Cavaliers vs. Timberwolves NBA expert prediction and odds for Friday, March 22 (Take the over)

NBA betting preview, prediction and best bet for Cavaliers-Timberwolves. 

Mar 5, 2024; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward Dean Wade (32) and guard Darius Garland celebrate.
Mar 5, 2024; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward Dean Wade (32) and guard Darius Garland celebrate. / Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Two playoff-bound teams with injury concerns will meet up in the Target Center Friday night when the Timberwolves host the Cavaliers. Cleveland is clinging to a 1.5-game lead over the red-hot Orlando Magic for the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference.

Cleveland has been without leading scorer Donovan Mitchell for nearly a week and have split two games without the five-time All-Star guard. 

Minnesota has been without star center Karl-Anthony Towns, who recently underwent surgery on a meniscus tear in his left knee. Since Towns went down March 4, the Timberwolves have stayed in the hunt atop the Western Conference standings, going 4-3 following a tough 115-112 loss to Denver on Tuesday.

Minnesota is facing more injuries to its frontcourt Friday night when Cleveland comes to town. Can they cover as a short home favorite?

Here’s the betting preview for the cross-conference clash with a best bet. 

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Cavaliers vs. Timberwolves odds, spread and total

Cavaliers vs. Timberwolves how to watch

  • Date: Friday, March 22 
  • Game time: 8 p.m. EST
  • Venue: Target Center
  • How to watch (TV): NBA TV
  • Cavaliers record: 43-26
  • Timberwolves record: 47-22

Cavaliers vs. Timberwolves injury report

Cleveland Cavaliers

  • Max Strus (knee): out
  • Dean Wade (knee): out 
  • Donovan Mitchell (nasal fracture): out 

Minnesota Timberwolves

  • Rudy Gobert (ribs): questionable
  • Naz Reid (head): questionable
  • Anthony Edwards (finger): questionable 
  • Jaylen Clark (Achilles): out 

Cavaliers vs. Timberwolves key players to watch

Cleveland Cavaliers

Jarrett Allen: Allen is averaging a double-double this season at 16.3 points and 10.8 rebounds per game. With Mitchell out, Allen has carried more weight on the offensive end and has scored 20-plus points in back-to-back games, combining for 48 on 18-of-25 shooting. He’s coming off a dominant 25-point, 20-rebound double-double in Wednesday’s home loss to Miami. 

Minnesota Timberwolves

Anthony Edwards: Edwards already had one of the highest usage rates in the NBA when Towns went down earlier this month. Edwards has now attempted 20-plus shots in seven straight games and is anchoring Minnesota’s offense by pouring in 30-plus points in four consecutive contests. He’s shot over 50% from the field in all four of those games and is averaging 6.2 rebounds and 4.8 assists in March. 

Cavaliers vs. Timberwolves prediction and pick

The injury report is concerning for a Minnesota team that has been led by a defense that is No. 1 in net rating this year and allows just 103.4 points per game at home (also tops in the league). 

With Rudy Gobert and Naz Reid both carrying questionable tags into this matchup, Cleveland could be able to take advantage down low against a Timberwolves squad that has been dominant in the paint. Cleveland would have a much better matchup edge if Evan Mobley (foot) was available, but Allen has been crucial to the team’s success along with former first-round pick Isaac Okoro, who has scored in double figures in seven of 11 games this month. 

As concerning the injury report is for Minnesota down low, it’s equally alarming for Cleveland from a backcourt perspective.

Mitchell and Max Strus won’t play in this game and it’s fair to say the Cavaliers won’t have the firepower to keep up with someone that controls the game as much as Edwards with complimentary help from veteran Mike Conley, who is averaging 12.1 points per game this month.

These are two of the best defenses in the NBA, but the vital pieces that make up those units could all be sidelined.

Minnesota’s offense has put up at least 112 points in four straight games and the Cavaliers were just as shorthanded in its previous matchup with Minnesota March 8, winning 113-104. The total looks a little low given the current health of both defenses. Take the over. 

Game odds update periodically and are subject to change.

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