Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Oklahoma City Thunder – NBA, February 5, 2021

By Dean McHugh in NBA
| February 5, 2021 5:01 am PDT

This is a good old fashion dog fight between the bottom two teams in the Northwest Division. These teams are becoming detached from the rest of the Division, so this is a must win game for them.

The recent head-to-head record favors the Thunder as they have won the last four games in a row. However, in Oklahoma, the Timberwolves have done marginally better, winning three of their previous five visits.

This is the first of back-to-back games between these two in the space of two days. They haven’t met since 2019, so there could be a feeling-out process early on in this one.

Let’s look at the betting trends for each team, and then I will provide my Timberwolves vs. Thunder betting prediction.

Timberwolves vs. Thunder Odds

Timberwolves (-2.5) -110
Thunder (+2.5) -110
Timberwolves To Win -138
Thunder To Win +120
Over 218.5 Points -110
Under 218.5 Points -110

I am surprised that the Timberwolves are favorites here, given they have only won five games all season. I also believe the points total looks low, especially when you see that these two have a combined average of 231 in their previous ten games against each other.

Timberwolves News

The Timberwolves have only won one of their previous six matches and are severely lacking confidence right now. However, if you look at their last three games, there has been some improvement. They beat the Cavs 109-104, then lost to them narrowly by two points the next night in Cleveland, and they most recently lost by three to the Spurs.

Minnesota has the worst away record in the Eastern Conference and has won just one of their ten games on the road. They have lost their last nine in a row, so it seems crazy that they are the favorites to win this one.

Here are the latest betting trends for Minnesota:

  • Four of their last five games have gone under the betting total.
  • They have only won three of their previous 19 matches.
  • Minnesota is 8-3 against the spread in their last 11 games against Oklahoma.
  • Their last five games against the Thunder in Oklahoma have all gone over the points total.
  • Eight of their previous ten games against Western Conference opposition has gone over the betting total.
  • The Timberwolves are 5-10 against the spread in their last 15 games played in February.

The stats above are varied, and there are no significant patterns to go on.

The Timberwolves have an abysmal offense this season that hasn’t shot well. They are averaging 43% from inside the D and 34% from outside it, which isn’t good enough.

This means they are averaging only 106 points per game, giving their defense too much work.

Their defense has been marginally better but is still considered weak. Their defensive rebounding is a concern for them as it is amongst the worst in the league. They also need to improve their poor disciplinary record as they are averaging 21 personal fouls per game. Although this is perhaps understandable given they spend so little time without the ball.

As you would expect, the Timberwolves have had no standout players this season. However, Jaylen Nowell’s form has picked up recently, and he has posted double-digit figures for the fifth game running.

The injuries are starting to mount up for Minnesota as they miss Towns and Culver, while Russell and Hernangomez are doubtful.

Thunder News

The Thunders form has picked up recently as they have won three of their last five games. This includes gaining revenge over the Rockets last time out by beating them 104-87. They had previously suffered a hefty 30 point defeat two nights earlier. The win was especially significant given it ended the Rockets six-game unbeaten run.

Along with the Mavericks, Oklahoma has the worst home record in the Western Conference. They have only won two of their nine games played at the Chesapeake Energy Arena. However, those two wins have come in their last four matches, so perhaps their fortunes are changing.

Here are the latest betting trends for Oklahoma:

  • They have won four of their last six games against the spread.
  • Six of their previous seven games against the Timberwolves have gone over the betting total.
  • The total has gone over in four of their last five home games.
  • They have won four of their last five games against teams in the Western Conference when betting against the spread.
  • The Thunder have an excellent record against the spread when playing teams based in the Northwest Division, as they have won seven of the previous nine.
  • Oklahoma is 6-2 in their last eight games played in February.
  • They have only won two of their previous six games played on a Friday.

The two main points to take from the above data are their high scoring, and the bookmakers have certainly under estimated them regularly.

For a team that has seen so many games go over the points total, you would assume that the Thunder have a good offense, right? Well, they don’t. It’s marginally better than the Timberwolves offense, but that is no great compliment. They haven’t rebounded well or passed great either, so there are many things to improve upon.

With the Timberwolves giving away so many fouls, they will have to improve their 73% shooting from the free-throw line. Unlike Minnesota, the Thunder are very disciplined and don’t give away many personal fouls at all.

They are shooting at only 34% from deep, just as the Timberwolves are, so don’t expect many three-pointers in this one.

Their defense has a slightly better feel to it, but the result is the same as their offense, which is poor. They press their opponents well and have been excellent at rebounding in defense, so it is a bit of a mystery as to how they are conceding so many points each night. I guess that they are spending too little time with out the ball, and eventually, this will take its toll.

Like the Timberwolves, the Thunder also has a long list of absentees as Hill, Gilgeous-Alexander, and Dort are confirmed as out, while Ariza and Jerome face late fitness tests.

Timberwolves vs. Thunder Betting Pick

I still believe that the points total is too low here, but I just can’t back these two offenses given how poor they have played this season in general.

I will take the Thunder to win this one as I believe they will see more of the ball than they are used to, and given their defensive abilities, they should be able to restrict the Timberwolves to a winnable total. They also come into the game with better form, and the odds seem high to me too.

Pick
  • Thunder To Win
    +120

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