Minnesota bounced back from a two-point loss to Orlando by finishing off a three-game homestand with a dominating 111-90 win over the Houston Rockets on Sunday. The Timberwolves are tied with the Oklahoma City Thunder for the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference and open up a five-game road trip Monday as a modest favorite against the Chicago Bulls.
Chicago is still within striking distance of the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference despite being a big underdog (+350) to make the playoffs. The Bulls played .500 ball (4-4) over the last two weeks and are three games back of the Miami Heat. Chicago is coming off a 123-115 loss to Sacramento on Saturday.
Here’s a betting preview for Tuesday’s cross-conference matchup with a best bet.
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Timberwolves vs. Bulls odds, spread and total
Timberwolves vs. Bulls how to watch
- Date: Tuesday, Feb. 6
- Game time: 8 p.m. EST
- Venue: United Center
- How to watch (TV): Bally Sports
- Timberwolves record: 35-15
- Bulls record: 23-27
Timberwolves vs. Bulls injury reports
- No injuries to report
- Alex Caruso (adductor strain): questionable
- Torrey Craig (foot): probable
- Dalen Terry (ankle): probable
- Coby White (ankle): probable
Timberwolves vs. Bulls key players to watch
Mike Conley: The veteran guard missed two games and returned to Minnesota’s starting lineup Jan. 31. In three games back, Conley has scored just 22 points on 7-of-21 shooting. Conley’s offensive role with the Timberwolves has always been as a key facilitator and he ranks 15th in the NBA in assists (6.4 per game). Conley dished out nine dimes in each of the last two games.
Nikola Vucevic: The 6-foot-10 center gets the spotlight when matched up against Minnesota’s dynamic frontcourt. Vucevic is averaging a double-double for the sixth consecutive season at 17.1 points and 10.6 rebounds (8th in the NBA) in the league. Vucevic has scored 20-plus in three of the last five games, and is coming off a 24-point, 12-rebound performance in Saturday’s loss to Sacramento.
Timberwolves vs. Bulls prediction and pick
Minnesota is vying for the No. 1 seed but its final stretch of play in January left a lot to be desired with losses as big favorites to Charlotte and San Antonio. Chicago has been great at the United Center, going 6-3-1 ATS as a home underdog. The Bulls are also 7-4 ATS with a rest advantage and Minnesota is 3-4-1 ATS with a rest disadvantage.
Chicago has been playing well as of late, covering in five of its last seven games, and have done it without star guard Zach LaVine, who is out for the season with a foot injury. Minnesota has the No. 1 defense in the NBA in both overall rating and scoring (106.7 points per game), but Chicago’s offense still has DeMar DeRozan and Coby White running the show, combining for 41.2 points per game.
The injury report looks favorable for Chicago, which has the No. 7 scoring defense at home this season, giving up just 109.8 points per game at the United Center. Chicago has the size and physicality to compete with Minnesota’s dominant frontcourt of Karl-Anthony Towns and Rudy Gobert. The Bulls are No. 1 in the NBA in allowing points in the paint (Minnesota is No. 2) and No. 9 in second-chance points.
In a projected low-scoring defensive slugfest, take the points with Chicago.
Game odds update periodically and are subject to change.