The Western Conference matchup between No. 2 Memphis and No. 7 Minnesota has been one of the most entertaining opening round battles.
The Timberwolves earned a tough 119-118 home win in Game 4, which was the first game of this series decided by fewer than nine points. Each team is 2-2 against the spread, and the four matchups have produced exactly two unders and two overs.
Minnesota would like to avoid playing a road Game 7, putting even more importance on winning Tuesday Night’s game at FedEx Forum. With both rosters carrying minimal playoff experience, who should bettors back in this fantastic first round battle between two accomplished, but young teams?
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Grizzlies vs. Timberwolves Betting Odds
*Lines accurate at the time of publication.
Grizzlies vs. Timberwolves Best Bets
Grizzlies -6 (-110, FanDuel)
I have believed in Memphis all series.
Minnesota was a fashionable upset pick prior to this series and after a dominant Game 4 performance (33 points, 14 rebounds) by Karl-Anthony Towns, there are even more bettors who are still backing the No. 7 seeded Timberwolves to win this series. I think the Grizzlies put forth their best effort of the series in Game 5.
The Grizzlies are an NBA-best 54-31-3 (63.5%) ATS this season, including a league-leading 28-15 (65.1%) at home. Memphis has a strong interior defense that effectively suppressed Towns’ production until last game. Towns enjoyed much more freedom as a result of early foul trouble for Jaren Jackson and Xavier Tillman. Memphis should get a much better whistle at home, leading to more effective double-teams of Towns.
While Memphis star Ja Morant has seen a reduction in scoring, he continues to find success in creating opportunities for his teammates. Morant averaged 6.7 assists per game during the regular season but is averaging a robust 10.8 assists in this series. His passing ability has served as a conduit for big scoring output from Desmond Bane (23.3 PPG) and Dillon Brooks (17 PPG).
After a rough Game 1 home loss, Memphis responded with a dominant 124-96 victory in Game 2, and was very competitive in both road games in Minnesota. The Grizzlies held the Timberwolves to just 39.5% (30 of 76) from the field while forcing 19 turnovers. I expect a similar effort tonight from a Memphis group that has clearly been the better team over the entire four game series.
Risk: 1.10 units on FanDuel to win 1 unit. (Bet up to -120)
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Grizzlies vs. Timberwovles Game Total Under 232.5 Points (-110, DraftKings)
Unders continue to dominate the NBA playoffs, hitting at a 65% (26-14) rate. I expect the pace to slow in a critical Game 5, which tends to mirror the possession by possession anxiety of a Game 7.
Games 2 and 3 of this series were substantially under the projected game total, with Minnesota failing to crack 96 points in either Memphis win. When the pace of the game increases, the Timberwolves have a distinct advantage. Since I believe the Grizzlies will win this game, that needs to be tethered to a pick on the under.
In Minnesota’s two wins, Towns has averaged 31 PPG. In the Grizzlies two victories, his production drops to just 11.5 PPG. It’s difficult to see a Grizzlies team with the NBA’s fourth-best defensive rating this season, failing to limit Towns in a home game of this magnitude
I’m taking the under in a critical Game 5 that should see the Grizzlies best effort of the season, and a frustrating night for Minnesota’s key offensive weapon.
Risk: 1.10 units on DraftKings to win 1 unit. (Bet up to -120)
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