The Minnesota Timberwolves (35-35) will look to play their way out of the play-in tournament when they travel to take on the Chicago Bulls (31-37) on Friday night.
The Bulls will be without Javonte Green (knee) and could potentially be without Alex Caruso (illness), while the Timberwolves will once again be without Karl-Anthony Towns (calf), and Jaylen Nowell (knee). Austin Rivers (back), Naz Reid (calf) and Rudy Gobert (ankle) are all questionable.
The Bulls open as 2.5-point favorites according to Draftkings Sportsbook. The total comes in at 224.5. Chicago is -145 on the moneyline, while the Timberwolves are +125.
Timberwolves vs. Bulls, 8 p.m. ET
Pick ATS: Timberwolves +2
While there’s no doubting that Minnesota is the more talented team in this matchup, the Wolves enter as an underdog due to the uncertainty around their roster for tonight — specifically Gobert and Reid. If neither center is able to go, Luka Garza will be the next man up at center for Minnesota, which should lead to a big game from Bulls center Nikola Vucevic. Still, I’m backing the Timberwolves because of Anthony Edwards. He’s been playing inspired basketball lately, averaging 28.3 points per game in his last six games. He has gone over the 30 point plateau in three of those games. Tonight’s game should be a shootout, but I’m betting on Edwards on the Timberwolves to cover.
Over/Under: Over 224.5
As mentioned above, I think tonight will be a shootout. The lack of Gobert and/or Reid should lead to Vucevic having a strong game, and DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine are both good for 17+ field-goal attempts on any given night. Both teams have trouble defending the perimeter, and could be without their biggest impact defenders. The last time these two teams played, the total reached 270. I expect that kind of energy again tonight.