The Timberwolves moved within a game of the six seed out West on Friday despite having the night off, but that passive momentum will be tested this afternoon against the defending champions.
Milwaukee has rarely had difficulties in Minnesota, but then again, these might be a different breed of Timberwolves these days.
Here are our free NBA picks and predictions for the Milwaukee Bucks at the Minnesota Timberwolves on March 19, with tip set for 5:00 ET.
(Editor's Note: These picks were made prior to Saturday afternoon's news that Giannis Antetokounmpo would sit out with knee soreness.)
Bucks vs Timberwolves odds
This odds widget represents the best odds available for each betting market from regulated sportsbooks.
The Bucks opened as 3.0-point favorites on Friday afternoon, and after that briefly spiked to -4.0 on Saturday morning, it settled at -3.0 or even -2.5 at some books. The total hit the boards at 242.0 before rising as high as 244.5 early Saturday. By the end of the morning, the total had found a resting place of 243.5
Bucks vs Timberwolves predictions
Predictions made on 3/19/2022 at 2:00 p.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.
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Bucks vs Timberwolves game info
• Location: Target Center, Minneapolis, MN
• Date: Saturday, March 19, 2022
• Tip-off: 5:00 p.m. ET
• TV: Bally Sports North, Bally Sports Wisconsin
Bucks vs Timberwolves betting preview
Bucks: Giannis Antetokounmpo PF (Out), Pat Connaughton SG (Probable), Lindell Wiggington PG (Questionable), DeAndre Bembry SG (Out).
Timberwolves: Naz Reid C (Questionable), Jaden McDaniels SF (Out).
Find our latest NBA injury reports.
Betting trend to know
The Bucks are 6-1 ATS in their last seven games, as well as 6-2 ATS in their last eight trips to Minnesota. Find more NBA betting trends for Bucks vs. Timberwolves.
Bucks vs Timberwolves picks and predictions
Our side and total predictions are based upon our analysis of the line and total in this game. Our best bet is our favorite pick across all markets.
The Bucks have won eight of their last nine games, looking more and more like the defending champions. Now with center Brook Lopez back and guard Pat Connaughton expected to return tonight, Milwaukee has its title-winning rotation back intact.
Lopez’s return is most crucial, as it was not always assumed, and he provides a needed fulcrum to the Bucks’ defense. Beating the spread in the last two games with him back on the court has already shown the improvement Lopez brings to Milwaukee. His availability today could prove especially troublesome for the Timberwolves, who remain shorthanded at center, despite boasting one of the game’s best.
Karl-Anthony Towns will likely be Minnesota’s only quality big-man tonight with typical backup Naz Reid battling back spasms for the last week. In other words, the Timberwolves were already going to struggle to defend Giannis Antetokounmpo, but adding the need to body up Lopez for 15 minutes a game will exacerbate that weakness. Anytime that ties directly to Giannis, it's bad news for the Bucks’ opponent.
Prediction: Bucks -2.5 (-110)
A lofty total of 244.0 demands efficient play throughout, and while these are two of the league’s best offenses — that kind of demand can be a bit lofty. Only two of the Timberwolves’ last nine games would have crested this number.
The same goes for the Bucks. To reach a total in the mid-240s, both teams have to reach 120. Both teams have to come out of the gates strong and avoid any prolonged drought. Both teams have to play aggressively for 48 minutes. Any brief slog would doom Over hopes.
As good as NBA players are, brief slogs happen in nearly every game. Betting on one may seem the less fun choice, but it is the prudent choice.
Prediction: Under 244.0 (-110)
It’s an afternoon game in the NBA, and for this handicapper, that always means lamenting the lack of a nap. No, not personally. But for the players.
NBA players rely on afternoon naps as part of their routine. It is not trite. It is reality. And when that chance is taken from them so a game can be on in primetime in Europe, that shows itself in their play. That should be most evident early on today.
In other words, the players may not be literally napping as they’d like to be, but it will take some time for their bodies to realize that. Yet, the first half total is not deflated.
Pick: First-half Under 120.0 (-110)
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