Suns vs. Timberwolves Series Odds, Matchup Preview, & Analysis

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Suns vs. Timberwolves Series Odds, Matchup Preview, & Analysis

After narrowly avoiding the play-in tournament, the Phoenix Suns are actually favored against the Minnesota Timberwolves in the first round of the 2024 NBA playoffs. The sixth-seeded Suns are one of two lower-seeded teams to be favored in the first round, which is the second time that has happened in 35 years, according to ESPN Bet.

Minnesota has home-court advantage because it won seven more regular season games and subsequently snagged a better seed in the fight for a spot in the NBA Finals.  However, Phoenix won all three matchups this year versus Minnesota by an average of 15.6 points per 100 possessions. It was utter domination, so the Wolves must be on high alert. The Wolves have an opportunity to win their first playoff series since 2004 beginning Saturday when Minnesota hosts Game 1. 

Suns vs. Timberwolves series odds

Despite a shaky regular season, Phoenix is the favorite to win the series at online sports betting sites. They are set around -130 to prevail, which has an implied probability of 56%. In other words, online sportsbooks are nearly calling this series a toss-up. 

Meanwhile, the series spread is at -1.5 Suns. They must win the series in six or fewer games to cover that line. Because that’s a difficult feat, online sportsbooks have set Phoenix bets for those odds at +135 — 42% implied probability. 

Finally, a six-game series has the shortest odds, while a seven-game series narrowly edges out a five-game series for the second-shortest odds. 

Suns vs. Timberwolves game 1 odds

The Timberwolves are favorites in game one, and they are on the moneyline. Home-court advantage definitely factors into the line, as Minnesota was 30-11 at home this season. 

Suns playoff preview

Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, and Bradley Beal form a dynamic offensive trio with exceptional firepower. Their ability to take over games via midrange jumpers gives them an arrow in their quiver that many other teams lack. Considering that Minnesota’s defense surrendered the fourth most midrange attempts per game this year, it could be an X-factor for Phoenix.  

Sharpshooter Grayson Allen paced all qualified players in the NBA at a blistering 46.1% on 3-point attempts, and center Jusuf Nurkic completes the starting lineup as a roller, cutter, and solid passer. Outside of Royce O’Neale, though, Phoenix’s depth is underwhelming compared to other postseason squads. The Suns may need a player like Eric Gordon to step up and clear 40% from deep to offer some sort of spark off the bench. 

Suns’ biggest strength

When the Suns get going, few teams can match their efficiency level. Phoenix finished the season ranked fourth in true shooting percentage and sixth in effective field goal percentage. Basketball Index’s shot-making metric adjusts efficiency with the degree of difficulty, so it essentially depicts which teams are riddled with tough shot-makers. The Suns led the NBA in overall shot-making and ranked fourth in 3-point shot-making.

Suns’ biggest weakness

During the fourth quarter this season, opponents outscored the Suns by 11.6 points per 100 possessions on average. This mark easily ranked dead last in the NBA, and the gap between them and 29th was equal to the gap between 29th and 14th. Additionally, Phoenix was 19th in clutch net rating and 23rd in clutch effective field goal percentage. The team routinely blew big leads and couldn’t execute when it mattered most.

Timberwolves playoff preview

Minnesota features a nasty, disruptive defense that easily paced the league in defensive rating. Even if opponents get past Anthony Edwards and Jaden McDaniels’ suffocating perimeter defense, they must contend with Rudy Gobert on the back end. 

Durant typically shoots over any forward, but McDaniels may have a chance to truly bother his shot due to his own length and anticipation. Limiting Durant would be massive for Minnesota’s chances in this series. 

On the other side, the Wolves own a fearsome one-two offensive punch. Edwards posted 31.6 points per game last postseason, and the 22-year-old guard only improved his game this year. Meanwhile, Karl-Anthony Towns averaged 21.8 points per game this season and nearly joined the esteemed 50/40/90 club. 

Timberwolves’ biggest strength

Gobert could once again win Defensive Player of the Year due to his stellar interior defense. He finished third in rim defensive field goal percentage versus expected and eighth in block percentage. Factor in Towns and McDaniels, and Minnesota boasts a massive frontcourt. As a result, the Wolves allowed the lowest paint field goal percentage in the league this season. 

Although Phoenix’s offense isn’t predicated on getting to the basket, Minnesota’s rim protection reduces the Suns’ margin for error because they are getting lower percentage shots. Overall, should the Wolves make a deep run, it will probably be grounded in their interior defense. 

Timberwolves’ biggest weakness

The Wolves were 17th in offensive rating during the regular season and failed to establish a shred of consistency. They often settled for contested shots and did not run sets through an established table-setter, thus resulting in diminished shot quality. Edwards and Towns are skilled enough to disregard shot quality, but it’s a concern for their role players. 

Turnovers in particular were problematic, as they ranked 23rd in turnover percentage, and losing the possession battle is a massive disadvantage.