As the NBA season gets into its 2nd half and as we get closer to the playoffs we see some teams suddenly improve, while others start underperforming. In this betting preview, we will check out a match between two teams that fall in that category; Minnesota Timberwolves and Washington Wizards, who will meet at Capital One Arena for the first time this season.
Minnesota Timberwolves are coming into this match after 2 consecutive defeats suffered against Atlanta Hawks (131:123) and Indiana Pacers (122:115). As it stands now, Minnesota Timberwolves are the 11th team in the West with an overall record of 29-33 and a disappointing 4-6 in their last 10 games. While they have not been too effective lately, Minnesota have got one thing going for them, and that is scoring. They know how to score points and do so on regular basis, but then it comes to defending the basket… there is where it all comes crashing down on them. Looking at their last match against Indiana Pacers on Friday, Minnesota Timberwolves had a good chance to win, however, the last half of the last quarter was when Indiana ran away with an 8 point lead. Despite a 7 point defeat for Timberwolves, it was a good performance and a nice change of pace after a 131:123 defeat against Atlanta Hawks.
Washington Wizards, just like Timberwolves are on the verge of being eliminated from the playoffs run. As it stands now, they are 11th in the East with a 25-37 overall record and a disastrous 1-4 record in the last 5 matches played. In the course of those 5 matches, Wizards managed to defeat Brooklyn nets (116:125), but failed to do the same against Toronto Raptors (120:129), Charlotte Hornets (123:110), Indiana Pacers (112:119) and Boston Celtics on Saturday (107:96). I’ve talked about the issues in Washington before and it has not changed one bit. They are still one of the worst rebounding teams in the league. Let me correct that. They are THE worst rebounding team in the league. Not surprisingly, they are also one of the worst defensive teams in the league as a result of that. Much like Timberwolves, Washington are capable of scoring points but are not as effective when it comes to preventing opponents of doing the same. Washington Wizards will remain without Wall and Howard, while Minnesota Timberwolves remain without Covington.
Both teams have similar issues, however, Wizards are in a much worse position. Their rebounding, or better yet lack of it will be their doom. If they don’t somehow improve in that aspect before heading into this match, they will also have a lot of issues against Minnesota, who are a decent team when it comes to rebounding. Additionally, Karl-Anthony Towns is coming into this match after yet another great performance against Indiana Pacers, where he racked up 42 points, 4 assists and 17 rebounds. With a performance like that, I expect him alone to be a huge problem for Washington Wizards, who I don’t believe have the right player to stop him inside the paint. All in all, this one is bound to be a high scoring match as neither of the teams really seem to have problem scoring points, however, the Washington Wizards defence (or lack of it) inside the pain will be the deciding factor here, which is why I like the visitors better.
Prediction: Minnesota Timberwolves +1.00 points
Odds: 2.06 Matchbook