Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Memphis Grizzlies – April 2, 2021

By Dean McHugh in NBA
| April 2, 2021 8:01 am PDT

It’s getting right in the race for the pre-playoff spots in the West, and every game must feel like a must-win one for the Grizzlies right now. They know there is little hope of them securing an automatic playoff place as the gap between them and the Trail Blazers widens by the day.

The Timberwolves are rooted to the bottom of the Western Conference, but they haven’t given up hope of chasing down the Rockets and avoiding finishing last this season. It’s all about planning for the future for Minnesota. If they can finish the season strong, then it will give them confidence heading into next season. It could also help them attract talent in the off-season.

They face a team tonight that has dominated them recently, so much so that they have lost the previous seven meetings with them. Their last meeting was at the beginning of the year when the Grizzlies picked up a comfortable 11-point victory.

That night the Timberwolves led by ten points going into the last quarter, but they fell to bits and lost the last quarter by a whopping 21-points. To make things worse, the Timberwolves haven’t enjoyed their time in Memphis either, winning only once in their previous eight visits.

Although the Grizzlies have dominated this fixture in recent years, they have only averaged three more points per game than the Timberwolves in their previous ten encounters. This suggests that when Memphis has won, it has been smaller margins, and on the odd occasion that Minnesota has won, it has been by a wider margin.

Here is my Timberwolves vs. Grizzlies betting preview.

Timberwolves vs. Grizzlies Odds

Timberwolves +7-110
Grizzlies -7-110
Timberwolves To Win+240
Grizzlies To Win-270
Over 232 Points-110
Under 232 Points-110

The spread is exactly what I expected it to be and will be hard to take on either way. However, the points total looks massive, and I can’t see these two teams getting anywhere near it.

When they met at the beginning of the year, the Grizzlies were given a start by the bookmakers, highlighting that a lot has changed since then.

Memphis hasn’t done too well against Western Conference opposition at home this season, as they have only managed to win four of their 14 matches played at the Fed Ex Forum.

Timberwolves Analysis 

If the Timberwolves are to win tonight, they will have to do something that they have failed to do all year, and that is win back-to-back games. They picked up a narrow one-point victory over the Knicks last time out. What was most impressive about the win was they trailed by ten points heading into the last quarter. With little to play for this season, they could have easily thrown in the towel, but they didn’t, and they fought back courageously.

Their form on the road has been the worst in the Western Conference this season, and they have only managed to pick up five wins from 24 attempts. Although they have lost their previous two away fixtures, they have picked up two of those five wins in their last five road trips. These wins came against the Pelicans and the Suns, two in-form teams.

Here are the latest betting trends for Minnesota:

Against The Spread

  • Minnesota is 7-13 in their previous 20 matches.
  • The Timberwolves have only won one of their last eight games against the Grizzlies.
  • They have lost on six of their previous seven trips to Memphis.
  • Minnesota has only won one of their previous five matches against Western Conference opponents.

All of the above stats show how difficult it will be for the Timberwolves to leave Memphis with the win tonight.

Points Total

  • Five of their last seven games have gone under the betting total.
  • Only one of their previous five matches against teams based in the Southwest Division has failed to go over the point total.

There isn’t anything to go on here.

Other Pointers

  • The Timberwolves are 5-15 in their last 20 games.

This confirms the dreadful run of form that Minnesota is in right now.

The Timberwolves have a poor offense this season, primarily down to a low field goal percentage of 43%. Their three-point shooting hasn’t been much better as they have one of the lowest success rates in the league. This is despite Malik Beasley being amongst the top five three-point shooters in the league. Beasley is having a good season this campaign, and it appears that he hasn’t let his off-court dramas affect his performances.

Despite having a poor away record, Minnesota is averaging a couple of points more per game on the road this season.

Their defense is even worse, which is predominantly down to their poor marking as they are allowing their opponents far too much time and space on the ball. This ill-discipline has been their biggest downfall this season, which suggests that they need to work on things in training.

They also haven’t rebounded the ball well in defense either, which, combined with their sloppy marking, is a recipe for disaster.

However, they are making a high number of steals, which has been their primary source of winning possession. If they can maintain that and improve their rebounding, they could start seeing more of the ball. This should, in theory, result in them scoring more points each game.

They are also ranked amongst the best teams for blocks made in the NBA this season, so there are areas that they can build upon.

The Timberwolves will be without Russell tonight, who misses out with a knee injury. Shooting guard Okogie is listed as questionable to feature as he has spent some time in quarantine recently and will need to get the all-clear from the league to return.

Grizzlies Analysis

The Grizzlies head into this matchup in poor form, having lost three of their previous four games. Their sole victory would have been pleasing for the Timberwolves as it came against the team they are chasing down to avoid finishing last, the Houston Rockets. It was a topsy-turvy game, and the Grizzlies only really took over in the final quarter of the match. To be fair to Memphis, their three defeats during this period all came against Utah, who are running away with the Western Conference this season.

They haven’t been great in Memphis this season, and their record of 11-14 is amongst the worst in the Western Conference. However, they haven’t suffered back-to-back defeats at home for a month now, so winning will be challenging for the Timberwolves.

Here are the latest betting trends for Memphis:

Against The Spread

  • Memphis has only lost one of their previous seven matches.
  • They have won six of their last seven home games.

Despite suffering a few losses recently, the Grizzlies have performed better than the bookmakers have anticipated.

Points Total

  • Five of their previous six matches have gone over the betting total.
  • Only two of their last six games against Minnesota have failed to go over the points total.
  • The total has gone over in four of their previous five games against west coast opposition.

All signs point to a high-scoring, entertaining game.

Other Pointers

  • The Grizzlies have only won one of their previous six games against teams from the Northwest Division.
  • Memphis is 3-10 in their last 13 matches played in April.

These trends suggest that it could be a difficult night for the Grizzlies.

The Grizzlies also have a sub-standard offense this season, and their biggest weakness has been their three-point shooting which currently stands at a success rate of only 34%.

Another area they will look to dominate will be in the rebounding department. The Grizzlies are averaging 11 offensive rebounds per game, which is the second-highest average in the league.  This has primarily been down to the exploits of their larger-than-life Lithuania, Jonas Valanciunas.

Their defense has been better and could be the key to winning this match. However, you would be hard-pressed to describe it as anything better than average.

Much like their opponents tonight, Memphis also makes a large number of steals per game. Therefore, whoever manages to hold on to possession better tonight could pick up the win.

Memphis will be without Winslow and Jackson Junior tonight, who both miss out through injuries. Allen and Clarke are both listed as questionable to feature, and we won’t know until tonight if they will play a part.

Timberwolves vs. Grizzlies Betting Pick

Pick
  • Under 232 Points
    -110

I believe this game could be slightly closer than the bookmakers are expecting. I favor the Grizzlies, but I couldn’t back them at those odds as they offer no value whatsoever. As previously mentioned, the points total looks far too high for a matchup featuring too poor offenses that have struggled to shoot this season.

They have combined for only 213 points in their previous ten meetings, and their combined average this season is 220. The under looks a fantastic bet here.

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