Nuggets vs. Timberwolves: Injury Uncertainty Lends Value to the Total

Chris Baker breaks down Sunday's NBA matchup between the Denver Nuggets and Minnesota Timberwolves and shares his best bet.

Nuggets vs. Timberwolves Odds

Nuggets Odds +2.5
Timberwolves Odds -2.5
Over/Under 233
Time 7 p.m. ET
TV NBA League Pass
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

The Nuggets look to continue their dominance as they travel to Minnesota on the second leg of a back-to-back. Can the Timberwolves capitalize on their rest advantage, or will they continue to struggle against the league’s better teams? Find a betting preview for Nuggets vs. Timberwolves below.

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Nuggets May Be Shorthanded

The Nuggets are traveling from Denver to Minnesota on the second leg of a back-to-back. This exact same scenario played out on January 2nd when the Nuggets got crushed by a Timberwolves team that was missing D’Angelo Russell.

In that matchup, the Nuggets were coming off a highly emotional victory against the Celtics in a game that ended very late at night due to a rim malfunction. The Nuggets game didn’t conclude until around midnight, and they likely didn’t get into Minnesota until 5-6 a.m. ET. There were no flukey rim malfunctions last night, but it is still important to recognize that this is the second leg of a back-to-back.

As of this writing, besides Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, all of the key Nuggets plqyers are off of the injury report and expected to play. Still, the Nuggets being priced as short underdogs at +2.5 indicates to me that they expect a few of Jokic/Aaron Gordon/Jamal Murray to rest in this game.

Monitor the injury report, but if there are no late scratches for the Nuggets, expect this line to move towards them being favored around -2.5 or -3. If Jokic plays, I would be inclined to grab Denver at any number better than -3.

Key Statuses to Monitor for Timberwolves

The Timberwolves have a litany of injury issues of their own as Kyle Anderson, Rudy Gobert and Austin Rivers all may be out for this one. Anderson left the Magic game Friday with a back injury, and Gobert has been downgraded to questionable with right groin soreness. Anderson’s injury seemed serious on Friday, but I would expect Gobert to play as this team can’t really afford to drop games if they want to remain in playoff contention.

I think the line being -2.5 also reflects the sportsbooks’ belief that there is a high probability Gobert plays. If Gobert plays that would obviously be a huge boost for the Timberwolves’ defense and their overall chances in this one.

Nuggets-Timberwolves Pick

This game is very tough to predict without knowing the injury status of key players on both sides of the ball. I lean toward Under 233 as I expect Jokic to rest and Gobert to play. This would massively hurt Denver’s offensive ceiling while raising the ceiling of the Timberwolves defense. If this plays out, we likely see this total drop closer to 230. I’d play this down to 232 until we get more clarity on the injury situations for these teams.