Timberwolves vs. Pelicans Predictions: West-Leading Wolves Head to NOLA

Written by: Grant Mitchell
Published December 11, 2023
5 min read

The Minnesota Timberwolves (17-4) will take the NBA’s best record on the road for a Monday night matchup with the New Orleans Pelicans (12-11).

The Wolves are on a six-game win streak and enjoying their best start to a season in franchise history. The Pelicans, on the other hand, are only a game above .500 and lost to the Los Angeles Lakers by 44 points in their last game, an In-Season Tournament quarterfinal matchup in Las Vegas.

Here, we will go over the betting odds and share our favorite picks for the Timberwolves vs. Pelicans matchup.

Timberwolves vs Pelicans Predictions

Timberwolves vs. Pelicans Betting Odds for Monday, Dec. 11

The Timberwolves are 2.5-point underdogs despite their excellent start to the year. They’re 7-3 on the road, while the Pels are 8-4 inside their home arena.

TeamsSpreadMoneylineTotal
Minnesota Timberwolves+2.5 (-105)+125Over 222.5 (-110)
New Orleans Pelicans-2.5 (-115)-150Under 222.5 (-110)

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The T’Wolves have been one of the most consistent teams in the league up to this point. Ever since a 1-2 start, they won 16 of 18 games and have taken down teams such as the Philadelphia 76ers, Boston Celtics, and Oklahoma City Thunder.

Their last game, a 127-103 win against the Memphis Grizzlies, finished with seven players cracking double-digit points and the team combining to shoot 39.5% from three-point territory.

Anthony Edwards (24.4 points, 5.6 rebounds, 4.8 assists) and Karl-Anthony Towns (21.9 points, 9.0 rebounds) lead the offense. Edwards can take over as a scorer and usually has the ball in his hands in high-pressure moments, but he’s shown an improved ability to make plays out of the pick-and-roll and is picking his spots better than he did when he first entered the league.

The Wolves’ calling card is their defense. They have the best defensive rating in the league, give up the third-fewest points in the paint per game, and are top-10 in transition defense.

Rudy Gobert and Towns both rank in the top three for centers in defensive field goal percentage allowed to opponents. It feels like they contest nearly every shot at the rim, and their rotations are much tighter than they were during a disappointing season a year ago.

Where Minnesota can run into trouble is on offense. They don’t play with great pace and are average from beyond the arc, though they’ve been much better late in games (eighth in clutch offensive rating - 25th in 2022-23).

The Pelicans enter the matchup in nowhere near the same run of form as the Timberwolves, They only have three wins in their last seven outings, which is a disappointing reality for a team that seems poised to take off after beating the Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, and Sacramento Kings (twice) over eight days last month.

New Orleans has three capable volume scorers in Brandon Ingram, Zion Williamson, and C.J. McCollum. However, compared to other primary scorers on teams around the league, this trio lacks consistency and does not show much on-court desperation when their shots aren’t falling or the team is falling behind.

The Lakers’ loss was cataclysmic. Trey Murphy III led all Pelicans players with 14 points off the bench (even with a -25 +/-), while Zion (13 points) and Herb Jones (10 points) were the only starters in double figures.

The Pelicans feed off of their defense. Jones, Murphy, Jose Alvarado, Dyson Daniels, and others are all excellent individual defenders and can have huge impacts on their night.

Even with the lopsided Lakers loss on their resume, the Pelicans are 10th in defensive rating over the last 10 games and should get better if they can hold onto their health, which has proven difficult.

When the Pels’ defense isn’t clicking, they become an average team. They’re 10th in points in the paint and 11th in fastbreak points, but also 20th in three-point shooting (25.1%) and 21st in rebound percentage.

The teams already met twice this season, both resulting in wins for the Timberwolves: one by 21 points in Minnesota and the other by one point in New Orleans.

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Timberwolves vs. Pelicans Prediction and Betting Pick

Defense is the key for both teams. Their preferred pace isn’t too dissimilar (though the Pelicans want to play faster and should look to here), and both offenses are serviceable but far from the best in the league.

Minnesota has found success in taking advantage of mismatches and allowing Towns to drive smaller defenders to the hoop. They can also get cheap buckets from Anthony Edwards’ exploits in isolation, whether that be with blow-bys, pull-ups, or quick passes to teammates.

The Pelicans’ length and versatility make them well-equipped to deal with what has made the Wolves so successful up to this point. However, they don’t show the greatest mental fortitude, and it’s unclear how their recent 44-point loss will impact them.

The Wolves are more of a guarantee at this point. They should dominate the glass and will contest shots at the rim, which will prove to be tough for the Pelicans to overcome. Give us the better team with the points on the road. 

  • Timberwolves vs. Pelicans pick: Timberwolves +2.5 (-105) at BetMGM

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Grant Mitchell

Sports Betting Analyst & On-Air Host

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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.
Nationality: American
Education: Bachelor in Sports Media and Analytics
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