It’s a New Year’s Day showdown between one of the NBA’s best teams and one of the league’s worst when the Milwaukee Bucks host the Minnesota Timberwolves. Although the Bucks are clearly a much better team, as shown by their 134-106 rout of the Timberwolves in their first meeting this season, betting this game could be dicey with Milwaukee favored by 16.5 points.
The Timberwolves have struggled scoring points recently even with a 122-115 win against the Brooklyn Nets in overtime on Monday. That brief glimmer of hope was burnt out by rumors of Karl-Anthony Towns wanting out of Minnesota.
The Bucks, on the other hand, are pretty much the polar opposite of what’s happening in Minnesota, with the guys in Milwaukee winning games and having fun doing so.
Trying To Move Forward
The Timberwolves are currently at 12-20, marking another lackluster season approaching the midway point. Marred by injuries and drama yet again, the Timberwolves are doing what they can to stay focused and keep this team moving forward.
The bright spot for Minnesota right now is Jarrett Culver, a rookie that seems to be developing well within their system. Shabazz Napier came through in their game against the Nets, scoring a season-high 24 points, including a late-game three to put a nail in the coffin.
The unfortunate part of the Timberwolves story is that even with Napier and Culver stepping up, the injury bug has struck again. Four Timberwolves are questionable for Wednesday’s showdown against the Bucks, leaving them very shorthanded against a talented and high-scoring Milwaukee team.
To be fair, even if Minnesota had all its starters ready and able, I doubt it would be able to cover the point spread. Minnesota has been shooting awful from three, and with Andrew Wiggins questionable, the offense won’t be able to score efficiently.
Letting The Good Times Roll
The Milwaukee Bucks are unstoppable right now, Giannis Antetokounmpo can start writing his MVP speech already, and I’d say they’re more than likely going to win the East. With an MVP front-runner like Antetokounmpo and a strong supporting staff, the Bucks have been able to win 30 games and show no signs of slowing down.
What impresses me most about the Bucks are the teams they’ve been able to beat: Two teams that are favored to win the Western Conference (Lakers and Clippers) and the reigning Finals champs (Raptors).
Milwaukee heads into Wednesday 6-1 ATS in its last seven games, giving me more than enough confidence to say it will be able to cover. This is one of the most prolific offenses in the NBA, ranking first in points per game (119.8) and leading the league in rebounds per game (51.7) against a Minnesota defense that will offer little to no resistance.
Antetokounmpo, who already leads the team in points, assists, and field-goal percentage, is probably looking forward to playing against a Timberwolves defense that will have no way to stop him.
Pick and Prediction
This game would be much more entertaining if Minnesota wasn’t in the process of rebuilding the team, as it currently is no match for Milwaukee, which averages almost 120 points per game. Couple a lackluster Minnesota offense with potentially four starters out, and the Timberwolves will have a difficult time scoring against Milwaukee.
In Minnesota’s last seven games, the total has gone under six times. In their last five games against Central Division opponents, the Timberwolves are 1-4 ATS.
The Bucks, however, have been red hot against the spread recently, going 6-1 in their last seven games. The Bucks will be doing most of the scoring in this game, which convinces me that this one will go under, just like five of Milwaukee’s last seven games. This one is pretty clear cut. Take the Bucks -16.5, and if you’re feeling frisky, bet the under as well.