NBA Betting Preview for Friday: Bucks @ Timberwolves

Written by:
Tyrone Black
Published on:

The second half of the 2023-24 NBA season is returning, 10 games on the Friday slate. Among the best is a Target Center tilt between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Minnesota Timberwolves.


Milwaukee (35-21) is currently third in the Eastern Conference, though scuffling at the end of the first half of the season. Importing Doc Rivers to replace the excised Adrian Griffin as coach has not worked, at least as of yet. Milwaukee lost seven of its last 10.

There haven’t been any such issues with Minnesota, leading the West at 39-16. With a current win streak at four, the Wolves have scored 128 points (versus the Portland Trail Blazers), 121 (against against the Blazers), 121 (at the Los Angeles Clippers) and 129 (24-point win over the Bucks in Milwaukee).

This is the second of two games between the interconference foes this season.

Lines aren’t available, but once posted, please refer to NBA odds.

Milwaukee Can’t Defend

Giannis Antetokounmpo (30.8 points, 11.2 rebounds per game and Damian Lillard (24.6 points/game) add a combined 13 assists/game. That’s not the issue with a Milwaukee team averaging 122 points/game (second to the Indiana Pacers),

What’s problematic is a defense surrendering nearly 119 points/game (23rd in NBA). Milwaukee’s last game before the All-Star break was a 113-110 loss at injury-depleted Memphis, where the offensively-challenged Grizzlies hit 53 percent of their shots.

The previous game saw the Miami Heat come to town, win by 26 and shoot nearly 52 percent.

Did the “vacation” serve to make the Bucks more of a cohesive unit on defense? Answers, or lack thereof, begin in Minneapolis.

Timberwolves Now Legit

It’s been a while since the Minnesota Timberwolves have been competitive, but this is a team that’s legitimate. In a league with points and more points this season, Minnesota (through Wednesday) has been the anti-Milwaukee, leading the NBA in scoring defense (106.7 points per game), 2½ fewer than the second-ranked Cleveland Cavaliers.

It’s not surprising Minny has the stingiest defense (44.6 percent, ahead of the Boston Celtics).

Anthony Edwards, a crusty, four-year vet at the age of 22, continues to improve. Leading the team at 26.3 points/game, he and Karl-Anthony Towns (22½ points, 8.4 rebounds/game) have made Minnesota nasty.  

Rudy Gobert (12½ rebounds. 2.1 blocks/game) is the anchor in the paint, while Naz Reid (12.2 points/game) paces the second unit.

Minnesota is 19-5 at home this season.

Timberwolves to Prevail

If you think these teams are going to meet with the title on the line, that’s a 33-1 (+3300) proposition, as per NBA Finals pairings.

Back to Friday’s game, as the Minnesota Timberwolves went on hiatus playing better ball than the Milwaukee Bucks.

Milwaukee hasn’t looked great since Doc Rivers took over, porous and confused on defense.

Taking down the Bucks in Wisconsin should bode well in Minnesota.

Take the Timberwolves as the Friday choice at home. Go over, too

- Tyrone Black,


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