With the 2021-22 NBA regular season now in the books, the basketball betting market is hotter than ever. CBS Sports will be providing daily picks for the duration of the postseason. Sam Quinn will make at least one pick for every game between now and the NBA Finals. All lines courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook.
I'll admit I'm at a loss with this series due to its sheer weirdness. Minnesota has led by at least 13 points in four of the five games they've played thus far … and is somehow losing the series. Minnesota's ability to blow leads thus far has been a sight to behold, but I'm inclined to believe, perhaps against the screwy logic of this series, that the things that are going well for the Wolves are slightly more sustainable than the things that are going badly. I'm going to go out on a limb and say Brandon Clarke won't get nine offensive rebounds again in Game 6 considering he averaged just 2.1 per game during the season. I'm going to guess Minnesota is going to be more aggressive in dispensing minutes. Patrick Beverley, who has held Ja Morant to 12-of-37 shooting in this series and the regular season combined, should probably be closer to the 37 minutes he played in Game 4's win rather than the 28 he suited up for in the Game 5 loss. Oh, and unless Desmond Bane is really 2016 Stephen Curry in disguise, I'd assume he's due a bit of regression as he's currently making 47 percent of the 9.4 3-point attempts he's taking every game. These are just too many variables working in Minnesota's favor in a home a game. Memphis should be favored in a winner-take-all Game 7, but frankly, this series has been too nutty to end in six. The basketball gods demand more chaos. The pick: Timberwolves +1.5
Most of those same factors that portend a Minnesota victory in Game 6 also point to a lower scoring game. More Beverley minutes means less scoring. Fewer offensive rebounds means fewer half-court points for a Memphis team that isn't adept at generating them. Desmond Bane no longer looking like a Curry brother means Memphis no longer having a Curry-caliber shooter. Game 5 reached just 220 combined points, and as a series progresses and teams become more familiar with one another, scoring tends to decline. The pick: Under 228.5
Jaren Jackson Jr. is averaging 5.8 rebounds per game in this series, but remember, he's doing that in preposterously few minutes. He's played just 22.6 minutes per game this series because of foul trouble, and hey, foul trouble is part of the Jaren Jackson experience. It just isn't reasonable to expect him to continue committing 8.3 fouls per 36 minutes because not even the MonStars from "Space Jam" were doing that. While some of the dumber defensive stuff is baked into his playing style, Jackson is committing entirely avoidable fouls on offense that can and should be cleaned up before the end of this series. If you even assume he gets to 27 minutes -- which he amazingly hasn't done once this entire series -- his role in this matchup favors him racking up rebounds. He's largely not defending Karl-Anthony Towns. He's operating as a help defender, and that keeps him near the basket when shots go up. The pick: Jackson over 6.5 rebounds