Bucks-Timberwolves Betting Preview: Will Giannis & Co. Stay Unbeaten?
USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Giannis Antetokounmpo and Karl-Anthony Towns
Betting odds: Milwaukee Bucks at Minnesota Timberwolves
- Spread: Timberwolves -1
- Over/Under: 234
- Time: 8 p.m. ET
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Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks are a red-hot 4-0 to start the season, hitting every Over along the way. The ‘Wolves? It’s a wee bit more chaotic in the Twin Cities, with the Jimmy Butler drama looming.
What does all of it mean for tonight’s action? Let’s dig in.
Moore: What I’m Watching for Tonight
Welcome to the Math Problem. The Bucks generate the third-most 3s per 100 possessions this season and surrender the eighth-fewest. The Wolves generate the 24th-most and give up the 14th-most.
Milwaukee is just a more modern, optimized team.
Now, the Wolves are sixth in spot-up defense so far this season. They do a decent job in terms of forcing misses.
The problem is that with those kinds of shots, even giving them up is inherently an issue, and the ‘Wolves are giving up the fourth-most catch-and-shoot possessions per game this year.
Even if you’re guarding them, just allowing the extra efficiency hurts.
Throw in the fact that Butler trade talks are ongoing, and you don’t know how that impacts things, and Milwaukee looks to be in a great spot.
I’m wary of the ‘Wolves in general. This seems like a great chance to see if Giannis is ready to take the Bucks from good to great. — Matt Moore
Keep an Eye on the Second-Half Spread
Minnesota is coming off a hard-fought battle on the road against the Raptors, where it lost the first half, but came back to beat Toronto in the second half and lose the game by only seven points.
Under Tom Thibodeau, the T’wolves have struggled in the second halves of games played in December or earlier. According to our Bet Labs data, they are 26-46-3 against the second-half spread over this span, losing bettors -22.5 units and making Thibs the least profitable coach by more than 8 units.
When the T’wolves are at home over this span, they are 11-23-3 against the second-half spread, including 4-11-2 when facing an opponent over .500 on the season. — Evan Abrams
Budenholzer Lives or the Streak
The Bucks have won four consecutive games to start the season, their first four-game winning streak overall since January of last season.
In the offseason, Milwaukee hired former longtime Spurs assistant head coach and Hawks head coach for five seasons, Mike Budenholzer.
Budenholzer has had a ton of success in his head-coaching career when his team is streaking.
Budenholzer is 42-29-2 ATS (59.2%, +10.7 units) when playing on at least a three-game straight-up winning streak and 28-19-2 ATS (59.6%, +7.5 units) when playing on at least a four-game SU winning streak.
Since 2013, Budenholzer is the most profitable coach in the NBA on at least a three- and four-game SU winning streak. — Evan Abrams
Editor’s note: The opinions on this game are from the individual writers and are based on their research, analysis and perspective. They are independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.