Thunder vs Timberwolves – NBA Pick for January 10th
The Magic were a bad team to trust in hindsight, but I still felt they could at least make a game of it against the Dallas Mavericks. Initially, that was true, but Orlando fell apart down the stretch and lost by 15.
The loss handed me my second in a row, dropping my season NBA picks record to 37-22-2 on the year.
That wasn’t ideal, but last night’s four-game slate was one of many traps. The Thunder and Raptors specifically disappointed (as I feared) and lost at home to the Blazers and Heat, respectfully.
It just wasn’t a great night for NBA betting, but things look different on Wednesday, when a fully loaded 11-game NBA schedule greets bettors.
There are several games to seriously consider on this jam-packed night, but the one that might be the most appealing goes down in Minnesota between the Timberwolves and Thunder.
5Dimes offers the best straight up bet (+165) to get the ball rolling, while Minnesota enters as the home favorite in the fourth and final game of this year’s series.
OKC has been good lately, overall, but they got housed by Portland sans Damian Lillard last night and have now dropped two games in a row. Minnesota, meanwhile, plays host (15-6 at home this year) and will be looking for their 10th win over their last 13 games.
The Timberwolves are red hot and just destroyed the Cleveland Cavaliers, but do the visiting Thunder offer too much value to bypass? Let’s break this matchup down to find out:
This is a huge game for the Thunder. They obviously want to snap their current skid and climb up the Northwest Division ranks, but they also need this game.
Minnesota is already up 2-1 in the season series between these two rivals and with just 3.5 games separating the two for a division title, this game could come back to haunt either side.
Splitting the season series would leave the season-ending tiebreaker down to success inside the division and would give OKC a shot. Losing tonight might be a bad omen.
I really like the value with the Thunder tonight. They struggle on the road (8-12) and are not reliable (16-25) against the spread this year, but they actually match up with Minnesota pretty well.
Paul George and Jimmy Butler cancel each other out, Steven Adams is in theory a tough draw for Karl-Anthony Towns down low and Carmelo Anthony and Andrew Wiggins can exchange baskets.
The edge, as is the case in most cases when pitting teams against the Thunder, lies with Russell Westbrook. Few can make an offense hum as well as Westbrook, while he’s been largely unstoppable in this series this year.
The edge could diminish if the T’Wolves can get a healthy Jeff Teague back for this showdown. Teague (knee) has been trending in the right direction and could potentially suit up tonight:
Thibs says a chance Teague could play tomorrow
— Jon Krawczynski (@JonKrawczynski) January 9, 2018
Teague can hit open jumpers, create offense and lend a helping hand in attempting to slow down the human freight train that is Russell Westbrook.
Maybe he plays and that works out for Minnesota, but I can’t quit the value OKC has to offer. They need this game more and they also need to snap out of their current rut. That has me believing Westbrook will come in with a fire in his belly.
OKC offers nice upside as a straight up bet, but given their current skid and how good Minnesota can be at home, I think the better bet is just picking them to beat this spread. I like the +4.5 points in what should be a tight game. After all, all three games this year have been decided by 4 points or fewer.
The Thunder have support from the data, too. They’re the superior defensive team (6th in efficiency) even without Andre Roberson on hand, while they’re historically not the ideal underdog to bet against.
OKC has been labeled as such just three times all year (3-0) and they’ve passed the mark ATS with flying colors. You can go the extra mile and pick the Thunder as a fun SU value if you prefer, but I’ll take what feels like a sure win with OKC to beat this spread.