Timberwolves vs. Knicks: Target this 2nd-Half Wager

Andrew O'Connor-Watts previews Monday's NBA game between the Minnesota TImberwolves and the New York Knicks, including a betting prediction.

Timberwolves vs. Knicks Odds

Timberwolves Odds +7.5
Knicks Odds -7.5
Over/Under 224.5
Time 7:30 p.m. ET
TV NBA League Pass
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

The Minnesota Timberwolves travel to Madison Square Garden to take on the New York Knicks Monday night.

Minnesota is currently in the play-in race as the 9-seed, but is at risk of missing the playoffs entirely without some wins down the stretch. Just two losses separate the Wolves and the Blazers (13th in the West), so every game is crucial to keeping Minnesota’s playoff hopes alive.

The Knicks are squarely in the 5-seed in the Eastern Conference, but are just two losses behind the Cavaliers for fourth place and two losses ahead of the Nets for sixth place.

The Wolves need this game more, but are dealing with a rash of injuries to key players.

Let’s take a look at the odds and I’ll make a prediction for Timberwolves vs. Knicks.

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Minnesota Timberwolves

Minnesota picked a bad time for its injuries to start piling up. Rudy Gobert (ankle), Anthony Edwards (ankle), Austin Rivers (back) and Naz Reid (calf) are all questionable, while Jaylen Nowell (knee) is doubtful to play against the Knicks on Monday.

Gobert has played in 60 of the Wolves’ 72 games this season, which gives us a solid sample size of what things are like when he’s out of the lineup. The offense improves drastically, going from 113.3 per 100 possessions with him in to 118.1 per 100 with him out, and average 121.1 points per game.

Edwards was in a boot as recently as Saturday, which doesn’t bode well for him suiting up Monday night. If he sits, we have just a one-game sample size without him — Saturday night’s loss to the Raptors. In that game, Minnesota’s offense struggled to finish the game without a go-to scorer down the stretch.

However, the Wolves’ play out of halftime was strong and they were tied with the Raptors until the last two minutes of the third quarter. They even went over the third quarter total of 54 — a high-scoring quarter for Minnesota all year (44-27 to the over).

New York Knicks

With Jalen Brunson (foot) back in the mix for New York, the Knicks were able to come away with a home win against the tumbling Nuggets after overcoming a five-point halftime deficit.

The Knicks locked down the Nuggets in the third quarter and held them to just 24 points.

That Nuggets game was a defensive anomaly compared to their usual third quarters, where they rank 25th in third quarter defensive rating (118.1) and are 41-31 to the over.

While the Knicks’ have played well lately, it hasn’t been because of their defense. According to Cleaning the Glass, over its past nine games, New York has held opponents under 112 points per 100 possessions just once.

That one game was against the Portland Trail Blazers who rank 28th in offensive rating over the past 10 games, ahead of only the Charlotte Hornets and Detroit Pistons.

Timberwolves-Knicks Pick

I lean to the over in this game — especially in the third quarter. The Wolves are the most profitable team to the third quarter over on the road (26-9) with a 40.3% ROI, according to EV Analytics. The Knicks are the fifth-most profitable team at home (22-14) with a 14.5% ROI.

The Knicks are 16-9 to the full game over as home favorites, according to Statmuse. The Wolves are 16-8 as road underdogs, but with so many injury question marks, I’ll wait on official lineups before placing any bets.

Make sure to follow me in the Action app for an updated pre-game play in this one (username: aoconnorwatts), but in all likelihood I’ll take a third quarter over if Edwards plays.

Because of the Knicks horrible third-quarter defense, I’ll look for an in-game betting opportunity at halftime. If the game is trending under at the halfway mark, I’ll look to bet the over if we can get at least four points better than the closing line.

The Wolves are 37-24-3, 61% to the over in the second half this season (15% ROI), while the Knicks are 37-30, 55% (5% ROI).

Pick: 2H Over