NBA Best Bets for Tuesday, May 28th

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NBA Best Bets

Minnesota Timberwolves at Dallas Mavericks (-3.5, 209)


The number here has moved in favor of Minnesota, but much of that movement is due to injury.

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The opening number shows no adjustment for the absence of Dereck Lively in this contest. Dallas closed as 1.5-point favorites in Game 3 when fully healthy. The market then opened Dallas -3 despite Lively – the fifth-best player in overall plus-minus this postseason – not being available. Once he was ruled out we got to this point in the betting line.

At this point of the series I’m strictly in a position to root for the Timberwolves to give me an opportunity with my future on them to win the Western Conference. I had a decent read on the game yesterday, but I am still gun shy about my clear lack of an edge in this sport right now.  I won’t be involved in this game other than that, but I did want to share some analysis on a player prop that intrigues me.

With Lively out that means a larger workload for Daniel Gafford. Yes, Gafford is the starter, but that is in title only. Lively had averaged more minutes per game in the series before getting injured on Sunday. 

Minnesota has been blitzing Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving on pick-and-rolls throughout the series. That means that the roll man – Gafford or Lively – have been operating with the ball in their hands quite frequently. Lively has handled it well, averaging 2.3 assists and just 0.3 turnovers per game. Gafford is averaging just 0.3 assists and 1.7 turnovers.

The Timberwolves have been burned by their low-man on defense throughout this series. I would expect a full-throated effort to cut the rim off for Gafford in these scenarios and force him to make decisions with the ball. It could mean a jump in assists and turnovers if we see the expected surge in minutes for Gafford.

Gafford’s assists are 0.5 shaded to the over at -238 at DraftKings and his turnovers are up to 1.5 with the over at +165. In this instance, turnovers are the more enticing option. Not due to the price, but because of the struggles Gafford has had in this series holding onto the ball in these situations.

Lean: Gafford OV 1.5 TOV (+165)

2023-2024 Record: 122-135-3 (-22.73u)