Minnesota Timberwolves (47-35) at Houston Rockets (65-17)
NBA Basketball: Sunday, April 15, 2018 9 PM ET (Toyota Center)
Line and Odds: Rockets -11.5 –O/U:217
Free NBA Pick Minnesota Timberwolves vs Houston Rockets
Minnesota: The Minnesota Timberwolves ended their fourteen year playoff drought Wednesday night when they beat the Denver Nuggets in a thrilling overtime game at home. The game between these two teams served as a play in game, meaning the winner would move into the playoffs and the loser would start their off season. This exhilarating win earned the Timberwolves a number eight seed in the Western Conference and punched their ticket to Houston to battle with the Rockets. All eyes will be on all star swingman Jimmy Butler as he returns from injury. Butler missed seventeen games, in which the Timberwolves were 8-9 during that span. Whether or not Jimmy is at one hundred percent will be seen when he takes the court Sunday night. In just his fourth game since returning, he will be called upon not only to provide scoring, but to guard MVP front runner and scoring champion, James Harden. Even though the Timberwolves come in as an eight seed, they are loaded with talent and are very top heavy. The combination of Jimmy Butler, Karl-Anthony Towns, and Andrew Wiggins is no easy task for any team in the league. With that said though, this team lacks playoff experience and has struggled on the defensive end of the court, as they were ranked twenty third overall in terms of defensive efficiency during the season. The Timberwolves hope to get good production out of their big three while they attempt to steal a game in Houston.
Houston: The Houston Rockets come into game one of the series as the overwhelming favorites against the Timberwolves. The Rockets, unlike their opponents, played their last ten games on cruise control as they pulled away from Golden State en route to the one seed. Led by James Harden, the Rockets have formed what appears to be the perfect team, with the perfect head coach in Mike D’antoni. This isn’t a coincidence though. Rockets General Manager, Daryl Morey, went out and knit picked the perfect players to be apart of D’antoni’s masterminded system. This Houston Rockets offense is one of the best offenses of all time per 100 possessions. However, ever since James Harden arrived in Houston, offense hasn’t been an issue. What Houston has been scrutinized for in recent years has been their defense, or lack thereof I should say. With the additions of Chris Paul, PJ Tucker, Luc Mbah a Moute, and Gerald Green, defense is no longer an issue for Houston. Up twelve spots from last year, the Rockets finished the regular season as the sixth highest rated team defense in the league in terms of defensive efficiency. All the attention on the Rockets side will be geared towards James Harden, Chris Paul, and Mike D’antoni. Each of these three come in to this years playoffs with a chip on their shoulder after being criticized for their playoff ability throughout each of their careers. Look for the Rockets to come out guns blazing at home as they attempt to protect home court in game one of this series.
Cover The Spread 365 NBA Betting trends:
4-1 ATS in their last five
5-2 SU in their last seven
6-16 SU in their last 22 on the road
1-6 ATS in their last seven
21-4 SU in their last twenty-five
The total has gone under in four of their last five games
Free NBA Prediction Houston Rockets vs Minnesota Timberwolves
Both of these teams come in with a lot of firepower, there is no denying that. Looking holistically at the two rosters in this game I see an inexperienced playoff team in which many players are playing in their first ever playoff game on the road against the number one team in the league. Furthermore, I see Houston being able to get things done on the defensive end of the court. While the Rockets win this one, I don’t see them covering a huge double digit spread. I’m taking the Timberwolves to cover.