Spurs vs Timberwolves Play-In Tournament Preview Expert Analysis NBA Betting

Spurs vs Timberwolves: Play-In Tournament Preview? | Expert Analysis NBA Betting

The San Antonio Spurs and Minnesota Timberwolves are both going to be in the Western Conference play-in tournament and their matchup on Thursday could be a preview of a potential game between them in that. The Wolves will be favored Thursday on the NBA odds.

How to Bet San Antonio at Minnesota NBA Odds & TV Info

  • When: Thursday, 8 PM ET
  • Where: Target Center
  • TV: NBA League Pass
  • Stream: NBA.com, NBA TV app
  • Radio: Tunein.com
  • NBA Odds: Wolves -8

Season Series

Minnesota looks for the three-game sweep. The teams last played on March 14 in San Antonio, and the Wolves won 149-139. Karl-Anthony Towns had a team-record 60 points — the most scored in the NBA this season (since tied). Towns shot 19 for 31 and grabbed 17 rebounds in surpassing his previous career best of 56 points against Atlanta on March 28, 2018 — which had been the franchise mark. Keldon Johnson had 34 points for San Antonio. Dejounte Murray added 30 points and 12 assists, and Lonnie Walker IV scored 22. Minnesota also swept the 2020-21 season series for the second time in history (1996-97).

Why Bet on San Antonio?

San Antonio played without All-Star guard Dejounte Murray on Tuesday in Denver but upset the Nuggets 116-97 and that coupled with the Lakers’ loss to Phoenix clinched the final play-in tournament spot for the Spurs. Coach Gregg Popovich said that it is “a bit improbable” that Murray (upper respiratory illness) will be available for Thursday’s game.

Tre Jones started for him again Tuesday and had 14 points and 10 assists. It was Jones’ his first double-double and over his past three starts, he’s averaging 13.7 points, 8.7 assists and 5.3 rebounds per game. Devin Vassell finished with 20 points and eight rebounds. Vassell has now scored 19 points or more in three of his last four games, and Keldon Johnson (20/8/3) and Josh Richardson (18 points) also played well for the Spurs. Johnson has embraced a bigger role on offense with Murray out and has scored at least 20 points in each of his last seven appearances.

The Spurs average 28.0 assists per game, for the most assists in the NBA. They had 31 in the win over Denver. San Antonio has recorded at least 30 assists in 31 games this season. That is the most such games by any NBA team in the league and is the most games by the Spurs in a single season in the last 38 seasons. Murray has 30 games this season with 10+ assists – most by a Spur since Avery Johnson has 36 in 1995-96. He is averaging 9.3 assists, good for No. 4 in the league.

On the flip side, the Spurs are averaging 12.8 turnovers tied for the sixth-best average in the league and a 2.19 assist/turnover ratio, which is best in the NBA. San Antonio sit 8th in offensive rating and because of Popovich’s they have not struggled consistently on that end of the floor. It’s actually been the defense that have let the Spurs down this season — currently sitting 24th in defensive rating. But that unit played well vs. Denver.

San Antonio will face New Orleans in the play-in tournament, it’s just a matter of which team hosts.

Why Bet on Minnesota?

The Timberwolves most likely will finish as the No. 7 seed in the West and host the Los Angeles Clippers in the first play-in tournament game. The winner of that gets the No. 7 seed in the playoffs and the loser would face the New Orleans-San Antonio winner for the No. 8 seed.

Minnesota was upset 132-114 at home vs. Washington on Tuesday. Kristaps Porzingis scored 25 points, including 12 in the third quarter as Washington took control, and the Wizards pulled away. Rui Hachimura tied a season high with 21 points and Daniel Gafford set season highs with 24 points and 12 rebounds off the bench for Washington. It was a disappointing loss for the Timberwolves after returning from a four-game road trip.

“We didn’t look like a team that was trying to make the playoffs,” star Karl-Anthony Towns said. “We looked a little lethargic. Can’t afford that on games like this against a team like this. It was like a trap game. I’ve been there when you’re out of the playoffs and you just want to spoil everyone’s fun. We knew what they were going to come with.”

The culprit in the loss was the Wolves’ defensive effort. It didn’t help that guard Patrick Beverley was out for the second consecutive game because of ankle and hip soreness. Washington shot 55% overall, 43% from three-point range and scored 72 points in the paint.

Towns had 26 points and 10 rebounds for a second straight double-double and third across his last four outings. Since his career-high 60-point outburst against the Spurs on March 14, Towns is averaging 23.0 points and 9.0 rebounds, which are both a tad bit below his season averages of 24.6 points and 9.8 rebounds per game.

D’Angelo Russell had 17 points and 11 assists for first double-double in nearly a month, as the guard led the squad in assists while reaching the 17-point mark for a third straight game. Anthony Edwards added 18 points but the former No. 1 overall pick has hit just 27.8 percent of his looks from three over his last two games, which is well below his season average of 36.0 percent.

The Timberwolves are averaging 5.6 blocks per game, tied for third in the NBA and 8.8 steals per game, ranking tied for third in the league in the category. Minnesota leads the league in opponent turnovers per game (16.3). Those turnovers have led to 19.7 points off turnovers per game, leading the NBA in the category.

Game Trends

  • Spurs are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games overall.
  • Spurs are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 road games.
  • Spurs are 12-4 ATS in their last 16 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
  • Timberwolves are 15-6-1 ATS in their last 22 games as a favorite.
  • Timberwolves are 10-4 ATS in their last 14 Thursday games.
  • Spurs are 0-7 ATS in the last 7 meetings.

Expert Prediction

  • Timberwolves 118, Spurs 112

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