NBA betting: How Karl-Anthony Towns’ injury shakes everything up

The Minnesota Timberwolves are currently tied in the Western Conference with the Oklahoma City Thunder, while the Denver Nuggets and the LA Clippers are nipping at their heels. However, Karl-Anthony Towns‘ left meniscus injury places Minnesota in a perilous situation that could result in them tumbling down the standings.

Towns has been a significant part of Minnesota’s success this season, averaging 22.1 PPG with 8.4 RPG in 60 games, and there is currently no timeline for when he might return to the court.

With that in mind, let’s touch on the three bets which Towns’ absence impacts the most.

Coach of the Year

Oklahoma City Thunder head coach Mark Daigneault (-200) has been the favorite to win the award for most of the season, even while the Timberwolves have held the top spot in the Western Conference.

Betting on Timberwolves head coach Chris Finch (+350) to win the award is intriguing in that if Minnesota can close out the season strong and finish as the top seed in the conference without Towns, it could sway voters. As a reminder, 43 coaches who have won the award achieved 50 wins in that season.

It will be an extremely tall task for Finch’s Timberwolves, however, to continue to win and maintain that top seed while Towns is sidelined.

Sixth Man of the Year

This race becomes more interesting.

Whether Kyle Anderson or Naz Reid start at power forward, Reid is going to see an increased role without Towns and that could help close the gap with the four other players who have better odds to win the award. Reid is a sleeper that you shouldn’t overlook, but it’s worth noting that his odds actually slipped from 11-1 to 20-1 due to Towns’ injury. Things trending in that direction could be a lot to overcome.

Malik Monk (-400), the current favorite, has averaged 15.6 PPG and 5.3 APG this season while Reid is at 12.3 PPG and 4.8 RPG. Bobby Portis, Caris LeVert and Norman Powell are each +900.

It’s worth noting that during the past 10 seasons, each winner’s team has finished no worse than second place in their own division. All but two of the last 10 winners have played on teams that finished fourth or better in their conference, and only one player hailed from a team that finished with fewer than 48 wins — Lou Williams.

This could mean Monk isn’t as much of a sure thing as the odds might indicate, as the Kings enter Thursday as the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference and are on pace for 47 wins.

Winner of the Northwest Division

The Thunder (+110) and Nuggets (+130) now have significantly better odds than Timberwolves (+450) to win the Northwest Division (Minnesota was at +255 prior to the injury).

Minnesota’s defense might allow them to compete with any team in the league even without Towns, and they play 10 of their final 20 games at home, which isn’t too bad. But let’s not forget how they played last season when Towns was sidelined; Minnesota has a 29-26 record without KAT since the start of last season.

If Towns misses extend time and this trend continues, the Northwest Division could quickly become a two-team race.

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