Timberwolves vs. Raptors Prediction: Take the underdog

The Toronto Raptors made it easy for the Minnesota Timberwolves when those teams met in February with a 103-91 win. Things could be very different on Wednesday, however, as both teams battle for playoff placement and try to avoid the play-in tournament.

When they met in February, the Timberwolves were at the end of a duel, playing their third game in four nights. The Raptors were well-rested, so it’s no surprise they held Minnesota at just 91 points at .93 points per possession. Wolves shot just 39 percent from the field and 23.8 percent from 3 but still maintained a lead early in the fourth quarter before melting together in the final 12 minutes.

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I think Wolves are the better team and my model reflects that. I’m making this game a pick ’em and I totally disagree with the market which has pinned the Raptors as the 2.5 point favorites. Outside of the Boston Celtics, the Timberwolves are the hottest team in the league since the All-Star break, with a 12-5 record and a net rating of 9.2 behind an offensive rating of 120.4 and a defensive rating of 111, 1.

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Although the Raptors have been in solid form, beating the Cavaliers, Pacers and an exhausted Celtics team resting their starters three straight wins, it’s a huge step up in the competition.

Karl-Anthony Towns should be enjoying a Raptors defense that’s marginally 22nd in field goal percentage (66.1), and I’m not sure the Raptors overall can match that offense. They are just 27th in half-court points per 100 possessions (91.2) and face a Wolves defense that has the 10th-best defensive rating on half-court (93.6).

Additionally, the Raptors tend to generate much of their offense during the transition period and are sixth at break in points per 100 possession (3.5), but the Wolves aren’t far behind as they lead at 2.4 are in 10th place.

The Games: Timberwolves +2.5 and Moneyline. Timberwolves vs. Raptors Prediction: Take the underdog


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