Timberwolves vs. Celtics prediction, odds: Target this Anthony Edwards prop bet
On Wednesday night, the Timberwolves head to Boston for a mammoth showdown between the teams holding the top two records in the NBA.
While the Celtics (28-8) are coming off a controversial split against the Pacers in Indianapolis, Minnesota (26-10) will be on the second leg of a back-to-back following its 113-92 victory over Orlando on Monday.
It was a convincing performance in a game the Timberwolves never trailed and led by as many as 34 points. Karl-Anthony Towns led all scorers with 28 points on 11-of-19 shooting.
One Timberwolves player who had a reasonably quiet night was Anthony Edwards, who shot 2-for-7 and finished with just six points and the worst plus-minus of any Minnesota starter (+1).
The good news for the Timberwolves is Edwards played the fewest minutes (26) of the starters and should be relatively fresh to take on the Celtics.
Minnesota will need Edwards at his best to get past a Celtics team thats playing lights out.
With all the high-scoring games were seeing in the league this season, Minnesota is showing that defense still has to count for something. Per TeamRankings, the Timberwolves sit atop the league in defensive efficiency, allowing 105 points per 100 possessions.
Offensively, Minnesota hasnt been nearly as dominant, ranking 19th in efficiency.
Yet, the Timberwolves still have the second-best record in the league at 26-10 despite ranking fifth in Net Rating with a value of +5.5.
Overall, Minnesotas defense helps to control its games while ensuring the team never falls too far behind.
The Timberwolves beat the Magic on Tuesday. APTo better understand this Timberwolves team, you have to consider how they perform in clutch moments where the game is the final five minutes of the fourth quarter or overtime and the score is within five points.
Minnesota is 11-3 in these clutch spots with a league-best .786 winning percentage.
After eking out a five-point overtime win over the Celtics in early November, it wouldnt be surprising if theres another close finish Wednesday night.
Teams need their stars to shine bright in these colossal matchups, so expect a bounce-back performance from Edwards on center stage.
The Celtics are deserving of the top spot in the league, ranking second in both offensive and defensive efficiency metrics.
Opponents will always face a stiff challenge when facing a team so balanced on either end of the court.
Adding Kristaps Porzingis during the offseason has been a home run for the Celtics. He protects the rim (1.8 blocks per game), and his offensive game gives the Celtics another 20-point scorer alongside Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.
Moreover, Porzingis offers a perimeter threat, which the Celtics didnt have last season with Robert Williams III at center.
Boston’s Jaylen Brown. Getty ImagesWe know the Celtics like to spread the floor on offense while occupying the perimeter. Boston leads the league in attempts beyond the arc (42.8 per game) and 3-pointers made (16.1).
The Timberwolves are adept at defending the 3-point line, ranking third in 3-pointers allowed with 11.3 per game.
In their earlier meeting, Minnesota was right on the mark, limiting Boston to 11 3-point field goals on 28% shooting.
If the Timberwolves can put together another impressive defensive performance on the perimeter, we should be in line for another close game.
Timberwolves vs. Celtics pick
After opening as 6.5-point favorites, the Celtics are now laying as many as 9.5 points at BetMGM with most other books at nine.
As for the total, its been relatively flat, remaining at 223.5 since the opening.
Ive run my numbers for this game and cant find an edge with either side or the total at the current number.
As a result, I scoured the props market to find a play and settled on Edwards going over his points + rebounds + assists prop, which is available at 36.5 (-110) at PointsBet.
This is an excellent spot to back Edwards because hes coming off a very subpar performance.
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Moreover, given the quality of the opponent, Edwards will need to play his part in all phases of the game.
While I wouldnt rule him out from scoring 30 points, he has a great chance to go over this prop, given his team-leading usage rate of 32%.
In their November meeting against Boston, Edwards dropped 38 points, grabbed nine rebounds and dished out seven assists. Hes also gone over this number in his three previous games against the Celtics.
While this total feels short compared to what weve seen with the Celtics this season, Edwards is more than capable of stuffing the stat sheet, even in a lower-scoring affair.
Pick: Anthony Edwards over 36.5 points + rebounds + assists (-110, PointsBet)
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