Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Miami Heat – NBA, May 7, 2021

By Dean McHugh in NBA
| May 7, 2021 6:46 am PDT

Minnesota travels to Miami this evening looking to turn down the Heat in this cross-conference matchup. The Timberwolves are playing for pride tonight, and they will want to avoid finishing last in the Northwest Division. A win here puts them level with the Thunder, and given Oklahoma’s form recently; they will fancy their chances of overtaking them.

Miami has a couple of fights on their hands and, therefore, still has much to play for this season. First and foremost, they will want to overtake the Celtics and gain the final automatic playoff berth in the east; a win tonight could see them move above them. There is also a chance that they can catch the Hawks in the race for the Southeast Division, and therefore they have plenty of motivation tonight.

However, tonight they face a team they have failed to beat in their previous six attempts. The last of those defeats came only last month in a high-quality matchup that the Timberwolves won by eight. They have also struggled at home to Minnesota, having lost six of the last seven games played in Miami.

But Miami does tend to start fast against the Timberwolves as they have averaged six more first-half points than them over the last ten meetings. However, they tend to run out of steam against them as they have then gone on to lose the second half by an average of eight points.

Timberwolves vs. Heat Odds

Timberwolves +6-110
Heat -6-110
Timberwolves To Win+200
Heat To Win-220
Over 221 Points-110
Under 221 Points-110

Given their Conference standings and the fact that the Heat have much more to play for here, you would have to say the handicap seems fair. The points total is perhaps a point or two lower than I anticipated and could be worth exploring further as the last three times these teams have met, they have averaged a combined total of 236-points.

Thoughts on the Timberwolves

Although the Timberwolves have lost their last two matches, they can’t be accused of lacking the entertainment value. They lost two high-octane encounters, which finished with total scores of 276 and 274-points. Minnesota had won their previous four games before those losses, including back-to-back wins over the Utah Jazz.

However, they have been dreadful on the road and bring the worst away record in the league to the table tonight. But to put into perspective the improvement they have shown recently, they have won three of their last four games on the road. Before that, they had only won five from 29 matches. Their only defeat on the road recently came in a narrow loss against the Kings. It was another entertaining matchup where the Kings had to shoot at 58% from the field goal range and 51% from the three-point range to beat the Timberwolves. This will be the Timberwolves’ last road trip of the season, and they will want to finish it strong.

Here are the latest betting trends for Minnesota:

  • They have only lost two of the last six matches against the spread
  • The total has gone over in ten of their previous 15 games.
  • The Timberwolves have won four of their last six matches.
  • Minnesota is 4-0-1 in their previous five games against the spread when taking on Miami.
  • Four of their last five visits to Miami have seen the betting total go over.
  • Only one of their previous seven games against teams in the Eastern Conference has failed to go over the points total.
  • They have only won one of their last ten matches against teams based in the Southeast Division.
  • Minnesota is 6-13 against the spread in their previous 19 games played in May.

Minnesota has a below-par offense that is averaging 111-points this season. Although they have picked up recently, their biggest problem has been their shooting, especially in the arc where they have a miserable success rate of 44%.

The good news for their fans or backers tonight is they are attacking much better on the road this season, averaging a couple more points per game.

Their biggest problem is their defense which is only better than one other defense in the league this season. They have failed to get close to their opponents regularly, and they have the highest three-point percentage against them in the NBA.

Therefore, you would guess they are sitting deep and making a high number of defensive rebounds…wrong. They are only averaging 33 defensive rebounds per game, which is amongst the lowest average in the league.

However, they are making many steals, which has been their primary source of winning the ball back this season.

The Timberwolves are making a high number of blocks this season, but it comes at a cost as in doing so, they are making an increased number of fouls, which needs balancing.

Minnesota will miss trio Beasley, Culver, and McDaniels for tonight’s game.

Thoughts on the Heat

Miami had a three-game win streak snapped by the Mavericks last time out. The Heat started fast, and they took a nine-point lead into the second quarter, but their long list of absentees soon took their toll, and they fell short in the end.

The Heat have been decent at home this season, having won 19 and lost 15 of their 34 matches at the American Airlines Center. Although they have lost two of their previous three home fixtures, they have won five of their last seven if you look at the bigger picture.

Here are the latest betting trends for Miami:

  • All of their previous seven matches have gone over the betting total.
  • Miami is 7-3 in their last ten games.
  • The total has gone over in their previous five matches with the Timberwolves.
  • Nine of their last 11 games have gone over the points total when playing at home in Miami.
  • The Heat is 13-7 in their previous 20 matches.
  • They have won 11 and lost five against the spread in their last 16 games played in May.
  • Miami has only won one of their previous five matches against the spread that has been played on a Friday.
  • The Heat have won 11 of their last 16 games they have entered as the betting favorite.

Miami has a terrible offense this season. Their biggest issue has been their rebounding which has been non-existent for most of the season. However, given how bad the Timberwolves have rebounded in defensive, this should become a factor this evening.

This is despite having the sharp-shooter Duncan Robinson in their ranks. Robinson made history recently by becoming the fastest player in NBA history to reach 500 three-pointers.

However, their defense is terrific, and they are only conceding 107-points per game on average.

Despite that, they have made the joint-lowest number of blocks in the league this season.

Miami will miss Oladipo tonight as he has a knee injury at present. There are also doubts over the fitness of both Butler and Herro, and they remain questionable to feature.

Timberwolves vs. Heat Pick

Pick
  • Over 221 Points
    -110

I think this game could be much closer than many would think. The Timberwolves are playing like a team with no pressure on their backs right now, and their free-flowing basketball is a joy to watch. It’s hard to ignore the fact that both teams are producing a high number of games that are falling over the points total, and this match could be no different.

Yes, the Heat does have a brilliant defense, but they will fancy their chances of laying down a marker tonight, and therefore, the emphasis could be on attack more. We could see lots of points here, especially if the Heat make their customary fast start against the Timberwolves.

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