Timberwolves vs. Bulls Odds
|Time||8 p.m. ET|
|TV||NBA League Pass|
|Odds via PointsBet. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.|
The Timberwolves have been dealing with injury issues and players being out due to health and safety protocols all season long, so they got off to a slow start. But with their rotation getting healthier, they’ve won nine of their last 13 games and have fought their way up to the seventh seed in the Western Conference.
The Bulls bounced back with a win last game against the Hornets after losing a few games to some tough teams: 76ers, Raptors and Cavaliers. They are still third seed in the Eastern Conference with a 34-21 record, but they will really need to keep it up to fight off the stiff competition in the East. There are only five games separating the Bulls and the eighth seed Brooklyn Nets.
Both teams stood pat as the trade deadline passed on Thursday. Each team has exhibited some great chemistry, especially on offense.
The Timberwolves’ injury report is quite lengthy with questionable players. Can DeMar DeRozan and the Bulls capitalize on a potentially short-handed Timberwolves team? Let’s break down the matchup below.
Timberwolves Banged Up
There are six players listed on the injury report for the Timberwolves: Patrick Beverley, Anthony Edwards, Josh Okogie, Taurean Prince, Naz Reid and D’Angelo Russell are all listed as questionable. Beverley sat out last game, but the Wolves will need his services on defense against Zach LaVine.
Russell and Edwards, two other starters, continue to deal with nagging injuries and Prince, a key piece off the bench, could have a huge impact on Friday’s game so keep a close look on the injury report.
As mentioned in my weekly totals report, overs on Timberwolves’ games have been on an insane run. Their games have gone 11-1 to the over in their last 12 games. In addition, they are 23-6 (79.3%) to the over on the road this season.
Chris Finch has always been known as a brilliant coach on offense. This Timberwolves team has displayed some excellent team chemistry as of late. The Wolves’ Offensive Rating (118.7) and Pace (102.1) have both spiked to first in the league since Jan. 1, per NBA Advanced Stats.
However, their Defensive Rating has been below average. They are only ranked 17th during the same timeframe that will have a hard time stopping the three-headed monster of LaVine, DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic.
They’ve had an Assist-to-Turnover Ratio at 2.0 or greater in their previous eight games. I’ve found this metric to be successful in predicting overs. Since 2018, teams off three consecutive games with an assist-to-turnover ratio greater than 2 are 292-207-10 (58.5%) to the over, per the Sports Data Query Language at Gimme the Dog.
If healthy, I expect the Timberwolves’ offense to stay hot and put a lot of pressure on the lackluster Bulls defense.
Bulls Struggling on Defense Without Ball, Caruso
The Bulls have been a strong over team too, going over in 13 of 17 games.
Losing Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso has really hurt their defense. With them out, Ayo Dosunmu has emerged as a nice role player and Coby White has been productive, but neither help the defense much. Since the beginning of the year, they are 26th in the league in Defensive Rating (116.7), per NBA Advanced Stats.
Bulls upgraded Ayo Dosunmu to questionable with his concussion. Nikola Vucevic is probable after suffering a left hip contusion.
DeMar DeRozan has scored 30-plus points in four straight games. Two of those games were against some stout defenses in the Phoenix Suns and Philadelphia 76ers. He’s also scored 20-plus in 14 straight games, dating back to Jan. 14. The man is simply un-guardable at the moment. He should continue to have success against the poor Wolves’ defense.
While it is unlikely that he wins the MVP award, he is certainly making a case to be in the conversation.
The total opened up sky high at 239 (FanDuel) as of Thursday evening. Both teams have been strong to the overs recently and I expect the high-scoring games to continue. These offenses are clicking really well and neither team plays defense.
The only thing that may be of concern is the number of questionable key players on the injury report. However, judging by each of their positions in the playoff picture, I anticipate players on each side will try to suit up.
Again, the Timberwolves are 23-6 to the over on the road. Ten of their previous 17 games have exceeded this mark. Five of the Bulls’ last eight games have exceeded this mark, as well.
Let’s continue to ride the wave.
Pick: Over 241 or better