Minnesota Timberwolves 1.27, Phoenix Suns 3.80
How good would the Minnesota Timberwolves be if Ricky Rubio could shoot?
In his third NBA season, the Spaniard is converting a chronic 34% and averaging 8.9 points per game. So is he still worth betting their future on?
There’s no doubt the guard is a dazzling playmaker, despite his huge flaw, with Minny’s team field goal percentage rising while he’s on the court, principally from going more into the paint rather than from three-point range.
The Timberwolves average 8.4 more points per 100 possessions when Rubio is in action – below Kevin Love’s staggering differential of 18.5 but still illustrative of his impact.
That his stroke is so unreliable can occasionally hurt Minnesota with more opponents taking a gamble on leaving him open on the perimeter to double team elsewhere. But the Phoenix Suns, who travel to Minneapolis on Wednesday, know that option can be a loser after seeing Rubio grab a NBA-career high 24 points against them last season.
If Eric Bledsoe remains out, the Suns might have to throw Goran Dragic on Rubio full-time, opening gaps for Kevin Martin to score over his average of 19.7 points per night. The hosts look good for the win at 1.30 but with Rubio pushing the ball, look over the total points line of 212.5.
One other bet worth looking at: with the Oklahoma City Thunder still rolling in the absence of Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant’s stock is higher than ever. He’s now come in to 2.20 to win MVP, just behind LeBron James (2.00) and ahead of Paul George (8.00).
Even if the Pacers end up with the best regular season record, it’s hard to see George being elevated quite so early. And with voters traditionally reluctant to keep giving the award repeatedly to the same player – even when Michael Jordan was in his pomp – it’s worth a punt on Durant now before his odds get even shorter.
Best bet: Go over the total points line of 212.5 at 1.88 in Minnesota-Phoenix.
Read more from Unibet columnist Mark Woods.