Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Portland Trail Blazers – NBA, January 7, 2021

By Dean McHugh in NBA
| January 7, 2021 5:36 am PDT

The Timberwolves sit at the bottom of the Western Conference at present and have been more like puppy dogs than Wolves this season. The Trail Blazers sit in the middle of the Northwest Division, but it is so tightly packed that a win here could send them to the top of the table.

Neither team brings great form into this one as the Timberwolves have lost all five of their most recent five games, and the Trail Blazers have won just two of their last five.

The Trail Blazers edge the recent head to head record, winning three and losing two of the last five matchups. However, what is stacked in their favor is 12 of the last 13 games between the two have been won by the home team on the day. Will it be unlucky 13 this time around?

Timberwolves vs. Trail Blazers Odds

Timberwolves (+10) -110
Trail Blazers (-10) -110
Timberwolves To Win +430
Trail Blazers To Win -480
Over 232.5 Points -110
Under 232.5 Points -110

The handicap in this one is purely down to how bad the Timberwolves have been recently, losing by 15, 21, 23, and 36 in four of their last five defeats. The bookmakers are expecting a high-scoring game, presumably because of how bad the Timberwolves are at defending.

Timberwolves News

After winning their opening two games of this campaign, the Timberwolves have been in free fall, losing the next five in a row by some very wide margins.

On the road, they have won just one of their four games so far, but to be fair, they have faced some tough opposition in the Lakers, Clippers, and Nuggets, and they beat the Jazz.

They have also been very poor against the spread losing four of their last five games. When you total that with the fact that they have only won three of the last 14 against Portland and just one of the last nine in January, things do not look good for them here.

Their games have been low scoring as they have generally been one-sided affairs. Six of their last nine have gone under the betting total, as has five of the last seven against Western Conference opposition.

It will be no surprise then to see that the Timberwolves have one of the worst offenses in the NBA this season. In actual fact, their defense isn’t any better so things do not bode well for them right now.

They currently have the second-worst three-point accuracy in the league, presumably as they fall behind so heavily they are getting desperate taking shots that they usually wouldn’t take.

Minnesota have however been good on the boards in attack averaging 11 offensive rebounds per game which is the fourth highest in the league and certainly something to build on. But with every positive you can find for the Timberwolves there is always a negative closely followed as they currently have the least amount of defensive rebounds this season.

They will miss both Towns and Okogie for the trip to Portland as they are both sidelined with injuries.

Trail Blazers News

The Trail Blazers have also struggled for form recently losing three of their last four games.

At home they have a negative 1-2 record to overcome which will give the terrible Timberwolves some hope. In fact their only win was a narrow overtime victory against a struggling Rockets team.

Much like the Timberwolves the Trail Blazers have been poor against the spread losing eight of their last 11 games and all six of their most recent fixtures.

The games between these two have been low scoring recently with six of the last seven going under the betting total. However, five of Portland’s last six games against Northwest Division opposition has gone over as well as seven of the last ten games played in January.

For a team that scores a fair few points you would expect the Trail Blazers to have a better field goal percentage than they have. They currently have the second-worst percentage in the league.

They are good from the free-throw line as well as from deep which probably compensates for this. Because of these decent stats, it does however mean that they don’t have many assists to their name this season as they average the second-lowest per game. As with their home record, their offense appears to be failing at the Moda Center, however.

They do hold on to the ball well having given up the least amount of turnovers in the league which is probably what you would expect from a team that doesn’t pass the ball around as much as other teams, often taking the direct approach to the basket.

Defensively they have been very poor this year and even the Timberwolves’ lackluster offense will fancy scoring a fair few points against them. They average the fourth-lowest amount of blocks per game in the league which they need to improve on.

Shooting guard CJ McCollum has been the main man for the Trail Blazers this season. Despite his team’s poor form he has still managed to shoot the most three-pointers in the league and average 27 points per game.

Like the Timberwolves, Portland has one player out and one doubtful as both Hood and Collins recover from injuries.

Timberwolves vs. Trail Blazers Pick

Both teams have been very poor recently but in their defense, they have had some hard games against good opposition. They will both want to get back to winning aye here which is why I believe there could be a cautious approach by both teams which could lead to a low-scoring game.

Pick
  • Under 232.5 Points
    -110

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