Denver quickly reminded everyone why they are the number one seed in the Western Conference after a near 30-point win in game one. They are now a -8.5 favorite going into game 2 but may potentially lose a massive piece with Nikola Jokic on the injury report. While he’s listed as Questionable, it’s pretty much certain that he will play. With or without him, my Minnesota Vs. Denver prediction is that the Nuggets may take a more conservative approach and play more friendly towards the under.
Minnesota Timberwolves vs Denver Nuggets Prediction
With a wrench seemingly being thrown into the Timberwolves offense and the potential of Jokic’s minutes being restricted in an effort to preserve him for a deep playoff run, I am taking the under at no lower than 222.5. The opening total of 223.5 is still widely available in some sportsbooks so be sure to line shop to always get the best possible number.
The Timberwolves lack of offensive flow is especially vital to our under ticket as the return of Rudy Gobert has set back their ability to create space. This is not a knock on Gobert as he is a capable scorer in the interior, but playing Gobert and Karl-Anthony Towns at the same time clogs up space and gives them less room to work with.
The lack of space is especially detrimental to star guard Anthony Edwards as he is an elite slashing threat. With Gobert and Towns bringing defensive attention down to the paint, this comprises Edwards ability to get a clean look at the rim. This stalls out their offense, resulting in multiple low quality looks at the rim for prolonged stretches of time. Especially with a lack of consistent shooting from deep, shooting a lowly 30.6% in their last game out.
Minnesota Timberwolves vs Denver Nuggets Betting Odds
As previously mentioned, oddsmakers believe we may be in for another blowout as they opened the Nuggets as a -8.5 favorite. Bettors have yet to take a firm stand on either side of the spread, keeping the number the same since the opener. Nikola sitting out would send the spread crashing down towards the Timberwolves favor, leaving a massive void in the interior as well as disrupting their offensive flow as well.
Speaking of offensive flow, oddsmakers believe points will be scored at a moderate pace as they opened the number at 223.5. Bettors are backing the under, taking the number down to as low as 222.5 in some shops as of writing. The under comfortably hit in the previous matchup as the Timberwolves offense stalled out throughout the full course of the game. Rudy Gobert’s return clogs the middle and their shooters have failed to find any sort of consistency from the outside.
- Over is 5-2 in the last seven meetings in Denver
- Timberwolves are 24-8 ATS in the last 32 meetings in Denver
- Timberwolves are 6-2 ATS in the last eight meetings overall against each other
Can the Timberwolves slow down the Nuggets scoring?
Denver facilitation Vs. Timberwolves defense
A brunt of Denver’s scoring success comes from their ability to facilitate at a high rate. Especially with Nikola Jokic running the show, playing as the best passing big man of all time. He can burn reeling defenses in transition or when on the block, making it hectic to defend as the Nuggets hunt for open gaps.
With Jokic hurt, this plays in the Timberwolves favor in the minutes he rests as they can afford to stay put on their man and limit the amount of opportunities created from shifting over. Especially in their efforts to defend the perimeter as the Nuggets rank fourth in Three Point Completion Percentage per TeamRankings.
The Timberwolves ability to anchor down on the defensive end as a top-10 efficient unit and limit the quality of looks the Nuggets shooters will get is a key reason why I think the under will cash in my Minnesota Vs. Denver prediction.
With Jokic potentially having his minutes restricted as he rests his wrist down the stretch, as well as Minnesota’s offense completely abandoning them, I will take the under at no lower than 222.5.
Minnesota Timberwolves Starting Lineup
Denver Nuggets Starting Lineups
Minnesota Timberwolves Injuries: Jaden McDaniels (O), Naz Reid (O)
Denver Nuggets Injuries: Nikola Jokic (Q)