Timberwolves vs. Nuggets Opening Series Odds, Prediction and Pick (Bet Defending Champs)

Breaking down the bettings odds for the first-round series between the Minnesota Timberwolves and Denver Nuggets.
Minnesota Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert (27) and Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic.
Minnesota Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert (27) and Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic. / Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The second round of the NBA playoffs can't start soon enough for us to get the Denver Nuggets-Minnesota Timberwolves matchup.

Minnesota stormed through the first round behind some terrific play from Anthony Edwards, sweeping the Phoenix Suns and their Big 3.

Denver also made quick work of its first round opponent -- the Los Angeles Lakers -- but it wasn't nearly as dominant. The Nuggets actually trailed at the half in every game in the series, but some Jamal Murray heroics allowed the team to win in just five games.

This matchup features the likely MVP in Denver's Nikola Jokic and the likely Defensive Player of the Year in Minnesota's Rudy Gobert, which should make for some interesting play in the painted area.

Looking at the opening series odds, Denver comes in as a favorite, but the Wolves are a much better team than they were last season, and they showed it in round one. Can Minnesota dethrone the defending champs and make a run to the Western Conference Finals?

Here's a look at all of the series odds and my pick for this Western Conference matchup:

Timberwolves vs. Nuggets Series Odds

Denver is favored to win this series at -215 odds (implied probability of 68.25 percent), but the Wolves certainly have a better chance than they did when these teams matched up in the first round last season.

Denver is favored in Game 1 of the series by four points, but these teams did split their season series, so it's far from a sure thing that the Nuggets roll in this series.

Denver is one of the best home teams in the league, going 36-8 overall (including playoffs) at Ball Arena.

Timberwolves vs. Nuggets Series Correct Score Odds

  • Nuggets in 5 (+320)
  • Nuggets in 7 (+350)
  • Nuggets in 6 (+500)
  • Timberwolves in 6 (+550)
  • Nuggets in 4 (+700)
  • Timberwolves in 7 (+900)
  • Timberwolves in 5 (+1200)
  • Timberwolves in 4 (+1800)

Denver is clearly favored in this series -- and rightfully so given its playoff success -- but it feels like Minnesota is being a little undervalued.

These teams went to five games last season in the first round, and the Wolves are certainly an improved team in the 2023-24 season. I think there is some value in takin the Wolves in six or seven to win this series, although that wouldn't be my top pick.

Timberwolves vs. Nuggets Series Prediction and Pick

I think this series may be one of the most closely-contested matchups that we see all postseason.

Minnesota finished the regular season with the No. 1 defense in the league, and it showed it can shut down the Suns' isolation style of play in the first round.

That won't be the case with Denver, who plays a unique brand of basketball through Jokic and Murray, the best two-man game in the NBA.

Still, the Wolves have the defenders in Gobert and Jaden McDaniels to really make things tough on Denver. I am concerned with the Nuggets as well after Murray, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Reggie Jackson all came out of the Lakers series with injuries.

On the plus side for Denver, Jokic hasn't really had issues with Gobert, averaging 27.3 points, 11.2 rebounds and 8.5 assists per game over his last 10 matchups against the DPOY candidate.

Can he outduel Edwards, who is blossoming into one of the game's best players? The former No. 1 overall pick showed no fear going at Kevind Durant last round, and he's a matchup nightmare for any defnese, even if the Nuggets put KCP on him.

It's really hard to find a much more even second-round matchup, as these teams were No. 3 (Minnesota) and No. 4 (Denver) in net rating this season. Home court is going to play a major factor, given how well Denver has played at Ball Arena.

In addition, the Nuggets have been in this spot before. Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns had never won a playoff series until this season, and the team is still relatively young for a title contender. That didn't matter against Phoenix, but the Nuggets -- as we've see the last two seasons -- are a different beast.

Ultimately, I think Denver's experience in these playoff scenarios is the difference maker. I'll bet on this series to go the distance, but the Nugget and Jokic survive and advance.

Pick: Denver Nuggets, Nuggets in 7 (+350)

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.