NBA Odds, Best Bets Today: Expert Picks for Thunder vs. Timberwolves (April 14)

NBA Odds, Best Bets Today: Expert Picks for Thunder vs. Timberwolves (April 14) article feature image
Credit:

Mark Blinch/Getty Images. Pictured: Josh Giddey #3 of the Oklahoma City Thunder.

  • It's elimination day in the NBA with a doubleheader of must-win games in the NBA Play-In Tournament.
  • Our analysts have multiple bets for Friday's two-game slate: Bulls vs. Heat and Thunder vs. Timberwolves.
  • Check out their NBA best bets for Friday's Play-In games below.

It all comes down to tonight. Friday's NBA Play-In games are the last chance for four teams to make the NBA Playoffs: Bulls vs. Heat (7 p.m. ET on TNT) and Thunder vs. Timberwolves (9:30 p.m. ET on ESPN).

Two will advance and two are headed to Cancun.

Action Network's NBA analysts are targeting player props and the spread in both of tonight's matchups. Read on for their in-depth analysis and best bets today below.

NBA Odds & Best Bets

Click on a pick to skip ahead
Bulls vs. Heat Player Prop
7 p.m. ET
Bulls vs. Heat Player Prop
7 p.m. ET
Bulls vs. Heat Spread
7 p.m. ET
Thunder vs. Timberwolves Spread
9:30 p.m. ET

Chicago Bulls vs. Miami Heat

Pick
Nikola Vucevic o10.5 rebs (-120)
Book
DraftKings
Tipoff
7 p.m. ET
TV
TNT

Bryan Fonseca: I have no idea how this game is going to go.

I've been watching the Heat all season. They lose when they shouldn't, they win when they shouldn't. They play hard when you think they won't, they don't when you think they will. The role players can't hit shots anymore and have regressed significantly. Jimmy Butler coasts early on in the season as Bam Adebayo carries the team. Adebayo is worn out by All-Star break for overcompensating for others on the team, and Butler kicks it into gear. Tyler Herro has his moments, but still isn't consistent enough when it matters.

Which version will we get tonight? I don't know.

I do know that Nikola Vucevic, who might not have an offensively awesome game, should get his rebounds.

The Heat switch (too) often, which is why Adebayo doesn't rebound like an elite big, and why he doesn't block as many shots as he could, and is why the Atlanta Hawks were able to win rebounding battles like Clint Capela vs. Kyle Lowry or John Collins vs. Max Strus or Onyeka Okongwu vs. Caleb Martin. By design, he'll lock up a guard on the perimeter, but then, a big body like Vucevic will have his openings on the glass, especially on offense.

Who's gonna win? Don't know, and as it pertains to this bet, don't care. But I like Vucevic on the glass tonight.


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Chicago Bulls vs. Miami Heat

Pick
DeMar DeRozan o21.5
Book
DraftKings
Tipoff
7 p.m. ET
TV
TNT

Munaf Manji: We seem to be getting a discount on this number because DeMar DeRozan has been struggling to score the basketball. However, he did score 23 points in an elimination game against the Toronto Raptors Tuesday night.

DeRozan has success scoring against the Miami Heat. In the three matchups this season against the Heat, DeRozan is averaging 28.3 points per game and has gone over this line in all three matchups. Further, the shot volume is up there for DeRozan in the matchups against the Heat. DeRozan averaged 11 field goal makes per game while attempting 17 in the same span.

DeRozan did not shoot below 64% in any of the three games this season against the Heat. In a win-or-go-home game, I expect the stars to shine for the Bulls in particular DeRozan. I like this number up to 22.5


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Chicago Bulls vs. Miami Heat

Pick
Bulls +5.5
Book
DraftKings
Tipoff
7 p.m. ET
TV
TNT

Andrew O'Connor-Watts: Look, I don’t like betting the Bulls any more than the next person, but they showed up big against the Raptors and I sure as heck am not laying the points with Miami.

I expect the Heat to come with more fire than they did on Tuesday, but even if they turn things around, this spread is just too long of a number — especially for one of the worst ATS teams in the league as a home favorite (12-24-2).

The Hawks—a talented offense, but a team that hasn’t defended anyone all season—completely outclassed Miami on both sides of the ball, holding them to just 105 points on Tuesday to secure the No. 7-seed.

The Bulls, who have the best defense over the past two weeks (and third-best for over a month), have wings and guards to throw at Jimmy Butler and Kyle Lowry. And despite some of his defensive deficiencies, Nikola Vucevic played most of his 39 minutes on Bam Adebayo in their last head-to-head meeting, holding him to a modest 23 points, seven rebounds and four assists on 9-17 shooting. Chicago won easily to complete the season sweep.

This is a bit of a stars aligning play. My model makes this closer to Heat -1 and the trends favor the Bulls here. Miami is 3-6 ATS in their last nine games, while Chicago is 8-2 ATS in their last 10 road games. I think the Bulls win in this game too, so I’ll take however many points the books are giving out, but reduce risk below +3.5. I'll also play the moneyline.


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Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Minnesota Timberwolves

Pick
Thunder +5.5
Book
DraftKings
Tipoff
9:30 p.m. ET
TV
ESPN

Kenny Ducey: I wrote bout this matchup in Friday's betting guide, but I like the Thunder in this spot.

Underdogs have been feasting thus far in the Play-In Tournament, so why not take one more? Sure, the Thunder have a real chance to win on the road here — and they very well may. I think it’s very safe to take the points, though, given what we’ve covered above.

I’m not expecting Gobert to play, which would open the game up for the Thunder guards to gash Minnesota’s defense. If he does play, the Timberwolves are sure to look much more discombobulated on offense than they did without him against the Lakers.

Either way, the Thunder are in a good spot. The Timberwolves were one of the seven-worst teams at defending the three, which should play right into Oklahoma City’s hands. They’re also a very banged up team, helping matters even further.

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