The New Orleans Pelicans (27-36) travel to Minnesota to take on the Timberwolves (19-43) in a game that will likely be up-tempo. The game’s Over/Under (O/U) has been set at 246 points with New Orleans opening as a 6-point favorite. Action gets underway at 3:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, March 8, 2020, and it can be seen on Fox Sports – North.
New Orleans Pelicans at Minnesota Timberwolves Free Preview
The last time the Pelicans played, they were victorious over the Miami Heat, 110-104, covering as 1.5-point favorites. With 19 points and 12 rebounds, Josh Hart played well for New Orleans. The Pelicans had a great offensive rebounding percentage of 30.0 (above their season average of 24.2) and held the Heat to an effective field goal percentage of 0.483 (below their season average of 0.549). The two teams combined to put up 214 points, which came in well under the projected point total of 232.
The Timberwolves failed to cover as 2.5-point underdogs in their 132-118 loss to the Orlando Magic in their last outing. Malik Beasley was the game’s high scorer with 29 points on 14-for-21 shooting. Orlando did a fantastic job of making free throws (23-31; 74.2 percent). Minnesota, meanwhile, had a turnover percentage of 7.0 (better than their season average of 12.5). The two teams combined to score 250 points, which came in well over the projected point total of 234.
There should be a fair amount of transition offense in this showdown that showcases a pair of the league’s more fast-paced teams. Minnesota currently ranks first in possessions per game (106.9) and New Orleans is third (106.7).
Games including these teams have typically gone over the O/U total. New Orleans games have finished over 55.6 percent of the time, while Minnesota games have gone over 58.1 percent of the time. Looking at straight up (SU) and against the spread (ATS) records, the Pelicans have a sizable advantage. They are 27-36 SU and 30-29-4 ATS, while the Timberwolves are 19-43 SU and 22-38-2 ATS.
Both teams have had a player heat up over their last five games. For the Pelicans, it’s been Lonzo Ball, who has averaged 17 points,8.6 assists,7.8 rebounds,2.4 steals, while the Timberwolves have gotten great contributions from Beasley (21 points).
These two teams have already met twice this season, each winning once. In the most recent matchup, the Pelicans lost 139-134, unable to cover as 10.5-point favorites. Jrue Holiday notched a triple-double with 27 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds. The two teams combined to put up 273 points, which was 25.5 points above the projected point total of 247.5 points. Minnesota did a terrific job of making free throws (17-20; 85.0 percent). New Orleans, meanwhile, had a better offensive rebounding percentage (28.9 vs. 24.4).
New Orleans Pelicans at Minnesota Timberwolves Odds Prediction
Prediction: SU Winner – Pelicans, ATS Winner – Pelicans, O/U – Over
The Pelicans rank fifth in fast break points per game (17.1) while the Timberwolves rank 25th (11.1).
New Orleans ranks third in assists per game (27.0) while Minnesota ranks 18th (23.9).
Minnesota averages 49.0 points in the paint per game, which ranks 10th in the league. New Orleans ranks 27th in points allowed in the paint per game (53.0).
Minnesota ranks 20th in points off turnovers per game (16.3) while New Orleans ranks 28th in points off turnovers allowed per game (19.1).
New Orleans is 15-12-4 ATS on the road, while Minnesota is 7-23-1 ATS at home.
In 31 road games, the Pelicans have 18 overs and 13 unders.
The Timberwolves have 16 overs and 15 unders in 31 home games.
New Orleans is 3-0 when they allow under 100 points, while Minnesota is 2-1.
The Timberwolves are 18-35 when they reach the century mark, while the Pelicans are 27-33.
The Pelicans rank 10th in blocks per game (5.1) while the Timberwolves rank 25th in blocks allowed per game (5.6).
Minnesota ranks fourth in steals per game (8.6) while New Orleans ranks 28th in steals allowed per game (8.5).
The Pelicans rank fifth in rebounds per game (46.9) while the Timberwolves rank 29th in rebounds allowed per game (47.5).
The Timberwolves rank third in three pointers attempted per game (39.9) while the Pelicans rank 15th in three pointers allowed per game (34.0).
New Orleans averages 14.5 second chance points per game, which ranks second in the NBA. Minnesota ranks 24th in second chance points allowed per game (13.7).
Minnesota is 2-3 ATS with 3 overs and 2 unders in its last five games.
Over its last five games, New Orleans is 2-3 ATS with 3 unders and 2 overs.
The Timberwolves’ average margin of defeat in their last five games has been 6.6, up from 4.1 for the season.
During their last five games, the Pelicans have scored an average of 119.4 points per game (3.3 above their season average) and allowed an average of 119.2 points per game (2.0 above their season average).