By defeating the Denver Nuggets in a do-or-die matchup on Wednesday, the Minnesota Timberwolves have earned the right to face the…uhm… Houston Rockets in the first round, a team the ‘Wolves have not beaten yet this season. Will they break that skid this Sunday? Or will the Rockets draw first blood in the series?
Betting Preview for Minnesota Timberwolves vs Houston Rockets NBA Western Conference Round 1 Game 1 on April 15, 2018
Where: Toyota Center
When: Sunday, April 15, 2018, 9:00 PM EST
TV Broadcast: TNT
Betting on the Minnesota Timberwolves (+11.5)
The Timberwolves are headed to the playoffs after all. The team had to go though the eye of the needle to get the right to play beyond the regular season, beating the Denver Nuggets at home on Wednesday, 112-106. Jimmy Butler and Karl-Anthony Towns came through for the Minnesota, as they scored 31 and 26 points against the Nuggets, respectively. Those two are going to need that kind of performances, especially Butler, on a consistent basis for Minnesota to pull off a shock in the first round. The Timberwolves have failed to beat Houston in four tries in the regular season though no one could accuse Towns of not doing his part, as he led the team with 23.8 points o 56.9 field goal shooting percentage and14.8 boards in those games. Butler, however, scored just 16.0 points in the three games he played versus the Rockets in the regular season, so clearly, he needs to step up. That said, he already has the unenviable job of having to guard James Harden.
The Timberwolves are 5-2 ATS in their last eight games in Houston.
Betting on the Houston Rockets (-11.5)
James Harden and Chris Paul can stop yawning, as they now prepare for their first meaningful game in a long while. The Rockets finished the regular season with a league-best record of 65-17, and the ability they used to attain that slate will be put to test this Sunday. The Rockets have the second-best offense in the NBA with 112.4 points per game and are tops in average scoring margin with a +8.5. That’s also because the Rockets have a no-joke defense that surrendered just 103.9 points per game in the regular season. Harden is surely going to be a big cause of headache for Minnesota, as he had done four times prior to this Sunday’s playoff opener. Harden averaged 27.3 points in four games in the regular season against Minnesota to go with 10.5 dimes per meeting. Clint Capela is also going to be a huge factor at both ends of the floor, as he’ll be tasked to contain KAT while also trying to make him work on defense when the Rockets have possession of the leather.
The Rockets are 11-0 SU and 5-6 ATS in their last 11 home games against the Timberwolves dating back to 2013.
Houston wins but falls just short of the cover, 115-105.
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