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|Minnesota Timberwolves Moneyline||-135|
|Los Angeles Clippers Moneyline||+122|
|Minnesota Timberwolves Spread||-2.5|
|Los Angeles Clippers Spread||+2.5|
|Timberwolves/Clippers Game Total||230|
|Game Date & Time||Tue Apr 12th, 9:30PM ET|
To round out the last play-in game on Tuesday, April 12th, the Timberwolves are hosting the Clippers. This game is being played in Minnesota at the Target Center at 9:30PM ET.
After years of mediocrity, the Timberwolves had a legitimately good season in 2021-2022. They finished 46-36, but because of a loaded Western Conference they finished as the 7 seed. The Clippers have to be somewhat happy to even be in the playoff picture with Kawhi missing the entire season, and Paul George only playing in 31 games.
Starting with the home team and the favorite here, it’s hard not to be impressed with the Timberwolves. Even though they are the 7 seed in the West, they finished with the 9th best Net Rating in the entire NBA, finishing over teams such as the Sixers, Nuggets, Raptors, and Nets.
The really surprising part is how well they performed defensively, finishing 13th in the NBA in defensive Net Rating. 13th might not seem great upon first glance, but considering they had the 3rd worst defense in the NBA last year, 13th is a remarkable improvement.
They’ve never had trouble scoring the ball, led by offensive dynamo Karl-Anthony Towns, but the improvement in defense is what led to the real change in Minnesota.
Part of their defensive improvement came from roster additions, most notably Patrick Beverly. Wherever Beverly goes, he brings a tenacious attitude that rubs off on his teammates. Teammate Jarred Vanderbilt has also taken a step up defensively.
Outside of Towns they have 2nd year stud Anthony Edwards, who followed up a promising rookie season with a great second year in the NBA. He averaged over 21 points per game, and shot 36% from 3. Despite being the 7 seed, the ‘TWolves are not short of talent and won’t be an easy out.
Looking at the Clippers, on the other hand, it’s hard to look at season long statistics because of the injury bug. They won’t get Kawhi back in this playoff run, but they have already gotten George back.
If you isolate the Clippers to just games in which George appeared, they have an 18-13 record, and their Net Rating would have been good for 7th best in the NBA. So, sort of like the Nets in the East, the Clippers are not a normal play-in team.
This is essentially the same Clippers roster that won the last two games over Utah in the playoffs to advance to the Western Conference Finals, and took the Suns to 6 games in that series. They accomplished all that without Kawhi.
The Clippers have a solid, hard-nosed roster, but they are also well coached by Ty Lue. I have immense respect for the coaching job that Lue has done in his two years as Clippers head coach.
For years the Clippers were plagued by head coach Doc Rivers who refused to make adjustments both as the season went on and also mid-game. In comes Lue, who is essentially a mad scientist.
He experimented with lineups, playing styles, and everything in-between. This benefitted the Clippers in the playoffs last year, and will continue to benefit them as long as he is the coach.
Looking at this game specifically, I like the Clippers to upset the Timberwolves here. I trust the coaching of Ty Lue, and also the battle tested Clippers. So, I’ll take the Clippers moneyline on PointsBet.
It’s hard to put a number on the team having been through playoff basketball before, but players always talk about how it’s an entirely different ballgame once you get to the playoffs. So, in this one game series I’ll take the experience of the Clippers.
With that said, my favorite bet of this game is to take the under. I got the total up at 231 on WynnBET.
I talked about how good the Timberwolves defense was this year, and the same is true with the Clippers. Most of the Clippers struggles this year were on offense. 231 is a high total too, so I like this total to go under in a game where the defense is probably ramped up due to the importance of the game.
My official NBA betting pick is to take the Clippers moneyline. I got it at +130 on PointsBet Sportsbook.
My favorite bet for this game, though, is to take the game total going under 231. I got this at -108 on WynnBET Sportsbook.
My prediction for this NBA game is that the Clippers will win 109-107.