Trail Blazers vs Timberwolves: Preview, injury report, and betting guide

The Portland Trail Blazers return to the Moda Center for the first time in over two weeks tonight for a matchup against the Minnesota Timberwolves. This could be a preview of a play-in tournament clash, as the Wolves currently hold the seventh-seed and the Blazers the 10th. Portland will be looking to either dramatically rise or fall in the standings by the time Damian Lillard is ready to return — setting a more definitive direction for the team for the rest of the season.

The Trail Blazers have hit a hot streak, winning seven of their last 11 games. With the third-easiest remaining strength of schedule, Portland has plenty of time and winnable games to make up ground in the rankings but has a 5.5 game deficit to the current sixth-seed Denver Nuggets for the final guaranteed playoff slot. They’ll have to play above their heads and hope for some detonations from the teams above them in the standings if they want to avoid the play-in tournament.

The Timberwolves have experienced their own winning surge, notching seven victories in their last 10 contests. Their offense has finally started to catch up with a surprisingly effective defense, having averaged over 120 points in that stretch according to statmuse.

Norman Powell, D'Angelo Russell, Minnesota Timberwolves, Portland Trail Blazers, preview, injury report, betting guide

Norman Powell, D’Angelo Russell, Minnesota Timberwolves, Portland Trail Blazers, preview, injury report, betting guide (Photo by Soobum Im/Getty Images)

Portland Trail Blazers vs Minnesota Timberwolves: Preview, injury report, and betting guide

Injury Report:

Trail Blazers:

Robert Covington – probable (finger)

Dennis Smith Jr. – probable (ankle)

Nassir Little – probable (knee)

Damian Lillard – out (abdominal surgery)

Larry Nance Jr. – out (knee)

Cody Zeller – out (patellar)


Patrick Beverley – questionable (ankle)

Spread: Minnesota Timberwolves -3, -155 moneyline

Both of these teams have been red-hot as of late, and the two smoldering fires will meet head-on tonight in what’s expected to be a high-powered shootout.

Anthony Edwards in particular has been scorching the nets, averaging over 22 points while shooting north of 44 percent from distance. Norman Powell‘s return to the lineup for the Trail Blazers couldn’t have come at a better time, as the team will need his length and sturdy defense to help slow down the other Ant.

Between Edwards, D’Angelo Russell, and Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota has plenty of weapons to make life difficult for Portland’s defenders. With a top-10 defense to pair with their explosive firepower, this will be a tough task for the shorthanded Blazers.

This game should be a neck-to-neck firefight, with both teams hitting significant blows. In the end, though, it will be tough for the Trail Blazers to match Minnesota’s scoring, especially against a surprisingly stout defense led by Jarred Vanderbilt.

Verdict: Minnesota Timberwolves -3

Over/under: 232.5

It looks like WynnBet is wising up to how Trail Blazer games usually go; a safe bet to top at least 215 points.

This seems like a bit of an overcorrection as both squads would have to score over 116 to hit this figure. The logic is there, as Portland’s top scorers happen to play opposite some of the Timberwolves’ weakest defenders.

Jusuf Nurkic should have plenty of opportunities to rack up points in the low block against KAT — an improved help defender but still weak man-to-man against a bruiser like Nurk. Anfernee Simons, CJ McCollum, and Norman Powell should be able to find ample open shots against D’Angelo Russell and the rest of Minnesota’s defensively-inept guards, especially if Patrick Beverley is ruled out.

Still, it’ll be hard to imagine Portland scoring over 116 points and losing this one. In the end, there should be plenty of buckets to go around but just short of the towering total that WynnBet laid out.

Verdict: Under 232.5