Thunder vs. Timberwolves Play-In: Bet Shai Gilgeous-Alexanders, OKC to Cover

Action Network contributor Kenny Ducey of Action Network previews how to bet Thunder vs. Timberwolves, including updated odds, picks & predictions for Friday's game.

Thunder vs. Timberwolves Odds

Thunder Odds +5.5
Timberwolves Odds -5.5
Over/Under 228
Time 9:30 p.m. ET
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

The final spot in the NBA Playoffs is up for grabs on Friday night when the Thunder meet the Timberwolves in the final leg of the Play-In Tournament. Oklahoma City is coming off a huge road win over the Pelicans just to get into this spot while Minnesota failed to take the first of its two chances in a loss to the Lakers .

Without further ado, let’s get into some predictions and picks for Thunder vs. Timberwolves.

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Oklahoma City Thunder

The Thunder have won three straight games dating back to the regular season. Their victory over the Pelicans in the opening round of the Play-In Tournament was a particularly impressive one, coming out of the gates hot in the third quarter to not only erase a six-point deficit but take a lead into the fourth. Despite being beaten on the glass 48-38 by one of the best rebounding teams in the NBA, Oklahoma City outscored New Orleans 58-52 in the paint which helped make up for a dreadful 29.7% shooting performance from deep.

That’s a pretty crazy concept when you consider the Thunder were last in field goal percentage inside of 10 feet this season and were up against a solid defensive frontcourt in the Pelicans. They’re top 1o in terms of three-point attempts per game, though they’re barely average in terms of three-point success rate. It’s fair to say the three-ball can certainly swing any one of their games, but the fact that Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddey were able to will their team to victory by taking the ball in on some tough rim protectors was worth noting.

While it’s not exactly a great predictor of how this one will go with injuries during the regular season (and injuries heading into Friday’s game), I’ll also point out here the Thunder were just 1-3 against the Timberwolves this season, with the victory coming over a Timberwolves team playing without Karl-Anthony Towns, but with D’Angelo Russell.

Minnesota Timberwolves

Who’s playing tonight for the Timberwolves? Who knows, man.

Rudy Gobert, who was suspended for the first leg of the Play-In Tournament, is dealing with back spasms and is currently listed as questionable. Karl-Anthony Towns is on the injury report with a right calf strain, as is Jaylen Nowell who is dealing with a left knee issue. Both are listed questionable, while Jaden McDaniels is out after punching a wall and breaking his right hand.

Now, it should be said that the Timberwolves looked pretty good without Gobert in the lineup on Tuesday night. They led most of the game — until the Lakers stormed back in the fourth and won handily in overtime — and it was mainly thanks to Towns and Mike Conley Jr., who hit six threes.

Without those two, it was an overwhelmingly mediocre performance with Anthony Edwards going 3-for-17 from the field. Minnesota was out-rebounded 48-37, allowing 12 offensive boards and a whopping 54 points in the paint to its 36.

Edwards is going to have to give this team a lot more, and perhaps he will. What happens, though, when Conley cools off from three? What if Towns is limited by injury or gets himself into foul trouble as he did on Tuesday? These are all real possibilities, and it does feel as though this team is hanging on by a thread.

Thunder-Timberwolves Pick

Underdogs have been feasting thus far in the Play-In Tournament, so why not take one more? Sure, the Thunder have a real chance to win on the road here — and they very well may. I think it’s very safe to take the points, though, given what we’ve covered above.

I’m not expecting Gobert to play, which would open the game up for the Thunder guards to gash Minnesota’s defense. If he does play, the Timberwolves are sure to look much more discombobulated on offense than they did without him against the Lakers.

Either way, the Thunder are in a good spot. The Timberwolves were one of the seven-worst teams at defending the three, which should play right into Oklahoma City’s hands. They’re also a very banged up team, helping matters even further.

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