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Dallas Mavericks vs. Minnesota Timberwolves Game 1: Picks, Predictions, Odds and Player Props

It’s tempting to use a David vs. Goliath analogy to describe the Minnesota Timberwolves' stunning victory over the Denver Nuggets, but given both team's immense stature, it’s more like Goliath beating Godzilla.

In a wild series that seemed over six times before it finally titled Minnesota’s way permanently in the second half of Game 7, the Wolves stamped their ticket to their second Conference Finals in 20 years and announced themselves as legitimate favorites to win the title.

What the Dallas Mavericks did was only slightly less impressive. They took down an elite two-way Oklahoma City Thunder team despite middling offensive production by an injured Luka Doncic. Luka’s health status heading into this series looms large with both Western Conference Finals teams now just four wins away from the NBA Finals.

Dallas Mavericks vs. Minnesota Timberwolves Game 1 betting picks and predictions

Under 207 (-110)

That really just happened. The Timberwolves rallied from 20 points down, and 15 down in the second half, to beat the Nuggets on the road in Game 7.

The funny thing about that historic rally is that it didn’t look anything like other famous playoff comebacks. When the Warriors rallied to beat the Thunder in Game 6 in 2016, it took Klay Thompson getting molten hot from outside.

But nobody on the Wolves ever caught fire really, they just ramped up their defensive pressure to a degree that nobody, not even the reigning champs and the MVP, could penetrate.

As such, the Wolves’ half-court offense remains relatively unproven. Per Cleaning the Glass, the Wolves finished just 16th on offense during the regular season. Dallas had the NBA’s top defense for the final 15 games of the year and then held the Thunder to about 10 points per 100 possessions below their regular season efficiency.

The Suns were, to put it mildly, not an elite defense, and for all their virtues neither was this version of the Nuggets. The Mavericks will be the first truly elite defense to test this Minnesota team, and after what they just did to the Thunder, this series seems destined to make a 90s scorekeeper blush.

The Wolves in turn have personnel to show Luka and Kyrie multiple bodies. This series should be a grind.

Kyrie Irving Under 21.5 points (-125)

Kyrie Irving deserves immense credit for his play this season and for his willingness to do the little things during this playoff run that add up to winning. He’s defending at a career-best level, he’s keeping his teammates involved and moving the ball well, and he injects the Mavericks with a level of pace they should benefit from immensely against this Wolves team.

But perhaps because Kyrie has done all the little things so well, it’s gone fairly under the radar just how much he struggled to manufacture his own offense against the Thunder.

Irving averaged 25.6 points per game on north of 60% true shooting during the regular season. Against Oklahoma City, that dropped to 15.7 points on just 52.9% true shooting. Those are both abysmal marks for a player of his caliber.

Jalen Williams deserves immense credit for his play against Irving. His combination of length and athleticism really bothered Kyrie throughout the series, not just defending against his shots but forcing him to give up the ball much more than he would like. The Thunder also always had a mobile elite rim protector lurking behind the play in Chet Holmgren.

Unfortunately for Irving, this round will be no easier. While Luka will draw Jaden McDaniels most of the time, that still leaves Anthony Edwards and Nickeil Alexander-Walker taking turns against Kyrie. Edwards just spent seven games torturing Jamal Murray with his defense, and Irving and Murray are broadly similar players.

And instead of Chet, the Wolves have Rudy Gobert protecting the paint. Unless the Mavericks find a way to get Irving going off the ball more consistently, this should be another slow series for Kyrie.

Read more betting picks and predictions for the NBA on site.

Dallas Mavericks vs. Minnesota Timberwolves Game 1 odds

DAL Mavericks

+150 ML

MIN Timberwolves

-180 ML


MIN -4

Total Points

O/U 207

Dallas Mavericks vs. Minnesota Timberwolves Game 1 player props

Player points

Luka Doncic

O/U 28.5

Anthony Edwards

O/U 27.5

Kyrie Irving

O/U 21.5

Karl-Anthony Towns

O/U 19.5

Rudy Gobert

O/U 12.5

PJ Washington

O/U 12.5

Read Dallas Mavericks vs. Minnesota Timberwolves: How to watch, TV Channel, streaming start time, injury report and stats on site.

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Odds displayed within this article were correct at the time of writing and are subject to change.

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