San Antonio Spurs (5-5) at Minnesota Timberwolves (6-4)
NBA: Wednesday, November 13th, 2019 at 8:00 pm ET (Target Center)
Line and Odds: Minnesota Timberwolves -1.5 Over/Under: 229
Free ESPN NBA Picks Minnesota Timberwolves vs. San Antonio Spurs
The first 10 games of the San Antonio Spurs’ season could reasonably be split into 2 halves. In their first five-set of games, the Spurs went 4-1. San Antonio secured wins over the Knicks, Wizards, Trail Blazers, and Warriors. Their lone loss came at the hands of the Los Angeles Clippers, a 103-97 defeat in the Staples Center. In their last 5 games, they’ve done just the opposite. San Antonio has gone 1-4 since starting the season 4-1. They have lost to the Lakers, Hawks, Celtics, and Grizzlies with a 121-112 home win over the Oklahoma City Thunder in the middle. If we chose to look at it another way, the Spurs are 2-5 since they opened their season with those first 3 home victories (Knicks, Wizards, and Trail Blazers). San Antonio has had one of the easier schedules in the NBA, and they haven’t yet beaten a team with a winning record. They have also had a home-heavy early schedule, with 7 of their first 10 games being played in San Antonio. This game will offer San Antonio’s 2nd toughest road test of the season (aside from the Clippers game earlier in the year).
San Antonio ranks 15th in net rating, getting outscored by opponents by 0.5 points per 100 possessions. The Spurs’ offense ranks 10th in offensive rating, scoring 109.1 points per 100 possessions. Their strong offensive numbers come in spite of the fact that their shooting numbers from the field are poor. They rank just 21st in effective field goal percentage. However, they rank #1 in offensive rebounding percentage and 6th in free throws made per 100 possessions. The San Antonio defense has been uncharacteristically subpar. They rank 19th in defensive rating, allowing 109.6 points per 100 possessions. San Antonio ranks 22nd in effective field goal defense and 29th in opponent turnover percentage. To their credit, they are 2nd in defensive rebound percentage and 6th in opponent free throw attempts per 100 possessions. San Antonio might be the best rebounding team in the NBA. Coach Gregg Popovich’s emphasis on rebounding can seen on the stat sheet. 4 Spurs average at least 6.1 rebounds per game (Dejounte Murray, Trey Lyles, Rudy Gay and LaMarcus Aldridge). The Spurs play at a moderate tempo, ranking 13th in the NBA in pace factor. They average 102.8 possessions per 48 minutes.
The Minnesota Timberwolves, much like the San Antonio Spurs, opened the season going 3-0 and winning 4 of their first 5 games. Minnesota began the 2019-2020 campaign with wins over the Brooklyn Nets, Charlotte Hornets, and Miami Heat. They have also beaten the Washington Wizards, Golden State Warriors, and Detroit Pistons. It’s hard to know what we have in this team, because the teams they have wins over aren’t particularly impressive. These are all teams that are below .500, with the Miami Heat being the notable exception. The Heat were without their best player, Jimmy Butler, when the Timberwolves beat them. Butler missed the Timberwolves game on paternity leave with the birth of his first child. Minnesota’s 4 losses came against the 76ers, Bucks, Grizzlies, and Nuggets. Other than the 137-121 road loss to the Memphis Grizzlies, each of these teams are formidable foes with playoff expectations. The Spurs are a solid middle-of-the-road team whose opposition will give us a chance to fairly judge Minnesota’s long-term capabilities.
Minnesota ranks 14th in net rating on the season, getting outscored by 0.4 points per 100 possessions. They rank 20th in offensive rating, scoring 106.2 points per 100 possessions. Minnesota’s offense is led by Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins. Both of Minnesota’s young stars average 25.5 points per game. Wiggins plays a role as a high volume scorer, while Towns scores, attacks the glass, and anchors the defense. The T’Wolves rank 24th in effective field goal percentage, with an eFG% of 49.9%. They shoot plenty of 3’s, but they struggle to actually make them. 41.9% of their shot attempts are 3-pointers, which ranks them 5th in 3-point attempt rate. However, they only hit 30.8% of their attempted 3-pointers (28th in the NBA). Minnesota ranks 15th in defensive rating, allowing 106.6 points per 100 possessions. The Timberwolves rank 20th in effective field goal defense and defensive rebound percentage. Minnesota does rank 3rd in opponent turnover percentage, forcing giveaways on 15.4% of their opponent’s offensive plays. Coach Ryan Saunders has Minnesota 5th in pace factor, as they average 105.9 possessions per 48 minutes.
Cover The Spread 365 Betting Trends
San Antonio is 2-8 ATS in their last 10 games.
San Antonio is 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games against Minnesota.
San Antonio is 16-2 SU in their last 18 games against Minnesota.
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Minnesota’s last 5 games against San Antonio.
The total has gone OVER in 6 of Minnesota’s last 8 games at home.
Minnesota is 2-7 ATS in their last 9 games when playing at home against San Antonio.
ESPN NBA Scores San Antonio Spurs vs. Minnesota Timberwolves
I’m taking the Minnesota Timberwolves -1.5 in this matchup. I’m a little bit surprised by the point spread. Minnesota laying -1.5 points would imply that the oddsmakers would have them as an underdog if these two teams played on a neutral court. I have no reason to believe that the Spurs are a better team than Timberwolves at this point. PG Jeff Teague has been dealing with injuries, but he is expected to play against San Antonio. The Spurs have been unable to beat a winning team all season, and they’re mired in a 1-4 stretch. Minnesota was forced to navigate a two-game suspension of their best player, Karl-Anthony Towns, but Towns has been playing well since his return. I have questions about San Antonio’s strength based partly on the weakness of their schedule, so far. This point spread should’ve been along the lines of Minnesota -3 or Minnesota -3.5, so Minnesota -1.5 has some solid value.