The Timberwolves are entering a new world — at least temporarily — without star Anthony Edwards. Expected to pick up the slack, our NBA betting picks are looking for Jaden McDaniels to have a good night.
The Minnesota Timberwolves are aggressively undermanned as they wrap up a quick East Coast road trip against the New York Knicks tonight, and the 8.5-point spread reflects that.
Without Anthony Edwards, do the Timberwolves have any hopes of an upset against Tom Thibodeau and Julius Randle?
Here are our free NBA picks and predictions for Timberwolves vs. Knicks on March 20, with tip set for 7:30 p.m. ET.
Timberwolves vs Knicks best odds
Timberwolves vs Knicks picks and predictions
The Minnesota Timberwolves are likely in for one of the roughest stretches of their up-and-down season after Anthony Edwards sprained his ankle on Friday night.
Edwards had not missed a game all season, and while he officially played against the Bulls, that eight-minute appearance may as well have been his first absence, followed up by another less than 24 hours later in Toronto.
Officially, the star third-year guard is questionable to play tonight, but there is absolutely no expectation he will. Exhibit A: Sportsbooks have not included him among player props for this game in New York. Exhibit B: NBA players do not writhe in pain on the court on Friday and come back with a bum ankle on Monday. It will take some time.
There is no quickly identifiable trend available without Edwards because he’s played all season. Before Friday, he had played fewer than 30 minutes in only three Timberwolves games this year. When he can play, he plays. It’s one of the things Minnesota fans love about him.
But there has been a recent trend not yet necessarily identified by the sportsbooks, one that should be only emboldened without Edwards.
Jaden McDaniels scored 43 points in the two games without Edwards, going 8-for-15 from three as he did so. He’s best known as a defensive stopper, arguably deserving of first-team All-Defense honors this season.
The Timberwolves, however, have been trying to emphasize McDaniels’ offense. They know their playoff ceiling likely depends on finding another scorer around Edwards, particularly now that D’Angelo Russell is in Los Angeles, and with no certainty on when Karl-Anthony Towns will return, Minnesota hopes that scorer is McDaniels.
Since Russell left the Timberwolves, McDaniels has made 44.78% of his threes, up from 37.06% in the season’s first 54 games. In 10 of the 15 games since Russell was traded, McDaniels has made at least two of them, averaging exactly 2.0 threes per game.
And while sportsbooks have begun to juice his threes prop toward the Over, they are still setting the Over/Under at 1.5 threes made by McDaniels. The last month and a half have made it clear that is a smart bet in normal circumstances. Without Edwards in the lineup, McDaniels will take a few more shots, making this an even more obvious bet.
But wait… scroll down at your sportsbook: Does it also have a “2+ made threes” prop?
At FanDuel, McDaniels to hit Over 1.5 threes is juiced at -138, but his prop to make 2+ threes is juiced at -135. Sometimes it is important to not only shop around at different sportsbooks but also to shop around within each sportsbook.
My best bet: Jaden McDaniels to make 2+ threes (-135 at FanDuel)
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Timberwolves vs Knicks spread analysis
That said, it is difficult to ascertain how Minnesota fares against the spread without Edwards because it’s been so rare.
Taking the Bulls to double overtime on Friday ended up qualifying as an ATS loss, but if it had been known Edwards would miss nearly the whole game, the 2.5-point spread would have assuredly been different. Falling straight up and ATS the next night in Toronto was more about the schedule than anything.
And those are the only two games Edwards has missed this season. So while this 8.5-point spread in the Knicks’ favor is obviously inflated a bit by his absence tonight, it is hard to say by how much.
New York has won its last three games, both straight up and ATS, as well as seven of its last 10, to surge into the fifth seed out East. And the Knicks will want to keep that standing, given it would allow them to face the Cavaliers in the first round of the playoffs rather than the 76ers.
And with Tom Thibodeau, winning a game may as well equate to winning it against the spread, because it is not like the Knicks head coach will call off the dogs no matter what his lead may be.
Timberwolves vs Knicks Over/Under analysis
This total fell by two points from its early Monday open of 230, settling at 228 by lunchtime, with some books considering 227.5. That may be a further reflection of Edwards’ absence.
More likely, it is a reflection of Thibodeau. Five of New York’s last six games have gone Under their totals, doing so by an average of 9.5 points. As the Knicks reach the stretch run, it seems Thibodeau is going to lean into his best self.
Both these defenses rank above league average, New York at No. 11 in team defensive rating since Feb. 1 and Minnesota at No. 13, per Statmuse.
Timberwolves vs Knicks betting trend to know
The Knicks are 6-1-1 ATS in their last eight home games. Find more NBA betting trends for Timberwolves vs. Knicks.
Timberwolves vs Knicks game info
|Location:||Madison Square Garden, New York, NY|
|Date:||Monday, March 20, 2023|
|Tip-off:||7:30 p.m. ET|
|TV:||MSG, Bally Sports North|