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The Dallas Mavericks (26-21) will take an injured core on the road to face the Minnesota Timberwolves (33-14), who are a half-game clear of second place in the Western Conference standings.
The Mavs beat the Orlando Magic on Monday but lost Luka Doncic to an ankle sprain and rookie center Dereck Lively II to a broken nose, and both, along with Kyrie Irving, will sit on Wednesday. Meanwhile, the Timberwolves used a fourth-quarter comeback to beat the third-place Thunder on Monday and are looking to tighten their grasp on the rest of the West.
Here, we will go over the betting odds and share our favorite picks for the Mavericks vs. Timberwolves matchup on Wednesday.
The Timberwolves are favored by a commanding 14.5 points as they prepare to face a team down its two, potentially three best players.
|Over 221.5 (-115)
|Under 221.5 (-105)
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The Mavericks are an isolation-based team that gets the majority of its offense from the shot-creation and playmaking of Doncic and Irving. The pair is responsible for 50.4% of the team’s scoring output and 58.4% of their assists, which means their absences will give this team an entirely new look.
Dallas only played two games without both members of its starting backcourt and lost both times. The first loss came on December 22 against the Houston Rockets in a 26-point blowout, and the second was an eight-point loss on December 28 to, guess who, the Timberwolves.
Lively’s absence will also have a profound impact on the Mavs’ interior defense and rebounding strength. They already ranked 22nd in paint points allowed and 29th in rebound rate and just lost their best asset in both departments.
The Mavericks are, like many teams, much better at home than they are on the road. They are 4.9 points per 100 possessions better and also shoot 3.3% better from three when they’re in Dallas compared to not.
Tim Hardaway Jr. will be the primary scoring option on Wednesday. To his credit, he averaged 24 points and 4.9 rebounds in nine games as a starter this season but will also bear the burden of having to keep pace with a budding superstar in Anthony Edwards with little offensive support from his teammates.
On the flip side, the T’Wolves look like a well-oiled machine just as they so often have. They have the best defensive rating in basketball, shoot the second-best percentage from three (39.1%) in the league, are sixth in rebound rate, and just beat a tier-one contender in the West.
Not only is Minnesota one of the best teams in the league, but it is profitable. The team covered in 57.9% of home games and is no stranger to being favored.
The Wolves were favored by double-digit points 10 times this season. They went 4-5-1 against the spread in those games, most recently losing to the San Antonio Spurs by one point as 10.5-point favorites last Saturday.
Mike Conley is questionable with a hamstring problem, but everyone else in Minnesota’s regular rotation is expected to be available on Wednesday. That gives them the best chance possible of covering such a large line. There’s no doubt that they’re the better team in this context, but they’ll need to blow the Mavericks out to add another spread win to their tally.
Despite the Timberwolves’ outstanding record, they only have the third-highest average scoring differential in the West. That can be attributed to their defense-first mindset and roster construction or that they lack the killer will to completely bury teams, but whatever the reason, they’ll need to overcome precedent on Wednesday.
The Mavs covered in 61.9% of road games. They were only underdogs of eight or more points three times and went 1-2 ATS in those, earning the lone cover against the Wolves.
Although history and trends might make it seem as if the Mavs’ spread is the side to be on, the raw numbers and impact of their injuries lead us to believe the Timberwolves at -14.5 is the best bet.
Not only is Dallas without the lifeblood of its offense, but it's down its defensive anchor and best rebounder. This is going to look like a team with no structure going against the best defense in the NBA, which can only end one way.
Mavericks vs. Timberwolves pick: Timberwolves -14.5 at BetMGM
When: Wednesday, Jan. 31 @ 7:00/8:00 p.m. CT/ET
Where: Target Center, Minneapolis, MN
TV: NBA League Pass
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Grant is a sports and sports betting journalist who prides himself on delivering breaking news and insightful analyses of the industry. Grant graduated from Virginia Tech in 2021 and is feverishly pursuing his ambitions in the sports betting field.
In his free time, Grant can be found passionately watching sports, doing a workout, or searching for adventure with his friends.More info on Grant Mitchell
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