The Raptors are rounding into form at home, while the Wolves might be down huge with Anthony Edwards hobbled. See how Toronto can take advantage as our NBA picks preview tonight’s matchup.
The Minnesota Timberwolves invade Scotiabank Arena this Saturday as they take on the Toronto Raptors for their second game in as many nights. Unfortunately, they may be doing so without their best player in Anthony Edwards.
Edwards was helped off the court during Friday night’s loss to the Chicago Bulls due to an ankle sprain, and was seen leaving the United Center in a protective boot. The huge point spread oddsmakers have hung on this contest implies that the Raptors will be facing a shorthanded squad.
Can Toronto take advantage of the situation and win their third straight game in their own building? Find out in our free NBA picks and predictions for Timberwolves vs Raptors on Saturday, March 18.
The Minnesota Timberwolves lost their fourth game in a five-game span on Friday, falling behind the Dallas Mavericks for the all-important No. 6 seed in the Western Conference. They’re now a sub-.500 team, and could be primed for even more losses if Anthony Edwards’ ankle injury proves serious.
Edwards had led his team in scoring in five straight games prior to Friday, notching no fewer than 27 points in that span. The first-time All-Star selection has also upped his defensive game this year, so his potential absence could impact the Timberwolves on both ends of the court.
Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakam look primed for big performances against a tired Minnesota team tonight. VanVleet takes on a T-Wolves defense that allows the fourth-most points per game to point guards (26 ppg), and he leads his club in points per game in March through seven outings (19.4).
Siakam draws a fairly easy matchup too, as Minnesota surrenders the eighth-most points per game to power forwards (22.9). He led all Toronto players in both points (25) and rebounds (14) in a 128-111 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder when last seen on Thursday.
That was the Raptors’ second straight home triumph, as they knocked off Nikola Jokic and the mighty Denver Nuggets on Tuesday, 125-110. Toronto is not to be taken lightly at home this year, as it’s compiled a 22-13 record at Scotiabank Arena. However, laying nearly 10 points in this spot is a tough ask for any team.
The Raps look like a better bet to clear their team total of 116.5 tonight. The Wolves have surrendered no fewer than 117 points in five of their last six games. While it’s true that two of those games went to overtime, it’s not as though Minnesota put on a defensive clinic when they held the Brooklyn Nets to 114 points in regulation at home on March 10, nor when they gave up 113 points to the mediocre Bulls in four quarters last night.
My best bet: Raptors team total Over 116.5 (-120 at PointsBet)
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The spread for this game opened as low as Raptors -6, but nothing but 9.5s or 10s are available on Saturday afternoon in the wake of the Edwards news.
The T-Wolves have covered in each of their last five second halves of back-to-backs, and nine of their last 12 off a spread loss, but this team could struggle to replace the production of Edwards on both ends of the floor.
They would need either Rudy Gobert or Mike Conley to step up, but Toronto is eighth in points per game allowed to centers (21.3), with an identical ranking against point guards (23.1).
The Raptors being favored by double-digits doesn’t happen often enough to produce any reliable trends. However, it is worth noting that they’ve covered five straight home games. They’re also 6-2 ATS in their last eight meetings with Minnesota regardless of venue.
One player who could keep the T-Wolves in the hunt is Jaden McDaniels, who’s averaged 18.3 ppg over his last four contests. The young power forward has been remarkably consistent from month to month and from venue to venue, and he’s handled an increase in workload admirably of late.
Much like the spread, the total has shifted significantly following Edwards’ early exit on Friday night.
The Over/Under opened at about 227.5 at most shops, but the current consensus is 223.5. With so much one-sided action, some buy-back is due to occur prior to tip-off, so Under bettors might be best served waiting this one out.
I’m on the Over, which is only logical since I like the Raptors to clear their team total tonight. Again, the Timberwolves could really use another outstanding effort from McDaniels on offense.
Minnesota could also benefit from some scoring from their bench, which is a decent 14th in points per game this year (34.9). A lot of their starters played extended minutes after losing to Chicago in double overtime last night.
The T-Wolves’ potential tiredness could translate to some lackluster defense, especially as this game goes on. The Raptors, who need every win they can muster to solidify their playoff standing, are never afraid to ride their starters, as they’re 29th in bench points this season. Expect VanVleet and Siakam to pile on the points late and likely send this game over the total.
The Over is 6-1 in the Raptors’ last seven overall. Find more NBA betting trends for Timberwolves vs. Raptors.
|Location:||Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, ON|
|Date:||Saturday, March 18, 2023|
|Tip-off:||7:00 p.m. ET|
|TV:||Bally Sports North, TSN|
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