The Minnesota Timberwolves have won eight of their last 11 games, surging over .500 and into the Top 6 mix in the Western Conference with a healthy roster.
Among those eight wins was a dominant home win over a shorthanded Golden State Warriors team who they'll meet Thursday, in Minnesota's last national TV game of the season.
Here are our free NBA picks and predictions for Timberwolves vs. Warriors, with tip set for Thursday, January 27.
Timberwolves vs Warriors odds
Odds via the Covers Line, an average comprised of odds from multiple sportsbooks.
The Warriors opened as favorites of between 5 and 5.5 points, depending on the book. The total hit the board at 227.5 and 228, with the Over 2-0 this season in games between the Wolves and Dubs.
Timberwolves vs Warriors predictions
- Prediction: Timberwolves +5.5 (-110)
- Prediction: Over 227.5 (-110)
- Best bet: Karl-Anthony Towns Over 32.5 points + rebounds (-110)
Predictions made on 1/26/2022 at 7:00 p.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.
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Timberwolves vs Warriors game info
• Location: Chase Center, San Francisco, CA
• Date: Thursday, January 27, 2022
• Tip-off: 10:00 p.m. ET
• TV: TNT
Timberwolves vs Warriors betting preview
Timberwolves: Patrick Beverley PG (Questionable).
Warriors: Andre Iguodala SF (Questionable), Draymond Green PF (Out), James Wiseman C (Out).
Find our latest NBA injury reports.
Betting trend to know
The Over is 5-0 in the last five games between Minnesota and Golden State. Find more NBA betting trends for Timberwolves vs. Warriors.
Timberwolves vs Warriors picks and predictions
Our predictions are compiled from the analysis of the spread and total and are indications of where we are leaning for this game.
Our best bet is the play that we like the most for this game, which we would actually put some of our bankroll behind.
It's more or less a clean slate in this season series, with the first meeting coming in early November when the Timberwolves had yet to settle on a starting five and the second coming just last Sunday, in a game in which Golden State was without Steph Curry and Draymond Green. So, Thursday's nightcap on TNT should be a fascinating, competitive matchup.
In the Wolves, we have a blossoming young team hitting its stride in time for the second half of the season.
Their defense has been the lifeblood of the team all season long, despite Patrick Beverley coming in and out of the lineup. The full-team effort, which has seen them take on Jarred Vanderbilt's contagious energy and Pat Bev's attitude, has them sitting 10th in defensive rating in the NBA, adjusted for opponent.
That Minnesota is doing this despite starting three players, Karl-Anthony Towns, D'Angelo Russell, and Anthony Edwards, who came into the year with reputations as one-way players is a testament to both the scheme and the effort.
While Minnesota's offense has been lagging behind all year, it's been considerably better since the turn of the new year. The Wolves are first in the NBA offensive rating since January 3rd, when their starters returned from health and safety protocols, with their 118.3 mark higher than the season-long No. 1 ranked Jazz. Along the way, they've crept up to 14th in adjusted offensive efficiency on the year.
Golden State hasn't been able to point to sparkling two-way play of its own since the key date of its season, Klay Thompson's return on January 9. Quite amazingly, the Warriors are second in defensive rating over that stretch despite Draymond Green's injury coinciding with Thompson's return. Far-and-away the league's best defense this year when adjusted for opponent, the Warriors have only furthered that notion in DPOY contender Green's absence.
The offense, however, hasn't been as smooth. The Warriors are 15th in offensive rating since Thompson came back, with a mark that would put them just below your 2021-22 New York Knicks if stretched across the full year. While Golden State's scoring woes predate Thompson's return, with the team sitting 13th in offensive rating for the year, its recent and worse struggles only serve to highlight the opposite directions these teams are going on the offensive end.
The Wolves are 8-3 since that Jan. 3 date, with an average scoring margin of +7.8 over that span, while ranking fourth in net rating. Conversely, since Thompson returned and Green went out on Jan. 9, Golden State is 6-4 with a +6.3 averaging scoring margin — a figure helped significantly by blowout wins over the Bulls and Mavericks, overshadowing an ugly loss to the Pacers and a two-point win over the Rockets.
Golden State may gut this win out, as it has become accustomed to doing lately, but it won't be by any sort of sizable margin. Minnesota has proven to be able to compete with anyone when healthy and it'll be shown again on Thursday.
Prediction: Timberwolves +5.5 (-110)
After starting the season maddeningly bad on the offensive end, the Timberwolves have enjoyed nearly a month of high-level scoring. As mentioned, since the team's starters fully returned from health and safety protocols on January 3, Minnesota is first in the NBA in offensive rating. Edwards' sophomore leap is well underway, Russell is dialed in as a passer and shooter, and microwave scorer Jaylen Nowell is doing his best to solve an otherwise woeful bench.
The Wolves have averaged 119.16 points per game in 2022, as the offense that was promised has arrived. While there are still genuine reasons for concern, the star power of Edwards, Russell, and Towns should help to maintain a solid floor on a game-by-game basis. Tuesday night was a prime example of that: the bench puked up just 14 points but a 40-piece from Edwards was enough for Minnesota to get by Portland.
The Warriors, meanwhile, are still dealing with bizarre struggles from Curry while ramping up Thompson but exploded for 130 on Tuesday against a Mavericks team that was allowing 95.6 ppg since December 28. It was a bench-led effort against Dallas, with Jordan Poole and crew outscoring the starters 71-59 in the Warriors' win.
While it was the bench that fired Golden State up on Tuesday, its star power, like Minnesota, has helped to maintain a safe floor even amid struggles from Curry. January has seen them put up 123 on the Jazz, 115 on the Heat, 108 on the Grizzlies, 138 on the Bulls, and then the aforementioned 130 against the Mavs, all above-average defenses. For as feisty as the 12th ranked Wolves defense has been, there's little reason to believe they'll shut the Warriors down.
These two played to a total of 233 in the first meeting and hit 218 in mid-January, a game that was the fourth of a four-game road trip for the Curry-less Warriors. At full strength, both rosters are capable of exchanging blows and that means an Over on this total.
Prediction: Over 227.5 (-110)
Karl-Anthony Towns' evolving role and physique have seen his rebounding numbers hit a career-low this season, with the All-NBA big averaging just 9.4 boards per game this year. He's recorded double-digit boards in less than half of his games (19 of 40), with energetic four-man Vanderbilt taking on a greater role on the glass.
While Towns continues to adapt to a season that's seen him doubled more often and operating outside the paint more than ever, he has been able to regularly dominate smaller teams. Among those teams punished by their lack of size vs. Towns has been the Warriors, against whom KAT has recorded two of his 19 double-doubles this year. Golden State plays Kevon Looney — who's completely overmatched against Towns — 21 minutes per game, the most of all bigs excluding Draymond Green, who remains out.
As has become the norm in this matchup, Towns will be able to fill the stat line against Looney and Golden State. He's averaged 32.5 points + rebounds this year against the Dubs but coming off a game in which he took just seven shots, expect the Wolves to play through Towns more often while he swallows up boards as he so often does in this matchup.
Pick: Karl-Anthony Towns Over 32.5 points + rebounds (-110)
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