Celtics vs. Timberwolves: Both Teams Should Lean on Defense

Action Network Senior Writer Matt Moore previews how to bet Celtics vs. Timberwolves, including updated odds, picks & predictions for Wednesday's game.

Celtics vs. Timberwolves Odds

Celtics Odds -4.5
Timberwolves Odds +4.5
Over/Under 233.5
Time 8 p.m. ET
TV NBA League Pass
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

The Boston Celtics look to bounce back from their most embarrassing loss of the season to the Houston Rockets while the Minnesota Timberwolves are fighting for their playoff lives. Can the Celtics steady their ship after such rough seas over the last month, or will the Wolves continue to howl at home? Let’s bet Celtics-Wolves.

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Boston Celtics

Payton Pritchard and Robert Williams remain out, but Jaylen Brown should be available for this game.

Boston is 9-6 over its last 15 games. That’s still really good. They’re 11th in offense, 11th in defense. That’s good! It’s just not, well, contender-level. It’s certainly not the level they played at for the first three months of the season.

There’s been a little regression.

Boston is 5-5 in its past 10 games, and coming off the worst loss of the season, to the lowly Rockets in Houston.

What betrayed the Celtics in Houston was their 3-point shooting. They made just 12-of-42 3-pointers for 28%, well below their standard of 37.5% on the road this season. It was an outlier performance, as you would expect when a top-two team loses to a bottom-two team.

The Timberwolves give up the second-highest 3-point percentage among home teams this season. But they give up the 11th-fewest attempts. The Celtics shot 42 3-pointers vs. Houston, the Wolves allow just 32 on average at home, per 100 possessions.

Boston’s offense has still thrived vs. elite units this season. The Wolves are seventh in defensive rating non-garbage-time at Cleaning The Glass, but Boston has the fourth-best offense vs. top-10 defensive teams.

Boston has the third-best road defense as well. The Wolves have battled this season to find ways to be cohesive and competitive without Karl-Anthony Towns. But Anthony Edwards and Mike Conley are going to have a hard time vs. a physical, athletic defense that can switch everything.

Minnesota Timberwolves

Jaylen Nowell is out with tendinopathy. Rudy Gobert is questionable once again with an ankle sprain, as is Naz Reid with calf soreness. The absence of their two centers would be significant against Boston without Robert Williams. Austin Rivers is also questionable.

Minnesota has managed to stay above water, despite Towns missing essentially the entire season, through defense and coaching. They went 5-10 in December and 11-5 in January. The other four months of the year, they’ve gone .500. (Maybe that’s disappointing, maybe that’s encouraging.)

But when you watch them, they are extremely competent. They don’t have great shooters or dynamic drivers but they have Anthony Edwards scoring and Gobert at the rim (when available) and that’s a pretty good combo.

The Wolves also have good wing defenders, so they have some capability in stifling Jayson Tatum and Brown, at least theoretically.

The injuries are massive here. You need the rebounding edge to beat Boston’s small-ball lineup without Robert Williams. Without Gobert or Reid, it could get dicey, so be aware of that before you place your wager. Gobert has played routinely when questionable this season but it’s something keeping an eye on.

Celtics-Timberwolves Pick

Shooting variance can always ruin a good under bet, but I took the under at 234.5. The Wolves have wing defenders and rim protection (if Gobert or Reid can play) to challenge Boston, and they limit enough 3s to at least take some of the offensive edges off.

Meanwhile, Boston should be able to apply pressure and limit an already mediocre offense with its length and switchability.

I like the value on Minnesota; the Celtics are not playing their best basketball and the Wolves are good at home. But the number isn’t high enough due to the free throw threat in a close game. I do make this 229.5, however, meaning I’ll play the under to anything above 230.5.

Pick: Under 233.5 — Play to 230.5

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