Thunder Are Underdogs in NBA Spread vs. Timberwolves on Wednesday

Posted by Jordan Walters on Wednesday,January 10, 2018 8:04, EST in

Wednesday is often the busiest night of the week in the NBA and this one isn’t any exception. There’s one matchup, however, that clearly stands apart, and it’s a potential playoff preview between the star-studded Thunder and Timberwolves. Minnesota opened as a 4-point NBA spread favorite.

Oklahoma City at Minnesota Wednesday Night NBA Spread & Pick

When: Wednesday, 8 PM ET
Where: Target Center, Minneapolis
TV: ESPN
Stream: WatchESPN
Radio: 98.1 FM (Oklahoma City) / WCCO-AM 830 (Minnesota)
NBA Spread: Wolves -4 (210.5)

Why Bet on Oklahoma City?

The Thunder will be at a disadvantage here because they played Tuesday night, hosting Portland. So needless to say, this line could shift dramatically were a key Thunder player like Russell Westbrook or Paul George to get hurt in that one. There’s also the possibility that Coach Billy Donovan could rest one of his stars in the second of a back-to-back.

Entering Tuesday, Westbrook had 14 triple-doubles this season, twice as many as the next closest player (LeBron James- 7). Those 14 are the 5th-most by a player within his first 40 games of a season. Of course, Westbrook set the single-season record last year in averaging a triple-double.

OKC remains without its best perimeter defender in guard Andre Roberson due to left knee tendinitis. With Roberson on the shelf, Terrance Ferguson should be looking at a few more starts.

How Have the Thunder Done Against the Timberwolves?

Oklahoma City lost the first two games this year vs. Minnesota but won the last one, 111-107 at home on Dec. 1. George had 35 points and nine assists and Steven Adams scored a career-high 27 points. Westbrook added 15 points, 14 assists and nine rebounds. The Thunder shot 51.9 percent from the field and outrebounded the Timberwolves 42-26. Oklahoma City made 21 of 22 free throws.

Oklahoma City leads the league in steals per game (9.53) and ranks second in opponent turnovers per game (16.5). The Thunder has yet to finish within the Top 5 in the NBA in these categories since they moved to Oklahoma City as their previous season bests were 8.28 steals per game in 2012-13 and 15.2 opponent turnovers per game in 2013-14.

George and Westbrook are currently first and third in the league in steals per game with 2.35 and 1.98, respectively. Since steals became an official statistic in 1973, the Bobcats’ Gerald Wallace (2.51) and Brevin Knight (2.28) are the only pair of teammates to finish the season at one and two.

Team Statistics

Offense:

  • Average Score For: 104.80
  • Field Goals: 45.39%
  • Three Points: 35.86%
  • Free Throws: 70.89%
  • Rebounds: 43.88

Defense:

  • Average Score Against: 101.54
  • Field Goals: 45.31%
  • Three Points: 35.75%
  • Free Throws: 75.96%
  • Rebounds: 41.32

Why Bet on Minnesota?

The Wolves might be the West’s second-best team right now behind Golden State. Minnesota sure looked like that Monday in slaughtering LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, 127-99.  Jimmy Butler nearly triple-doubled with 21 points, nine assists, eight rebounds and three steals. He shadowed LeBron James and was a big reason why LeBron was held to 10 points for just the 12th time in his career. Butler has improved his numbers in every single month this season.

Karl-Anthony Towns (19 points, 12 rebounds) and Taj Gibson (16 points, 13 rebounds) were tenacious around the basket for the Timberwolves, who outrebounded the Cavs 56-37, their largest advantage of the season. The Wolves had a 60-42 edge in points in the paint, and every starter but Towns. After shooting 52 percent from the field, the Wolves improved to 12-2 when making at least half of their shots.

How Have the T-Wolves Done Recently?

Are the T-Wolves a safe bet on Wednesday?

Minnesota has built 1st-quarter leads of 13+ points in seven of its last 10 outings, bolting to a 30-13 start in Monday’s over Cleveland. During that stretch (beginning Dec. 23 at Phoenix), the Wolves have registered a 1st-quarter Net Rating of +36.3 and a 1st-quarter Defensive Rating of 79.4. Monday’s win over Cleveland was the Wolves’ sixth this year (fourth in the last six games) in which they never trailed and hiked their Target Center record to 15-6, the best 21-game home start since going 16-5 in 2003-04.

Tom Thibodeau said that there’s a chance starting point guard Jeff Teague (knee) will be able to play Wednesday vs. the Thunder. Teague practiced on Tuesday and also went through some 5-on-5 work with the coaches after practice, and his status will depend on how his body responds. Teague hasn’t played since Dec. 27.

In the first meeting this season vs. the Thunder, Andrew Wiggins scored 12 of his 27 points in the final 5:00, capped by a 3-pointer as time expired, to lift the Wolves to a 115-113 road win Oct. 22. Towns finished with 27 points and 12 rebounds. In the second meeting Minnesota won 119-116 at home on Oct. 27. Towns totaled 33 points, 19 rebounds and four blocks, and Butler tallied 13 of his 25 points in the fourth period.

Team Statistics

Offense:

  • Average Score For: 108.43
  • Field Goals: 47.50%
  • Three Points: 35.11%
  • Free Throws: 79.81%
  • Rebounds: 41.86

Defense:

  • Average Score Against: 105.05
  • Field Goals: 47.51%
  • Three Points: 36.02%
  • Free Throws: 78.18%
  • Rebounds: 41.10

Latest NBA Spread Trends

  • Oklahoma City is 2-4 ATS in the last 6 games
  • Oklahoma City is 8-4 SU in the last 12 games
  • The total went OVER in 4 of Oklahoma City’s last 5 games
  • Minnesota is 4-2 ATS in the last 6 games
  • Minnesota is 9-3 SU in the last 12 games
  • The total went UNDER in 6 of Minnesota’s last 7 games

Expert Prediction & NBA Pick

Minnesota is 2-1 vs. Oklahoma City in their past three at Target Center. Make it 3-1 as Wolves cover the NBA spread.