Minnesota Timberwolves vs Boston Celtics: Prediction, Starting Lineups, Odds (12/23/22)

Even with the return of Jayson Tatum, the Boston Celtics woes continue after another loss. This time to the feisty Indiana Pacers as the Celtics offense could once again not find life. This makes three straight losses in a row while the Timberwolves are coming off of a loss as well. While the Celtics still sit in the upper echelon of the Eastern Conference, their gap is closing as urgency creeps in to get their season back on track. Can they handle business tonight against the Timberwolves?

Minnesota Timberwolves vs Boston Celtics Betting Odds

Oddsmakers like their chances as they opened the Celtics up as a -8 favorite. Bettors are also in agreement, taking the Celtics up to as high as -10. While Marcus Smart is questionable with a non-covid illness, the Celtics come in mostly healthy against a Timberwolves squad missing one of their best players in Karl-Anthony Towns. With a potential advantage down low, the Celtics offense should have little issue generating high quality looks at the rim.

Speaking of high quality looks at the rim, oddsmakers think points will be scored in a flash as they opened the total up to as high as 232. Bettors on the other hand believe that the scoring woes will continue by taking the under down to as low as 229.5 in some shops. While both offensive units currently rank above average in Adjusted Offensive Efficiency, both have drastically struggled as of late to find scoring consistency.

Minnesota Timberwolves vs Boston Celtics Prediction

The Pick: Under 230.5

Until the Celtics can prove that they can find their elite offensive efficiency, I will take the under as they have looked brutally stagnant on that end. Even with the return of Jayson Tatum, who exploded for 41 points in his return, the Celtics as a whole have looked disinterested and anemic for long periods at a time.

They built their offensive identity off of being one of the best perimeter shooting units in basketball, ranking near the top of the league in three pointers made per game. A staple of today’s game as the Celtics offensive identity molded into the hyper efficient Warriors. The issue is that they have drastically slowed their pace and have now struggled to get clean looks from deep as opposing defenses have anchored down the perimeter.

One potential detriment is that this potentially sets up as a nice bounce back for the Celtics scoring opportunities as the Timberwolves rank well below average in average points given up. Although the game script may call for the Celtics to look for perimeter looks as Gobert is one of the best rim defenders in the league and will limit high quality looks at the rim.

Betting Trends

  • Under is 4-1 in Timberwolves last five games following a ATS loss
  • Under is 6-1 in Celtics last seven games after scoring 100 points or more in their previous game

Key Matchups

Will the Celtics be able to limit the guard production of the Timberwolves?

Timberwolves scoring production vs Celtics defense

While the Celtics offensive woes may make another appearance for a game where they need to produce from the perimeter at an efficient rate, it’s their defense that will be the key metric to watch for our under ticket to cash.

While the offensive production has drastically dropped, their defense has still maintained an elite rate in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency. They now get an opposing offense that is missing a key piece of their scoring identity, making them more one dimensional with a brunt of their scoring coming from guard play.

With a lack of a down low presence, the Celtics will not have to sacrifice perimeter play, giving more focus to slowing down Anthony Edwards and D’Angelo Russell. Marcus Smart plays a key role here should he suit up as he is one of the most disruptive defensemen in the league.

Verdict

With the Celtics offensive woes continuing and the Timberwolves playing without one of their key scorers, take the under at no lower than 230 in what will be a defensive slugfest.

Minnesota Timberwolves Starting Lineup

PG: D’Angelo Russell
SG: Anthony Edwards
SF: Jaden McDaniels
PF: Kyle Anderson
C: Rudy Gobert

Boston Celtics Starting Lineups

PG: Marcus Smart
SG: Derrick White
SF: Jaylen Brown
PF: Jayson Tatum
C: Al Horford

Key Injuries

Minnesota Timberwolves Injuries: Kyle Anderson (Q), Rudy Gobert (Q), Taurean Prince (O), Karl-Anthony Towns (O)

Boston Celtics Injuries: Marcus Smart (Q), Danilo Gallinari (O)

Kody is a sports betting writer here at Lineups. He specializes in college sports as well as the NFL and NBA. He won’t quit believing in the Lions Super Bowl chances even when they are eliminated.

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