The 38-16 Boston Celtics head to Minneapolis to face off against the Minnesota Timberwolves in Target Center on Friday night. With both teams getting some well-deserved rest during the All-Star break, it will be interesting to see which team gets off to a faster start.
The Minnesota Timberwolves have had a rough season, but with the addition of D’Angelo Russell, the future looks brighter for the 16-37 Timberwolves. After allowing the Charlotte Hornets to rally back in last Wednesday’s game, Minnesota could get some life back in Target Center if they can upset the Celtics.
The Boston Celtics are coming off a big win against the LA Clippers last Thursday before All-Star weekend. With the NBA playoffs right around the corner, if the Celtics can get a strong run going, they could potentially pass the Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference.
Boston comes in as a six-point favorite, which seems small considering how the Timberwolves have played recently. Let’s evaluate what each team brings to Friday’s game before you make your pick.
Rebuilding Wolves searching for morale boost
At this point of the season, the Minnesota Timberwolves have a tough decision to make. On one hand, tanking for the lottery is an option and on the other, boost morale around the team by winning. Both options have their pros and cons, and with the addition of D’Angelo Russell, it makes more sense to focus on building the organization’s spirit.
One way they could boost morale is by getting a big win at home over a strong Eastern Conference team.
Beating Boston will be a daunting task, especially considering they’ll be without Karl-Anthony Towns. D’Angelo Russell and the rest of the Wolves will have to take on Kemba Walker, Jayson Tatum and Gordon Hayward on their own.
The Wolves have one of the worst defenses in the league, considering Boston has the 10th-ranked offense, this doesn’t bode well for Minnesota.
The Timberwolves have been just as bad against the spread as they are straight up, they’ve gone 1-11 ATS in their last 12 games and have an overall record of 18-33-2. You can’t trust this team to cover at home either, with an ATS record of 6-20-1. With the Wolves only getting +6 in this match, that spread seems too small to consider choosing.
Celtics can move to No. 2 with a strong push
The Boston Celtics currently sit as the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference, only a couple of games back from the Raptors. This favorable game against Minnesota could be an opportunity for the Celtics to start a strong push to take the No. 2 spot from the Raptors.
Overall the Celtics are one of the most well-rounded teams in the league. Great shooting, strong rebounding and great defense have propelled them to the No. 3 spot in the East. If they’re able to keep that consistency through the playoffs, you can expect the Celtics to perform well.
This week they have their eyes set on the Timberwolves, the only player questionable for this game is Jaylen Brown, who is dealing with a calf injury.
The Celtics are a much better team against the spread than their opponent, going 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games and an overall record of 32-20-2. They actually aren’t bad on the road either, going 15-10-1 on the road against the spread.
The way the Celtics have performed recently against the spread brings a lot more confidence than the Timberwolves, especially with such a small spread.
Pick and Prediction
The Minnesota Timberwolves have had a tumultuous season. Unfortunately, they’ll be down their best big man in this one. Even if Towns was playing, choosing the Timberwolves to cover a spread under ten points isn’t a bet I’m willing to take.
Their inconsistency on offense and truly lackluster defense against the Celtics tenth-ranked offense doesn’t bode well for Minnesota.
The Celtics, however, have been a team you can trust to cover a spread, especially spreads under 10. Their road record ATS doesn’t concern me either because they’re easily over .500 and the Timberwolves play worse at home than they do on the road.
Look for the Celtics to continue their win streak against the Timberwolves, Boston Celtics -6.