NBA Picks: Timberwolves vs. Thunder

Steven Suarez

Wednesday, January 9, 2013 2:32 PM GMT

How will the Thunder respond after a surprise loss to the lowly Wizards two nights ago? We know focus won't be an issue for Kevin Durant and his troops, but whether they can cover double-digit chalk is a different story.

Odds Overview 

NBA odds makers think the Thunder will bounce back in a big way tonight. They're favored by as many as 12 points, though 11.5 is also available if you shop around enough.

Meanwhile, the NBA betting lines list the total at 201, with the OVER going 18-16 this season in matchups involving Oklahoma City and 15-15-1 in those featuring Minnesota.

[gameodds]5/133852/19-43-999996-1096-198-238/us[/gameodds]

Minnesota Timberwolves

Inconsistency has plagued the Timberwolves, as they've alternated wins and losses over last six games. That being said, they looked excellent in a home win over Atlanta last night.

Minnesota entered as four-point underdogs, but they jumped out to a considerable lead early on an held on despite a late rally from the Hawks. As a team, the Timberwolves shot 46.0 percent overall an 53.3 percent from beyond the arc. 

Nikola Pekovic's presence inside proved too much for Atlanta. He had 35 points and 18 rebounds in just over 35 minutes. Andrei Kirilenko and Alexey Shved were also steadying factors for Minnesota, combining for 36 points and 11 assists. 

While they may have covered last night, the Timberwolves haven't been to successful in that respect lately. They're 2-4 ATS over their previous six contests. 

As for road performance, it's been a struggle as of late. Minnesota has won just one of their last five games away from home, including double-digit defeats to Miami and Utah and a nine-point loss to Orlando.

Oklahoma City Thunder 

A lot of NBA bettors were burned on Monday night when the Thunder lost straight up to Washington. Coming in, Oklahoma City was favored by 11.5 points, with the line growing even larger once Nene and Jordan Crawford were declared out.

It was clearly a night to forget for the Thunder. They shot 42.5 percent overall and 24.0 percent (6-of-25) from three, but the simple fact they lost to a Wizards team that only dressed nine players. 

It wasn't Kevin Durant or Sergie Ibaka's fault though. Durant had 39 points, eight assists an seven rebounds and Ibaka came through with 26 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks. Meanwhile, Russell Westbrook (4-of-17 FG) and Kevin Martin (3-of-12 FG) were ice cold.

Despite the off night, the Thunder have made it a habit of righting the ship in style. They're 5-2 ATS in their last seven games following a straight up defeat. 

Oklahoma City has also been a force to be reckoned with at home. While a 17-3 SU record is obviously impressive, they've also gone a solid 12-8 ATS inside Chesapeake Energy Arena. 

NBA Pick 

We aren't going near this spread with our NBA picks. The Timberwolves may be playing their second game in as many nights against a ticked off Oklahoma City team, but they looked good against Atlanta and always seem to play well against the Thunder.

Then again, we wouldn't be taken back in the slightest if Oklahoma City comes out and dominates from the opening tip.

Instead we will be recommending a play on the UNDER, a trend that has hit in four straight road games involving the Timberwolves. And while both teams are known for their scoring stars like Kevin Love (who's out for a while) and Durant, both Minnesota and Oklahoma City have been performing at a high level defensively. They're both in the top eight in defensive efficiency this season. 

NBA Pick: UNDER 201 at 5Dimes