A preview of the Western Conference Finals on Thursday night from Oakland? Could be as Minnesota and Golden State face off for the second time this regular season. Alas, the Wolves will be on the second of a back-to-back and probably won’t be at full strength, which will be reflected in the NBA odds.
Thursday Night NBA Odds & Betting Pick: Timberwolves at WarriorsNBA League PassRadio: KFAN 1270 AM (Minnesota) / 95.7 FM The Game (Golden State)Opening NBA Odds: Warriors -10.5
Season SeriesOn Nov. 8, the Timberwolves visited Oakland and lost 125-101. Klay Thompson’s 28 points led six double-figure scorers and Golden State rode a 44-point third quarter to the win. Stephen Curry totaled 22 points, eight rebounds and eight assists for the Warriors, while Andrew Wiggins topped Minnesota with 17 points and Karl-Anthony Towns added 16 points and 12 boards. Jimmy Butler had just 11 points, and Kevin Durant was out injured.The Wolves’ 103-102 win last March 10 was just their third in the past 21 meetings vs. Golden State; the other two have come at Oracle Arena.
Why Bet on Minnesota?The Wolves have two All-Stars in Butler and Karl-Anthony Towns but it’s not looking great for Butler to play Thursday. He was expected to sit out a third straight game with knee soreness on Wednesday in Portland. The Wolves aren’t going to risk long-term injury. Coach Tom Thibodeau hinted that Butler “may have” had an MRI, but he added that the Wolves are just being cautious. In addition, key bench player Jamal Crawford was set to sit out a third straight on Wednesday.Nemanja Bjelica has been starting for Butler, and Marcus Georges-Hunt has been getting more minutes off the bench in place of Crawford. It also means Towns and Andrew Wiggins have to carry more of an offensive load.The Wolves shot at least 50 percent on 16 occasions this season (going 14-2), including a season-high 58.0% effort in the Nov. 29 victory at New Orleans. Minnesota ranks 3rd in Offensive Rating (110.8), 6th in scoring (108.9 ppg) and 5th in FG accuracy (47.6%) but 23rd in three-point accuracy (35.3%). Minnesota has climbed to 22nd in the NBA in Defensive Rating (106.9); the Wolves rank 13th in scoring defense (105.3 ppg) but are just 29th in defensive FG percentage (47.6%). Butler is the team’s best perimeter defender.
Why Bet on Golden State?Once again, the Warriors have four All-Stars: starters Steph Curry and Kevin Durant and reserves Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. The Warriors became the first team in NBA history to have 4 All-Stars in consecutive years.The Dubs are off a 123-112 home win over the Knicks on Tuesday. Curry scored 17 of his 32 points in the third quarter to go with seven assists and six rebounds. Curry was excellent from long range, making eight of 15 shots from beyond the arc. But he struggled with shorter field goals, connecting on just one of four two-point attempts. Curry had shot 25% or worse from two-point range in just three of his previous 144 30-point games. It was Curry’s 14th game of the season with 30+ points. He needs 2 points to reach 14,000 career points and become the 5th Warrior to do so.Durant was ejected with two technicals vs. the Knicks, finishing with 14 points, a career-high 14 assists, four rebounds, two steals, two blocks and five turnover. That’s his fourth ejection of the season and 10th technical — once he hits 16 he will get an automatic one-game suspension. Durant leads the NBA with four ejections this season. He was ejected once during his first 10 NBA seasons combined.“Well, the first half, I was dribbling up the right side and I made a left-to-right cross, and he said I carried,” Durant said of the referee on Tuesday. “I kind of let that go. I asked him where he got the carry from. He said I froze the defender, and I said that’s what the crossover is for and that’s why I do it, to freeze my defender. … And he tried to make a bunch of excuses, and I told him he was wrong, and he went into halftime probably with an attitude. So the second half, his whole thing is like he’s trying to get me.”The Warriors improved to 10-0 after a loss this season. They have scored at least 100 points in each of the last 14 contests, the longest such streak this season for Golden State and tied for the 6th-longest in the NBA this season. Nine times this season the Warriors have come back from double-digit deficits, including v s. the Knicks. It was also the fifth time this season the Warriors trailed by as many as 10 points and won by at least 10 points.The Warriors are 40-29 (.580) under Steve Kerr (since 2014-15) when trailing at halftime. No other team has a winning record in such games in that span.
Latest NBA Odds Trends
- Minnesota is 7-3 ATS in the last 10 games
- Minnesota is 7-3 SU in the last 10 games
- The total went OVER in 5 of Minnesota’s last 7 games
- Golden State is 1-4 ATS in the last 5 games
- Golden State is 21-4 SU in the last 25 games
- The total went OVER in 8 of Golden State’s last 12 games