In Year 2 of the Karl-Anthony Towns-Rudy Gobert experiment, the Timberwolves have coalesced as they’re the best team in the NBA. A key injury has them pegged as road underdogs vs. the Pelicans. Will they overcome the odds in the Big Easy?
The Minnesota Timberwolves are surging, looking for their seventh straight win and a regular season sweep when they visit the New Orleans Pelicans tonight.
The Pels are coming off a drubbing at the hands of the LA Lakers in the NBA Tournament semi-final, their second loss in three games.
Minnesota could be down several key players, including star Anthony Edwards — part of the reason they’re 3.5-point underdogs in the NBA odds.
Let’s break down this battle in the Big Easy. Read below for my free NBA picks for the Timberwolves vs. Pelicans on Monday, December 11.
Timberwolves vs Pelicans odds
Timberwolves vs Pelicans predictions
A hip injury has forced Anthony Edwards out of action in two of the last three Timberwolves games, and he’s questionable for Monday. Forward Jaden McDaniels has already been ruled out with an ankle injury.
That’s about the only thing that’s gone wrong for the Timberwolves, the surprise team in the league, and owners of the overall best record. After losing two of their first three, Minnesota has gone 16-2 in their last 18.
The Wolves are especially getting it done on defense, allowing an NBA-best 105.2 points per game. They limit teams to 42.8% shooting from the field, which is also tops in the league, while also ranking Top-3 in 3-point defense, holding teams to 34.5%.
Minnesota has tightened the grips even more over this six-game fun run, holding teams to just 100.7 points per game. Just one opponent has scored more than 103 against them over that stretch.
Their twin towers got it done last game, in a 127-103 thumping of the Memphis Grizzlies. With Edwards limited to four minutes, Karl-Anthony Towns led the way with 24 points, seven rebounds, and five assists while Rudy Gobert was also a beast, finishing with 16 points, 20 boards, and six blocks.
The New Orleans Pelicans will have to find that energy after a 133-89 no-show performance against LA in Vegas. The Pelicans led by one point after the first quarter, and then the wheels fell off. They trailed by 13 at halftime and were outscored 43-17 in the third quarter. Their margin of defeat was just two points shy of the worst in franchise history.
It won’t get any easier tonight, as the Timberwolves have already taken the first two of this three-game season set. NOLA lost 122-101 on Nov 8 and 10 days later, Minnesota snuck by 121-120.
Despite what will likely be a more spirited effort from New Orleans, the Timberwolves have owned this head-to-head, winning four straight. Even with a limited Edwards, Minny’s defense carries them to another win.
My best bet: Timberwolves moneyline (+124 at DraftKings)
Timberwolves vs Pelicans same-game parlay
All eyes are on Zion after a sluggish start to December. He’s scored 13 points or less in three of four games this month. This included a 13-point effort against LA, where he took just eight shots in 26 minutes, while also going a dismal 1-for-6 from the free-throw line. Before that effort, Williamson scored 10 points with six rebounds and six assists in 28 minutes, a game NOLA won 127-117 over the Kings.
Rumblings about his weight and conditioning are again surfacing with these current struggles.
At home against the best team in the league is a good chance to bounce back, and the Pelicans’ game plan should find a way to get him involved — especially because Zion has feasted on the Timberwolves. In six career games, he’s averaging 28.5 points on 61.4% shooting, crossing his 20.5 points total in all but one game.
Let’s finish on the Wolves’ scoring total of 110.5. They have hit the 120-point plateau in both head-to-head matchups with the Pelicans this season. New Orleans’ defensive issues play a big role here: in its last six games, it has allowed at least 114 points five times.
And at home, NOLA surrenders an average of 113.2 points per game. Minnesota isn’t a scoring dynamo, just 19th in the NBA, but it averages 114.9 points per game on the road.
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Timberwolves vs Pelicans spread and Over/Under analysis
As late as Sunday night, the Pelicans were as low as one-point underdogs, but that number has since flipped, with New Orleans as high as a 3.5-point favorite, with most books settling the spread into the 2.5-point range.
Both teams have winning records against the spread with the Timberwolves 12-9-0 ATS and the Pels 13-9-1.
The total has stayed at 221.5 points and higher with most books upping it to 222.5. The Over is 11-10-0 in Minnesota games, while New Orleans games have gone Over in just 10 of 23 starts.
Timberwolves vs Pelicans betting trend to know
Seven of the Pelicans’ last eight games against Western Conference opponents have gone Under the total. Find more NBA betting trends for Timberwolves vs. Pelicans.
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Timberwolves vs Pelicans game info
|Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, LA
|Monday, December 11, 2023
|8:00 p.m. ET
|Bally Sports New Orleans, Bally Sports North
Timberwolves vs Pelicans latest injuries
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