103.0 points per game. Denver should take this to the wire and put up a tad more. The total is dealing at 212 points as of this writing. Both teams reach 106 points here. Our numbers have Minnesota winning 112-106, but the safer NBA pick is ‘over’ rather than wagering a side. Bet accordingly.

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