Milwaukee Bucks vs. Minnesota Timberwolves
Spread: Bucks -2.5
Money Line: Milwaukee -155 / Minnesota +135
Overview and Betting Info
The Milwaukee Bucks are heading to play the Minnesota Timberwolves Friday night, hoping to keep their perfect season intact. The two teams have split the series 2-2 over the last two seasons, with Minnesota taking both matchups last season. The Timberwolves will be looking to snap a two-game losing streak, while the Bucks hope to go 8-0 for the first time in franchise history. This will only be Milwaukee’s second road game this season (they Had a 6-game home stand).
The T-wolves are 3-5 against the spread, failing to do so in their previous two games. At home, they’ve managed to cover just twice in five attempts. They’ve gone under the point total in six of their eight games.
The Bucks are an impressive 6-1 versus the spread and have gone over the point total three times. They have hit the under in three of their last five games.
The Bucks come into this matchup with a chance at history on the line. A victory will give them their best franchise start in history, which they failed to achieve just a few seasons ago. Giannis was a leader on that 7-0 team and again looks like the best player in the NBA. He’s averaging 33 points (2nd in NBA), 12 rebounds (2nd in NBA), seven assists, and 1.7 blocks. He’s been incredible on both sides of the ball, which this team has needed with Khris Middleton still out.
Giannis has gotten support from the high-level play of Brook Lopez and Jrue Holiday. Lopez (14 PPG, 7 RPG) has surprised many around the league by regaining his pre-injury form. After missing almost all of last year and his body getting older, there were questions about how much production he had left. Those questions seem to be answered early, as he’s been a spark plug for this offense and has been one of their best 3-point shooters (34%). Holiday has re-discovered his scoring ability after a disappointing playoff run last season. He seems to have corrected whatever was wrong with his shot, and it’s led him to be averaging a solid 20 points per game to go along with seven assists and five rebounds. Both have also boosted a Bucks defense that was suspect last season, with Lopez leading the league with three blocks per game.
On defense, the Bucks made significant changes in the offseason. They are now switching out to cover shooters, and it’s had an immediate impact. It’s something they’ve famously avoided under coach Mike Budenholzer, meaning this will be something the Wolves have yet to see. The league will undoubtedly adjust, but it’s a promising sign that they can be elite.
The Timberwolves have been disappointed with their start. After giving up a ton to acquire Rudy Gobert, they’ve gone 4-4 against a very weak schedule. This includes two losses to San Antonio and one to Utah. Despite a roster loaded with scoring talent, they’ve struggled to get going offensively. Karl-Anthony Town started slow, but he’s been playing better recently and is averaging 21 points per game (8 RPG, 5 APG). He makes this offense go, and his ability to shoot and pass makes him a dangerous threat. He’s struggled against Giannis in the past, but he’ll have more help tonight with Gobert.
The addition of Rudy Gobert has had an immediate impact, as he is averaging 13 points and a league-best 14 rebounds per game. His defense has helped Minnesota become a defensive powerhouse in the West and gives the Wolves the rim protector they’ve needed. Gobert faired well versus Giannis in the past, holding him to an average of 23 points and nine rebounds per game. This will be his first time against the Bucks with his new team, and it should give them a big advantage Friday night.
Gobert and Towns are surrounded by two talented shooters in Anthony Edwards and D’Angelo Russell. Edwards has struggled with consistency but leads the team in scoring with 23 points per game. Russell may be the x-factor in the game, as when he is on, he’s a great scorer. Unfortunately for the Wolves, he’s also struggling for shooting consistency. He started strong but has scored 12 or fewer points in each of his previous four games. Both need to improve their shooting percentages if they want to knock off a great Bucks team.
Free Pick: Bucks -2.5
We see the Bucks moving to 8-0 Friday night. Gobert will contain Giannis (as much as anyone can), but with Jrue and Brook scoring, they will get enough offense to win. Towns have not performed well against the Bucks, and he and Gobert will face a trio of talented big men in Giannis, Lopez, and Bobby Portis. This means Minnesota will need Russell and Edwards to score, which will be a challenge against a revamped Bucks defense that no longer gives up open looks. Plus, they’ll face a pair of brutal defenders in Holiday and Jevon Carter.
We expect some bumps from a Milwaukee team that hasn’t been on the road since their first game, but this team is filled with veterans who should be able to adjust quickly. We’re giving up the points to roll with Milwaukee in this one.