NBA Pick: Timberwolves ML (+140) at Caesars Sportsbook
- Timberwolves ML (+140)
- Under 225 (110)
It’s computer-approved: Put the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Under in your Sunday NBA picks for Game 4 versus the Denver Nuggets.
Sunday, April 23, 2023 – 09:30 PM EDT at Target Center
What happened to all that betting value? The NBA odds have already tightened up considerably for the first round of the 2023 playoffs – maybe because of all those quality teams battling it out. It’s hard to pick a side when there’s so much parity in this league.
Fortunately, we have the computers at OddsTrader to help us out. Using their projections, and taking a deeper dive into Sunday’s slate, we’ve unearthed two solid NBA picks worth hammering for a single unit of your bankroll – and yes, it’s the underdog and the Under from Game 4 between the Denver Nuggets and Minnesota Timberwolves.
The Timberwolves are the underdogs in this case, down 3-0 to Denver and failing to cover the spread each time. We could recommend them as 3.5-point home dogs, up from +2.5 when the NBA lines opened, but in our estimation, there’s more value in taking Wolves +140 on the moneyline at Caesars Sportsbook.
As for the Under, there’s a total of 225 points on the board at WynnBet, just high enough to make it worth betting one unit – although we suspect both the Wolves and the Under will be available at a better price closer to tip-off after the betting public comes in and does their thing.
Will the Nuggets Sweep the Timberwolves?
Probably. Denver deserves to be the favorites in Game 4, having dominated Minnesota up to this point; however, the computers at OddsTrader have the Timberwolves winning Sunday’s game 112-111 to stave off the sweep.
That final score might be a bit optimistic for the Wolves, but it’s hardly beyond the pale – FiveThirtyEight projects Sunday’s game as a pick’em. Minnesota (42-40 SU, 40-42 ATS during the regular season) is a quality team, even more so since they acquired Mike Conley Jr. from Utah ahead of the trade deadline.
Denver (53-29 SU, 45-37 ATS) is the better side, of course, and they counter Minnesota’s small-market betting value to some extent. But they’re also 19-22 SU and 20-22 ATS on the road compared to 34-7 SU and 28-15 ATS at home, where the Nuggets enjoy the high-altitude advantage at Ball Arena.
To be fair, this is historically not a good spot for the Timberwolves: since 2005, teams down 3-0 are 15-39 SU and 21-30-3 ATS heading into Game 4. This is part of the reason we’re only recommending a one-unit bet despite the computer projections. The betting advantage is still with the Wolves, though, especially when you consider our second basketball pick.
Why Bet the Under?
Because it’s the Nuggets (Under 44-37-1) and the Timberwolves (Under 43-38-1). Granted, the Over is 2-1 in this series after cashing Games 2 and 3, but Denver shot 45% and 41% respectively from behind the arc, well above their 38% team average during the regular season. Regression is lurking around the corner.
This is also where Conley can help our cause. He’s a better defender than the point guard he replaced, D’Angelo Russell. Here are their Box Plus/Minus numbers for Minnesota at Basketball Reference:
- Conley: plus-1.5 OBPM, plus-0.6 DBPM
- Russell: plus-1.9 OBPM, minus-0.7 DBPM
Plus, the Wolves have given guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker plenty of minutes since getting him from Utah alongside Conley:
- Alexander: minus-2.4 OBPM, minus-0.6 DBPM
Combine their two efforts, and heading into this series, the Under was 15-10 for Minnesota post-trade deadline, including both their Western Conference play-in games.
Slow and Steady
Meanwhile, on the other side of the court, the Nuggets are one of the slowest teams in the league at 99.7 possessions per game (No. 23 overall), which puts the clamps on the otherwise freewheeling Timberwolves (102.7 possessions, No. 7). Here’s their combined pace from the first three games as per Basketball Reference:
- Game 1: 93.2
- Game 2: 92.5
- Game 3: 98.1
That’s playoff basketball for you. The intensity dial has been turned up several notches, scoring is harder to come by, and the Under enjoying a slight 11-10 advantage across the league over the past seven days. It’s only going to get more pronounced as the postseason wears on.
This is also the only game of the four on Sunday’s slate where the OddsTrader computers are projecting the Under to cash in. It’s very likely the formula they’re using is generous when it comes to handing out points, so the fact they’re going Under this time gives us even more confidence it’s the right call. Bet accordingly – the computers have spoken.
NBA Pick: Timberwolves +140 at Caesars Sportsbook
NBA Pick: Under 225 (-110) at WynnBet