Bucks Over Timberwolves in Small-Market Battle

Bucks vs Timberwolves

Jason Lake

Thursday, October 25, 2018 5:44 PM UTC

Thursday, Oct. 25, 2018 5:44 PM UTC

The Milwaukee Bucks haven’t looked this good in quite a while. They should be the correct NBA pick this Friday night when they visit the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Jason’s 2018-19 NBA picks record through Oct. 24: 2-1 ATS

Milwaukee vs. MinnesotaFriday, 8 p.m. ET, MinneapolisFree NBA Pick: Bucks ATSBest Line Offered: 5Dimes

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Most of the attention in the NBA’s Eastern Conference has been on three teams: Boston, Philadelphia and Toronto, roughly in that order (attention-wise, that is). But there’s another team with the potential to win this conference now that LeBron James is out West. The Milwaukee Bucks are on the rise, winning each of their first four games at 2-1-1 ATS. They’ve got a leading MVP candidate in Giannis Antetokounmpo, and a former Coach of the Year in Mike Budenholzer who knows what to do with him.

If only the Minnesota Timberwolves (2-3 SU and ATS) could get some of that. They look like a broken version of the Bucks; Tom Thibodeau is a former Coach of the Year himself, but his old-school ways appear to be lost on both Karl Anthony-Towns and Andrew Wiggins. It’s enough to make Jimmy Butler throw his own team under the bus. And it means we’ll be recommending Milwaukee for your NBA picks when these two teams meet Friday night at the Tar-Zhay.

Mr. Wiggins and the Energy Crisis

Of course, that’s assuming things don’t get too crazy when the first lines hit the NBA odds board. There is one major question mark for the Wolves: Will Wiggins play on Friday? He’s listed as questionable at press time, after suffering a right quad contusion early in Monday’s 101-91 win over Indiana (+2 away). He missed Wednesday’s 112-105 loss to the Raptors, but the Wolves also covered that game as 8.5-point road dogs.

I think I see a pattern here. Wiggins is already in his fifth year in the NBA, and while his offensive gifts are undeniable, his ability/desire to play defense is very much in question. It’s bad enough that Wiggins has been a significant net negative for Minnesota, according to the Box Plus/Minus numbers at Basketball Reference. And the arrival of Butler last year has only cramped Wiggins’ style on offense, turning him into a negative at that end of the court as well.

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What's Andrew Wiggins thinking right here? 😐 pic.twitter.com/igLAbKjCvL

— theScore (@theScore) October 18, 2018
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Obviously, we’ll be more inclined to fade the Wolves if Wiggins plays on Friday. If not? Well, the Bucks are a hell of a team, with a small-market footprint that gives them added betting value. But you can say the same thing about the Raptors, and they couldn’t quite shake off Minnesota on Wednesday. We suggest waiting until Friday’s shootaround to see if Wiggins is going to suit up; if he’s out, consider enacting Plan B and throwing your money to the Wolves instead – but make it a small sum. Plan A is much more to our liking. Budenholzer is the coach the Bucks always needed, plus they have perennially under-rated Brook Lopez at center now. Don’t sleep on Milwaukee, folks. There’s money to be made.

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