Timberwolves vs. Cavaliers NBA expert prediction and odds for Friday, March 8 (Lay it with Cleveland)

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

Mar 3, 2024; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen (31) rebounds the ball.
Mar 3, 2024; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen (31) rebounds the ball. / David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Timberwolves will have to hold off multiple suitors for the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference without one of its top players. Karl-Anthony Towns, a four-time NBA All-Star, was announced out indefinitely Thursday with a torn meniscus, which is a major blow for a Timberwolves squad with championship aspirations. 

Minnesota has to replace Towns’ production with just a half-game lead over the Oklahoma City Thunder for the top seed in the west, while Denver (one game back) and the Los Angeles Clippers (three games back) are within striking distance. Can Minnesota rally on the road?

They finish off a road back-to-back Friday as a short underdog against Cleveland following a 113-111 in Indianapolis on Thursday.

Cleveland is shorthanded, as well, with star guard Donovan Mitchell sidelined along with Evan Mobley and guard Max Strus. Can they pull out a bounce-back win on Friday after losing in Atlanta?

Here’s the betting breakdown of the cross-conference clash with a best bet. 

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Timberwolves vs. Cavaliers odds, spread and total

Timberwolves vs. Cavaliers how to watch

  • Date: Friday, March 8
  • Game time: 7:30 p.m. EST
  • Venue: Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse
  • How to watch (TV):  ESPN
  • Timberwolves record: 44-19
  • Cavaliers record: 40-22

Timberwolves vs. Cavaliers  injury report

Minnesota Timberwolves

  • Karl-Anthony Towns (knee): out
  • Monte Morris (hamstring): questionable 

Cleveland Cavaliers

  • Max Strus (knee): out
  • Evan Mobley (ankle): out
  • Donovan Mitchell (knee): out

Timberwolves vs. Cavaliers key players to watch


Anthony Edwards: Edwards is already among the top-10 in the NBA in usage. Now, he’ll have to step up even more on the offensive end with Minnesota trying to replace Towns’ 22.1 points per game. Edwards did just that in Thursday’s win over Indiana, scoring 44 points to lead the Timberwolves to a 2-point victory. 


Jarrett Allen: The 6-foot-9 center is tasked with carrying the offensive load while still controlling the glass in a Cleveland lineup missing a ton of production. Over the last three games, Allen has a pair of double-doubles and has combined for 57 points and 38 rebounds. He’s shot 24-of-40 from the field in that stretch, too. 

Timberwolves vs. Cavaliers  prediction and pick

The total in this game has crashed with a ton of pieces of a star-studded lineup not available due to injuries. 

Minnesota was able to rally with its star forward out on Thursday, defeating the Indiana Pacers, which dubiously boasts one of the league’s worst defenses.

They’ll get a step up in class Friday on the road in Cleveland, facing a Cavaliers' defense that is No. 3 in net rating and No. 1 in the Eastern Conference in scoring, giving up 109.5 points per game. 

This is a matchup of two of the league’s top defenses, but losing Towns drastically hurts a Minnesota unit that is stingy at the rim. Overall, it’s about the spot. Minnesota is coming off an emotional road win and has a quick turnaround to face a formidable Eastern Conference foe. Cleveland, which is trying to catch No. 2 Milwaukee with its stars on the mend, are coming off a bad loss to Atlanta.

Cleveland is 11-8-2 ATS after a loss and the Cavaliers are the best in the league (10-2 ATS) following a loss. Back the Cavaliers to bounce back at home. 

Game odds update periodically and are subject to change.

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