Game: Minnesota Timberwolves @ Chicago Bulls
Time: 8:00 p.m. ET
Odds: TWolves +4, Bulls -4
Tonight’s TWolves-Bulls clash in Chicago could be one of the NBA’s highest-scoring games of the season. The total is set at 240.5, which gives an indication of how oddsmakers perceive tonight’s game. Since Jan. 1, Minnesota has the best offensive rating (118.7) in the NBA. They are also playing at the league’s fastest pace since the beginning of the year. The result has been a run that has the Timberwolves winning nine of their last 13 games. They had won five straight before Wednesday night’s loss to Sacramento, a team they had beaten by 20 the night before.
The problem for Minnesota tonight is that they have six players listed on the injury report. Patrick Beverley, Anthony Edwards, D’Angelo Russell, Naz Reid, Taurean Prince, and Josh Okogie are all questionable for tonight. Russell and Edwards, both starters, are dealing with nagging injuries. Beverley, also a starter, missed the game on Wednesday and he will be needed to defend Chicago’s Zach LaVine.
The Bulls have similar injury issues with Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso out. Like Minnesota, the absence of those two really hurts the Bulls’ defense. Ayo Dosunmu and Coby White have filled in admirably, but neither provides the defense that Chicago needs tonight. Since the calendar flipped to January, the Bulls are 26th in defensive rating (116.7). Dosumnu is actually on the injury report with a concussion. He is questionable and C Nikola Vucevic is listed as probable after suffering a bruised hip.
DeMar DeRozan has four straight games in which he has put up at least 30 points. Two of those games were against Philadelphia and Phoenix. He also has 14 straight games with at least 20 points. He is averaging 27.4 points per game and will be tough to stop tonight. With LaVine back in the lineup, it will become even harder to defend two of the top scorers in the league. LaVine averages 24.9 points a game.
Minnesota, which ranks sixth in the NBA in scoring now, has covered the spread in five of its last six games. The TWolves are also 9-3 ATS in their last 12 games against the Bulls. Chicago is 5-2 ATS in its last seven games. This will be the first meeting between the two teams this season. The last time they played in Chicago, the Bulls won 133-126 as a 4.5-point favorite. The total went way Over (229).
Both teams – Chicago is seventh in scoring – trend Over. Eleven of Minnesota’s last 12 games have seen the total go Over. Plus, the Over is 23-6 in the TWolves road games this season. The total has gone Over in seven of the Bulls’ last eight games. For the season, the O/U is 30-23-2 in Bulls games and 16-10-1 at home. The last four of five TWolves-Bulls games have gone Over as have the last four of five when Minnesota plays at Chicago. Tonight will be the highest total the TWolves have faced all season.