The Minnesota Timberwolves start 2020 off on the road, visiting the Milwaukee Bucks for a New Year’s Day contest.
Coming off a surprisingly impressive win over Brooklyn without their stars, the Timberwolves now have to face the best team in the league. They have not had Karl-Anthony Towns for several weeks, and though Gorgui Dieng has played well, the team as a whole has really imploded.
With Andrew Wiggins also out at the same time, they really have no star and no role player that can step into a No. 1 role. It makes their last win that much more impressive.
Milwaukee, on the other hand, has dealt with several injuries to numerous starters but has still come out smelling like a rose. Khris Middleton missed time, as has Giannis Antetokounmpo. Brook Lopez missed a few games, and the Bucks have played three weeks without guard Eric Bledsoe.
But the Bucks are 30-5, with the best record in all the league, showing that they are built to dominate. The big surprise is that Robin Lopez is the only one to appear in every game, but even he has looked very good on this team. In a crowded conference, they are clearly the favorites.
Milwaukee opens the new year as an 18-point favorite, with the over/under set at 224.5.
Upset Of The Year On The First Day?
It isn’t all too uncommon for struggling teams to knock off the guys at the top. But if a team comprised of mediocre role players with their stars out were to win in this one, it would be a massive deal. Ryan Saunders has done a good job since taking over with the Timberwolves, getting the most out of all his guys.
But when healthy, they are going to have to show just what they are capable of. Not that the playoffs are a must this season, but the Timberwolves can’t keep taking as many losses as they have. After getting to the playoffs a few years ago, they have been well short since.
Minnesota lost Jake Layman early in the year to a toe injury after he started out hot, and he has been missed. He was playing like a super-sixth man while out there but has now missed 18 games.
Milwaukee Looking To Remain Hot
With just five defeats in 35 contests, the Bucks have proven to be very difficult. They dominated the Bulls in their last game without several key players and will be looking to keep things going against Minnesota. The Bucks have rim protection, elite wing defense, and a system that works.
Everybody in the offense can pass the ball as well as they can score it, leading to beautiful ball movement. Mike Budenholzer was always the missing ingredient here. The Bucks could have been contenders, and even beat the Celtics as the No. 8 seed a few years back if they had a coach like him and not Joe Prunty.
The Bucks will likely play their starters in the 25- to 30-minute ballpark Wednesday night and allow the bench some extra run.
Milwaukee Gets The Big W
The bet is simple. If Wiggins and Towns were playing, then you’d go with Minnesota +18. If not, pray for Minnesota and bet Milwaukee -18.
Free Play: MIL -18
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