After losing at home to the Clippers a couple nights ago, Russell Westbrook and the Thunder will be eager to bounce back tonight. Our NBA odds preview can be found inside.
Timberwolves vs. Thunder: Betting Odds Overview
There's no question who the NBA Odds favorite is for tonight's game between Oklahoma City and Minnesota. The Thunder will be at home and taking on the team with the worst record in the Western Conference, so we can't fault oddsmakers for pricing them out as 10-point chalk.
For this article, however, we are focusing on the total, which is trading at 211 right now. Some books have 211.5 out there for the taking if it's the UNDER that holds your interest.
Oklahoma City Thunder
The Thunder have been sputtering a little bit lately, having alternated wins and losses over their last four games. They beat both Toronto and Philadelphia at home but then mixed in losses to Chicago on the road and then the Los Angeles Clippers at home.
Against the Clippers, Oklahoma City really let their fans down defensively, allowing 120 points in the defeat. The Thunder had no answers for Chris Paul and J.J. Redick, who combined for 58 points, and the fact they committed 20 turnovers didn't help either. Russell Westbrook finally came back down to earth a little bit in the loss, finishing with 24 points, nine rebounds, seven assists, two steals while also turning it over 10 times.
Following that setback, we believe Oklahoma City will come out very focused tonight, knowing that every win is incredibly important down the stretch, especially since New Orleans has been on a roll and has overtaken the eighth spot in the Western Conference standings. It looks like Kevin Durant is nearing a return, and obviously that will be a massive boost, but until then it's going to keep on being the Westbrook show, and that seems to be working out okay.
Whereas the Thunder still have a lot to play for, the Timberwolves are just preparing for the future. They're in dead last in the Western Conference with an awful 14-49 record and they come in having lost two in a row and seven of their last 10. Minnesota is also a dreadful 5-25 on the road this season.
There are reasons for optimism - namely Andrew Wiggins and Ricky Rubio - but for now the Timberwolves will be content in developing and ensuring that their top assets are protected for next season. Wiggins has shown dramatic improvement throughout the season, and Rubio has played exceptionally well when healthy. His minutes are going to be cut back because of a sore ankle, but he should still be in the starting lineup tonight for Minnesota.
Last time out, the Timberwolves lost by nine on the road in Phoenix despite getting double-digit scoring out of six different players. We'll have to see if Kevin Garnett, who has been sitting out quite a bit since moving to Minnesota, will be back in the starting five this evening but either way Minnesota is in a tough spot.
While a good chunk of the public will see this high number and immediately turn away, we are going to embrace the contrarian nature of this play and roll our NBA Pick with the OVER.
The Timberwolves have been playing at an incredibly high pace throughout the season, and they've been the league's worst defense when it comes to points allowed per game. That's a recipe for a lot of high-scoring games, and that's what we should see with Westbrook and company licking their chops at the chance to go to work at home.
Thing is, Oklahoma City has been looking shaky defensively themselves, allowing 100 or more points in eight straight games, and Minnesota does have the offensive talent to put up some points. As a result, let's add the OVER to our collection of NBA picks for a busy Friday night of hoops.
Free NBA Pick: OVER 211 at BetOnline