Nuggets vs. Timberwolves prediction, spread tonight: Jokic, Edwards props headline Thursday’s May 16 best bets

Included in this betting preview:


The NBA Playoffs have truly heated up in the second round, and the Nuggets-Timberwolves series has been one of the main catalysts. Tonight Minnesota will try to hold off three-time MVP Nikola Jokic and the reigning champions in a crucial Game 6 at the Target Center (8:30 p.m. ET).

When Denver last traveled to Minneapolis, the defending champs found themselves on the wrong end of a 2-0 series after getting punched in the mouth by fully emergent superstar Anthony Edwards, Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert and the feisty Wolves. Since then, the Nuggets have rattled off three straight wins.

Michael Malone’s squad can close things up in enemy territory tonight, with the status of veteran Wolves point guard Mike Conley (Achilles) once again in question after Conley missed Game 5. BetMGM still lists the Wolves as -2.5 favorites to extend the series, but a relatively modest -135 moneyline suggests the sportsbook hopes to limit its Nuggets-related liabilities after Denver took both Game 3 and 4 in this same arena.

Let’s get to the top BetMGM value bets for Game 6 of Wolves vs. Nuggets, including the best moneyline, spread, over/under and player prop wagers.

Best NBA playoff odds and picks: Top moneyline bet

Nuggets at Timberwolves (+110)

Draymond Green was way off-base with his criticism of Rudy Gobert following Nikola Jokic’s explosive 40-point, 13-assist, seven-rebound, and 0-turnover effort in Game 5. That MasterClass performance was more about Joker’s brilliance than Gobert’s incompetence — and when the three-time MVP is on like this, nobody in the world can stop him. 

MORE: Gobert criticism following Jokic’s Game 5 masterpiece misses point

What substitute analyst Dray was probably correct about, however, was that the Wolves are done. Denver has broken Minnesota. When Jokic plays this aggressively — like he has a score to settle — he’s the scariest player in sports.

As Michael Malone said at the start of the fourth quarter of Game 5 — while the Nuggets were in the middle of a run that saw them make 13-of-14 field-goal attempts — Jokic scoring like this opens up all sorts of offensive opportunities. Now the defense has to bring help, opening up three-point shooters, cutters, or Aaron Gordon in the dunker’s spot. Now Denver can absolutely crash the boards, because two Wolves bigs are getting pulled from the hoop so often. 

The reigning champions play chess, not checkers, a big reason why they’re able to get out to early leads and not squander them. Michael Malone might be the most underrated coach in the history of the NBA and Denver seems just as lethal as it did last year when it went 16-4 in the postseason. The Nuggets close out this series tonight.

FINAL SCORE PREDICTION: Nuggets 104, Wolves 99 — Denver wins (+110) and Minnesota fails to cover the +2.5 spread (-105), while the final score finishes just OVER the projected total of 204.5 (-110). 

WATCH: 2024 NBA Playoffs live on Sling

Best NBA playoff odds and picks: Top ATS pick 

Nuggets +1.5 (1H) at Wolves (-110)

Over the past three games, the Nuggets have outscored Minnesota in the first half by an average score of 56.7-44.7. That’s an average halftime margin of +12, for the mathematically-illiterate. Now Denver’s getting +1.5 after seemingly breaking the will of the Wolves on Tuesday!? Easy pickings. 

When Minnesota has its back against the wall, it has trouble punching its way out. We’ve seen it throughout the 2023-24 campaign in the form of fourth-quarter execution, clutch shots (or lack thereof) and tough teams winning the hustle game or dominating the glass.

Denver has all the answers right now, and it’s hard to envision Chris Finch’s squad mounting another seismic momentum swing in this series unless Anthony Edwards goes completely nuclear and drops 70 points. Expect the Nuggets to control the first half for the fourth game in a row and enjoy the added insurance with the 1.5-point buffer.

HALFTIME SCORE PREDICTION: Nuggets 53, Wolves 49 — Denver wins the half (+120) and covers the +1.5 halftime spread (-110), while the final score goes just UNDER the projected total of 204.5 (-105).

BUY NOW: Get tickets for 2024 NBA Playoffs on StubHub

Best NBA playoff odds and picks: Top over/under bet

Nuggets first-quarter team total OVER 25.5 at Wolves (-120)

Denver has scored 28-plus points in each of the past three first quarters of this series, two of which took place in the Wolves’ den (aka Target Center). Now the Nuggets get a chance to carry over momentum from three straight victories and more importantly close out the series to get some rest before the Western Conference Finals.

Denver has averaged 29 first-quarter points per away game since the start of the 2023-24 season, while Minnesota has allowed an average of 26.9 PPG in first frames. Look for Jokic and company to push tempo and put the Wolves on their heels early once again, reducing the late-game legwork for Joker and company. 

FIRST QUARTER PREDICTION: Nuggets 27, Wolves 26 — Denver wins the first quarter (+115) and covers the +1.5 spread (-120). The Nuggets finish OVER their first-quarter team total of 25.5 (-120), while the final score for the frame finishes just OVER the combined total of 52.5 (-110).

Best NBA playoff odds and picks: Top player prop bets

Nikola Jokic assists: OVER 8.5 (-110)

Let’s face it: Joker is the best player in the world. He did whatever he wanted in Game 5, as masterfully efficient and brilliantly dominant as ever despite pretty good defense from Gobert.

The three-time MVP finished with 40 points, 13 assists, and zero turnovers, and he should see plenty of double-teams in Game 6. That means better spacing for the Nuggets’ shooters, and better cutting lanes to the hoop for Gordon, Jamal Murray and company.

The conservative bet is OVER 8.5 assists — the bombs-away bet is Jokic triple-double (+225). Either way, expect another impressive performance from the reigning Finals MVP. 

Anthony Edwards points: OVER 29.5 (-105)

Ant-man laid an egg in Game 5, scoring just 18 points on 5-of-15 shooting. Don’t expect him to mount a second-straight dud and go out of the playoffs like a star who’s not ready for primetime.

Edwards has logged 33 points or more in two of Minnesota’s four home games this postseason, including a 44-point gem earlier this series. Thirty points seems like an easy target here. 

NBA playoff bets and spreads tonight: Full odds board

All odds courtesy of BetMGM, an authorized gaming operator of the NBA.

Game Time Moneyline Spread O/U
Nuggets @
Wolves
8:30
(ESPN)
MIN -135;
DEN +110
MIN -2.5
(-105)
204.5

NBA Playoffs updated bracket

NBA Playoffs bracket 2024

(TSN Illustration)

Source

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *