Cavaliers vs. Wolves prediction, player props and best bets against the spread and moneyline

Two of the better but also banged-up teams in the NBA, the Cavaliers and Timberwolves, will face off tonight at 7:30 p.m. (ESPN). The Cavs will be looking to leapfrog the Bucks and move back into second place in the East, while the Wolves hope to remain in first in the crowded West. We’ll get you prepped to bet on this battle of behemoths, highlighting the odds, stats and trends to know, injury updates and best bets for the evening.

When the injury bug bites the NBA in the home stretch of the season, it bites hard. With All-Star Donovan Mitchell and Max Strus already missing time due to knee issues, Cleveland also lost stud big man Evan Mobley to an ankle injury in the Cavs’ comeback win against the East-leading Celtics on Tuesday.

As for the Wolves, they revealed that they will be without 7-foot sharpshooter big Karl-Anthony Towns indefinitely due to a torn meniscus. KAT has averaged 22.1 points, 8.4 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game while shooting 50.6 percent from the field and 42.3 percent from 3-point land.

MORE: Every NBA contender’s biggest question mark

Still, these teams have proven time and again that they can withstand setbacks. Minnesota has won eight of its past 11 games, with Chris Finch’s guys continuing to play the most stellar defense in the NBA. And the Cavs’ 34-11 fourth-quarter run to erase a 93-71 deficit and beat the Celtics was one of the most thrilling nine-minute stretches of the season (after we got a stunning half-court game-winner from Strus last week!).

Will Anthony Edwards, Rudy Gobert, and the Wolves rally on the road without KAT and beat the undermanned Cavs? Or will J.B. Bickerstaff’s squad hold court and move to 22-11 at home? Let’s get to the odds for the Cavs vs. Wolves and unveil our best bets from BetMGM.

Cavaliers vs. Wolves points spread and moneyline

All odds and props are from BetMGM, an authorized gaming operator of the NBA.

  • ATS: Cavaliers +1.5 (-110) | Wolves -1.5 (-110)
  • Moneyline: Cavaliers +125 | Wolves -110
  • Over/under: O 220.5 (-110) | U 220.5 (-110)

The Wolves enter as slight road favorites, with oddsmakers acknowleding the Cavs’ significant weaknesses without leading scorer Donovan Mitchell, top defender Evan Mobley, and potentially even sharpshooter Max Strus. That’s about all the books want to give Cleveland, though, as J.B. Bickerstaff’s team continues to defy the odds this season.

The Cavaliers enjoyed a 17-1 stretch between January and February despite playing without Mobley and starting point guard Darius Garland. They’ve enjoyed multiple dramatic comeback wins and they’ve won 12 of their past 15 home games. The Wolves have won three straight meetings with the Cavs, but enter tonight on the tail end of a road back-to-back.

Cavaliers vs. Wolves predictions, best bets

You can question our sanity all you want, but we’re going bold today and siding with the Cavaliers. This team has showed a moxie and a collective poise through setbacks of which few squads in the Association are capable and Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse continues to be one of the tougher arenas to visit.

Missing KAT and riding a back-to-back, we have our reservations about Minnesota’s late-game offense. We’ve listed Chris Finch as a worthy soon-to-be runner-up for Coach of the Year (my bet is on OKC’s Mark Daigneault), but we also can’t overlook the fact that the Wolves average the seventh-fewest fourth quarter points.

Cleveland always has a plan, from the opening tip to the final whistle. Minnesota often looks like it’s winging it — especially late in games — and often relies too heavily on its defense. Late-game execution and clutch shooting have so often been boons for the Cavs and busts for the Wolves. How will Anthony Edwards respond to double-teams? Who steps up and stretches the floor for Minnesota? Don’t overlook the clear question marks.

This will obviously be a grind for the Cavs, who struggled to hit shots in a 112-101 loss in Atlanta on Wednesday. But remember, that was the tail end of a road back-to-back after a heroic comeback W over the best team in the league. And considering Garland, Dean Wade, Caris LeVert and Sam Merrill combined to shoot 13-of-48 against ATL, it’s actually kind of impressive Cleveland only lost by 11.

With a rest advantage and a solid game plan against the visiting Wolves, we think the Cavs can once again mount an upset on national TV. Let’s go, betting friends — fortune favors the bold!

FINAL SCORE PREDICTION: Cavaliers 113, Wolves 109 — The Cavaliers win (+125) and cover (-8.5), with the score going just OVER the total (220.5).

Cavaliers vs. Wolves: Top player prop bet

Sam Merrill 3-pointers — OVER 1.5 (-125)

As stock analysts often say, “buy the dip.” Merrill went 0-for-9 from 3-point land on Wednesday, a truly ice-cold performance. But the fourth-year pro hit 13 triples over the Cavs’ prior three games (4.3 per game) and Minnesota just allowed the lowly Blazers to knock down a whopping 16 treys on Monday. Let’s back Sam the Man to bounce back, and hope the sleeper prop pick comes through for us.

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