Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Minnesota Timberwolves Pick 4/7/19
Oklahoma City Thunder (46-33 SU, 40-39-1 ATS) vs. Minnesota Timberwolves (36-43 SU, 38-41 ATS)
When: Sunday, April 7th, 2019 – 3:30 PM ET
Where: Target Arena – Minneapolis, MN
Point Spread: OKC -6 / MIN +6 (Bookmaker)
Power Rankings: Minnesota +1
Takeaways From Oklahoma City and Minnesota’s Most Recent Games
The Thunder have won their last two games and covered in both occasions as they did so. Most recently, OKC was in action on Friday in Motown against the playoff-minded Detroit Pistons. The Thunder closed as a six-point favorite and defeated Detroit by over double that figure in a 123-110 win.
The Timberwolves extended their win streak to two games after they took down the Miami Heat in the Twin Cities on Friday. Closing as a four-point underdog, Minnesota staged its second consecutive at-the-spread upset when it defeated Miami a 111-109 thriller.
How the Public is Betting the Oklahoma City and Minnesota Game
Presently, 57% of the betting public like the Timberwolves here with the points. On the flip-side, the Thunder opened as a five-point favorite, but the market rose by a point to OKC being a six-point favorite thanks to early action rolling in on the Thunder.
The Timberwolves hosted the Thunder in the Target Center in March and pulled an upset as a two-point underdog. The final score resulted in Minnesota defeating Oklahoma City 131-120.
There are notable injury concerns expressed by either Oklahoma City or Minnesota heading into this late-season clash. It has been well-documented that Timberwolves have been playing without Point Guards Jeff Teague and Derrick Rose since March when they were shut down for the season. Since then, Guards Tyus Jones and Josh Okogie have seen expanded roles, and that is who the T-Wolves will be starting. In their last outing against Miami, Okogie and Jones combined for 18 points, six assists, and six rebounds.
Rest Advantages and Concerns
Both teams enter into this Western Conference collision on two days’ rest. For Minnesota, this is the second game in a three-match home-stand that concludes on Tuesday against Toronto. The T-Wolves will close out their regular season on Wednesday on the road in Denver. As for OKC, they will be back home on Tuesday against Houston before closing out their campaign on Wednesday in the hostile confines of Milwaukee against the NBA’s best team, the Bucks.
Will Three Point Success Lead To A Thunder Win?
A pivotal storyline in the last match-up between these two teams was “success from beyond the arc”. To begin, Minnesota is the worst team in the NBA in opponent three-point percentage as they allow the opposition to hit 37.8% of their attempts. The Thunder had no trouble dialing up from downtown against the Timberwolves as they hit 39.1% of their three-point shots. This is a good performance for OKC considering they sit 23rd in the league in terms of three-point shooting overall with a 34.5% success rate. The difference maker was the spectacle Minnesota put on from three-point range. The T-Wolves hit 50% of their three-point shots against a Thunder defense that usually only allows opponents to land 35.6% of their attempts (16th in the NBA). In a nutshell, Minnesota’s three-point shooting was atypical while Oklahoma City’s was about what to expect given the match-up. Moreover, 50% is a hard number for any team to hit on any given day, and for that reason, it is hard to bank on Minnesota attaining such prolific success again. Be that as it may, should OKC’s defensive numbers against the three-pointer hover around where they usually do, the Thunder should be able to outshoot the T-Wolves from three-point range and outscore them perhaps by significant margins.
Can Minnesota Take Advantage of Oklahoma City Mistakes?
In their last game against the Thunder, Minnesota utilized advantages in the turnover margin to get the win as well. Oklahoma City turned the ball over 12 times compared to Minnesota who did so ten times. The T-Wolves will look to exploit this angle again should they want to get the best of Oklahoma City. Playing on the emotional intangible they hold in this series by being a perpetual pest, Minnesota will look to throw Oklahoma City off their game and play a more responsible brand of basketball if they hope to extend their win streak against the Thunder. Moreover, the T-Wolves will also look to outmuscle the Thunder to generate scoring opportunities. In the last meeting between the two, Minnesota outscored Oklahoma City 50-34 in the paint.
There is one trend that sells the stock of Minnesota hard in this contest. The Timberwolves have been a thorn in Oklahoma City’s side and have won the last four meetings between both parties. Two of Minnesota’s wins against Oklahoma City over this span were by a mere bucket.
Keith’s Pick to Cover the Spread: Oklahoma City -6
With all the X’s and O’s broken down, I think motivation will be the ultimate deciding factor in this game. For Minnesota, this contest bears no meaning. The T-Wolves cannot qualify for the playoffs, and thus their approach to this match is a mystery. Takers expose themselves to the possibility of Minnesota showing up in body but not spirit and treating this game as nothing more than a scrimmage to get their reserves playing time. Contrarily, Oklahoma City wants to get the Minnesota monkey off their back and doing so helps their cause as they jock for playoff positioning. The Thunder are seventh in the Western Conference standings and presently slated to play Denver in the first round of the playoffs. OKC trails the Clippers by half of a game for the sixth seed which will enable them to square off with Houston instead. On the flip side, the Thunder is half of a game ahead of San Antonio who as the eighth seed would have the daunting task of squaring off with the two-time defending NBA Champions, the Golden State Warriors in the first round. One thing I can say for sure if OKC can avoid seeing the W’s until the Western Conference Finals they will be most inclined to take that route. For this reason, Oklahoma City will get all over Minnesota early and never look back. My pick is on the Thunder who will win big here.
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