Free NBA Picks: Timberwolves at Nuggets Odds
by Aaron Smith - 11/14/2013
Minnesota and Denver will be in the national television spotlight Friday night. ESPN will cover this Western Conference matchup between two teams who are looking to break out of the middle-of-the-pack in the Western Conference.
Minnesota isn’t used to being featured on national television games all that often, but this is a Timberwolves team that is clearly on the rise. Denver finished with a franchise-best record last year, but they have started the season just 3-4 this year.
There are a lot of teams in the NBA who are well-established, and it is easy to see what they will be, but these two don’t fit into that mold. These are teams that experts have varying opinions about, and the jury is still out on whether they will be contenders in what will be a crowded Western Conference Playoffs chase.
Timberwolves at Nuggets Betting Story Lines
The Minnesota Timberwolves last had a winning record in the 2004-05 NBA season. Things have gone south for this team ever since Kevin Garnett left town. In 2011-2012 it looked like the Timberwolves might finally have their chance after they started 21-19, but key injuries made the team fall apart late in the year. Last year was essentially a lost year for Minnesota because their top players missed so much time.
What does it all mean for Minnesota? It means that Minnesota Timberwolves fans finally get to see what kind of potential this team has now that Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio are both healthy at the same time. Rubio was highly-touted for a very long time, and while he has shown glimpses of greatness, he hasn’t been able to stay on the floor consistently enough. Love has proven himself to be a perennial all-star, but he has had some injury issues as well. They are finally on the court together at the same time, and Timberwolves fans have to be very excited about that.
Looking at Minnesota so far this year, we can see how the team wants to play with a healthy roster. Minnesota is running the floor and playing faster than anyone in the league outside of the Lakers. With a guy like Rubio at the point guard spot, it definitely makes a lot of sense to run and create transition opportunities. Need an example of how good Rubio can be when healthy? Rubio had 16 points and 16 assists as well as six rebounds in Minnesota’s 124-95 win over Cleveland on Wednesday night. Minnesota needs to stay healthy, but there is definitely plenty of upside for this young Timberwolves team.
Denver had a confusing offseason. The Nuggets finished with a franchise-best record last year, but George Karl was let go in the offseason. Brian Shaw was brought in to replace Karl, and Shaw probably has about as much pressure on him as any new coach in the league. The city is used to the Nuggets winning, but the bar was set very high last season.
Denver has started just 3-4, but they did look pretty good in their win over the Lakers last time out. There is no doubt that this Denver team misses Andre Iguodala. He was one of those guys that didn’t necessarily put up a ton of points, but he was the glue for this team. Javale McGee went down with a leg injury, and he’s out indefinitely. Danilo Gallinari won’t be back for several more weeks.
The Nuggets aren’t playing quite as fast under Shaw as they did under Karl, but they’ll be in a track meet against the Timberwolves in this one. Which team’s defense will show up and come up with big stops?
Timberwolves at Nuggets NBA Betting Odds and Key Trends
It’s clear that the oddsmakers respect the Timberwolves already. Minnesota is listed as a 1.5-point favorite in this one, according to odds from Bookmaker. The posted total is set at 211 points. Minnesota is 6-0 ATS in their last six road games. The Nuggets are 1-8 ATS in their last nine home games. Minnesota is 10-2 ATS in their last 12 games played in Denver. The “over” is 5-2 in the last seven meetings between these teams.
Free NBA Picks: Timberwolves at Nuggets Betting Predictions
I expected Minnesota to be a small underdog here, and I would have played the Timberwolves if they were a dog, but as a favorite I have to lay off. Denver still has a massive home-court advantage, and the Nuggets will likely still contend for a playoff berth this season. I do see a track meet coming in this one. Denver is still comfortable running and gunning, and that is how Minnesota is playing every night. The posted total is set pretty high at 211, but I think the over is the best play in this matchup.
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