Nobody expected the Minnesota Timberwolves to sit atop the Western Conference standings this late in the year. Yet, here we are. They are playing some great basketball and our NBA picks see them keeping it close against another elite Western foe in LA.
The top two teams in the Western Conference meet tonight, a touted tilt available on NBA TV and no channel more widely available. The NBA may not have expected the Minnesota Timberwolves to be atop the standings this late in the season, but when there is no other late-night game the night after the Super Bowl, some availability would have made more sense.
Instead, the Los Angeles Clippers will try to vanquish a nagging trouble without maximum viewership. The Clippers have lost three straight against the Timberwolves and five of their last six, including three losses when Los Angeles was favored.
Betting on Minnesota to spring another upset of this particular title contender may be a bit too bold considering the NBA odds, but something along those lines leads our free NBA picks and predictions as we preview the Timberwolves vs the Clippers on February 12, with tip set for 10:30 ET.
Timberwolves vs Clippers odds
Timberwolves vs Clippers predictions
It is difficult to pinpoint a trend on why Minnesota keeps topping Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Clippers owned this head-to-head matchup even after the Minnesota Timberwolves sparked their offense at the point guard position when they brought in D’Angelo Russell in 2020. Minnesota started winning these games in the second half of the 2021-22 season, most notably prevailing in the inaugural play-in game in April of 2022.
Russell and Edwards carried the Wolves that night, combining for 59 points.
If not crediting the point guard, what shifted in the last three games? Probably Minnesota’s defense. In those three games, Jaden McDaniels and Anthony Edwards have combined to average 33.6 minutes apiece. In the first of them, when Edwards was knocked out with a hip worry, Kyle Anderson played nearly 31 minutes and logged a +/- of +31. When Karl-Anthony Towns was out for much of last season, Anderson played nearly 26 minutes against the Clippers.
Even with a healthy roster last month, Anderson played nearly 27 minutes, notably more than his average of 21.9 this season.
If the emphasis has been McDaniels, Edwards, and Anderson, then the emphasis has been on defensive length. By no coincidence, Paul George and Kawhi Leonard have averaged a combined 45 points in the two games they have played together in this stretch against Minnesota. Sure, that is effective, but it is not dominant. And this Los Angeles roster was built for those two to be dominant.
McDaniels is questionable tonight with a left index finger sprain, but he partook in morning shootaround, testing his left hand and its wrap with some floaters in the lane. Logic expects McDaniels to play.
Minnesota has made life difficult for Los Angeles of late thanks to its defense, and that defense has only improved this season. That defense should minimize any edge tonight, making the spread of 4.5 points in favor of the Clippers a bit too much.
My best bet: Timberwolves +4.5 (-109 at BetRivers)
Timberwolves vs Clippers same-game parlay
Whenever basing a bet on the Timberwolves’ defense, put some emphasis on Rudy Gobert’s offensive output. They are genuinely intertwined. Obviously, Minnesota relies on Gobert to dictate the defense. It tends to thank him for that hard work by finding him on offense.
That happens most often when Mike Conley is in the lineup. Conley missed a few games last month with a balky hamstring, but in the five games since he returned to the lineup, Gobert has averaged 16.8 points, clearing this points prop in all but one game.
Conley is not the only one in the Timberwolves lineup to find Gobert near the hoop, but he does it better than anyone else. And in doing so, Conley collects assists. In his last four games, he has set up at least eight buckets in each, averaging 8.8 assists per game.
This duo’s play of late gives each a cushion compared to these props. In some respects, those two legs of this same-game parlay may be the same bet.
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Timberwolves vs Clippers spread and Over/Under analysis
As you were taking the wings off the grill before the Super Bowl, this spread opened with the Clippers favored by 3.5 points, slipping to -4 while Travis Kelce serenaded Las Vegas on the stage on the field and climbing to -4.5 early Monday morning.
McDaniels’s finger could cause some of that, but more likely, that line movement is the betting public recognizing Los Angeles’s surge of late. The Clippers have gone 18-4 outright since Christmas and 14-8 against the spread. Of course, one of those losses came as a one-point favorite at Minnesota in mid-January.
The total opened at 222.5 and moved to 223 early Monday morning, then settling at 224 before lunchtime. Again, one might tie that to McDaniels, but the better thought may be Conley’s health, Gobert’s rhythm and the Timberwolves’ hopes of Monte Morris steadying the second unit’s offense.
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Timberwolves vs Clippers betting trend to know
The Timberwolves are 6-2 ATS in their last eight games against teams currently above .500. Find more NBA betting trends for Timberwolves vs. Clippers.
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Timberwolves vs Clippers game info
|Crypto.com Arena, Los Angeles, CA
|Monday, February 12, 2024
|10:30 p.m. ET
|Bally Sports SoCal, Bally Sports North Extra
Timberwolves vs Clippers latest injuries
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