Wolves-Thunder Betting Guide: How Thibodeau’s Firing Affects This Over/Under

Wolves-Thunder Betting Guide: How Thibodeau’s Firing Affects This Over/Under article feature image

Photo credit: USAToday Sports. Pictured: Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins

Betting Odds: Minnesota Timberwolves at Oklahoma City Thunder

  • Spread: Thunder -8
  • Over/Under: 228.5
  • Time: 8 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: NBA TV

>> All odds as of 12:15 p.m. ET. Download The Action Network App to get real-time NBA odds and track your bets

The 19-21 Timberwolves will travel to Oklahoma City to face the 25-14 Thunder in their first game without former head coach Tom Thibodeau.

What will his absence mean for Tuesday night’s spread and total? Our analysts discuss.

Betting Trends to Know

The Timberwolves hit the road after sweeping the Lakers and Magic on a quick two-game homestand to faces one of the best and hottest teams in the Western Conference: The Thunder.

The Wolves are 3-11 (21.4%) against the spread on the road against the West this season, failing to cover by 7.6 points per game and losing bettors 8.2 units. Minnesota is the NBA’s least profitable team in this spot.Evan Abrams

Did you know? Russell Westbrook leads the NBA in triple-doubles this season and is averaging 21.1 points, 11.0 rebounds and 10.1 assists per game. But the OKC star has the lowest true shooting percentage of his career (.475).

Westbrook is getting his stats, but not efficiently, which isn’t helping the Thunder offense. The unit is tied for 20th in the NBA in efficiency (105.2 points per 100 possessions). John Ewing

Mears: How Thibs’ Firing Affects This Total

For as much as Thibodeau was supposed to be a defensive guru, the numbers just weren’t there this season.

The Wolves sit 17th in defensive efficiency and 20th in effective field goal percentage allowed on the season. And over their past 10 games, they’re 23rd in eFG% allowed, and the over has hit in nine of those games.

Over the long run, the defense could certainly improve, but I’m skeptical it will happen in Game 1 of the non-Thibs era. They’ve had little practice time, and it takes a while to make wholesale scheme changes.

Further, the Wolves will be without their best defender, Robert Covington. Since joining the team, they’ve been 2.6 points per 100 possessions worse with him off the floor. That could be exacerbated on Tuesday against the tough matchup of Paul George on the wing.

Given those factors, I’m already interested in the over here. But the offensive side of the ball for the Wolves will be a question.

This is encouraging for over backers…

Derrick Rose said Ryan Saunders emphasized playing at a faster pace in practice today.

— Chris Hine (@ChristopherHine) January 7, 2019

Although, it might be tough to run specifically against this Thunder squad, which has forced opponents into halfcourt sets at the fourth-highest rate in the league. Further, without Covington and Derrick Rose on top of installing a new coach, it’s possible that Minnesota runs things heavily through Karl-Anthony Towns in the post.

Towns has had mixed results against the Thunder historically, and notably he posted low usage rates in his two recent contests. When they’ve focused on getting him shots he’s done well, so there is upside there.

Unfortunately, the value is likely gone from this line. The total opened at 223.5, but it’s already ballooned way up to 228.5 behind 60% of wagers and 73% of the money as of writing (see live data here).

I’d hold off at that elevated number, but I will be looking to take advantage of Wolves overs in superior matchups coming soon. Bryan Mears

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.

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