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Vegas is finally showing Minnesota some respect. Is it too much? Plus, Indiana visits Cleveland.

Minnesota Timberwolves vs Detroit Pistons Prediction: Can Detroit Keep it Close?

Minnesota Timberwolves vs Detroit Pistons Prediction

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We have officially entered uncharted waters in Minnesota.

Well, uncharted ice. It'll be 16 degrees outside at tip off, after all.

The Wolves are favored in this game by 11.5 points, an increase in a half a point from the opening line. This is the first time this season they have the benefit of a double-digit point spread, with the closest previous occasion coming at home against the Oklahoma City Thunder a month ago, when they were favored by 9.5 points.

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The Wolves ended up winning that game by eight. They've had two other spreads over five points since opening week: a 6.5-point predicted margin in Houston in mid-January that they won by 18, and then three days ago, when they faced these same Pistons in Detroit and won by 11 on a 7.5-point spread.

So it's not like they can't win games going away. On the season, they're 9-7 as a home favorite with a positive 4.9-point margin against the spread that ranks fourth in the league. Better yet, since January 2, they have the fifth-best net rating in the league at positive 6.4. They are surging at just the right time.

They would also do well not to take this Pistons team for granted. Detroit may be tied for the fewest wins in the league, but they're an even .500 ATS. They've also covered their last three games they've been a double-digit dog, including games in Utah and in Denver, two historically difficult places to play.

The Wolves may be legitimately good, but this feels like a "prove it" game. One thing to watch though: Cade Cunningham is questionable with sore hip as of the time of this writing. If he sits, it's a bet for Minny or a stay away. But if he can give it a go, look for the Pistons to avenge their last defeat to the Wolves, maybe not with a win, but with yet another closer-than-it-should-be loss.

Minnesota Timberwolves vs Detroit Pistons Line Movement

Minnesota Timberwolves vs Detroit Pistons Pick

Indiana Pacers vs Cleveland Cavaliers Prediction

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Another game where the pre-game injury report is key.

Recently named All-Star Darius Garland has missed the last three games with a bad back. With the All-Star break just 10 days away and Cleveland in solid position for a playoff spot, it wouldn't be a surprise if they simply shut him down for a bit so he can fully heal up.

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If that's the case today, this game becomes a tougher call. The line factors in a Garland absence, but Cleveland shouldn't be counted out. They've won two of the three games Garland has missed, one against the solid Pelicans and most recently versus the Hornets in Charlotte. They also lost by 11 in Houston, so anything is on the table.

For Indiana, it's basically a countdown to the trade deadline to see who will be left on this team after the dust settles. They have just five wins against 16 losses since Christmas, although they are just a game under .500 ATS in that time.

Still, with both Domantas Sabonis and Malcolm Brogdon dinged with questionable tags for this one, it's impossible not to go with the third-best team against the spread in the NBA, and still the best team in the East by net rating. Give the points at home.

Indiana Pacers vs Cleveland Cavaliers Line Movement

Indiana Pacers vs Cleveland Cavaliers Pick

Article Author


Dean of Knicks Film School, host: KFS Pod, co-host: Pick N Pod. There isn't much about Knicks basketball that Jonathan doesn't know and he's here to break down the big games each and every week.


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