Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Houston Rockets: Odds, injuries, what to watch for

The Minnesota Timberwolves open the 2021-22 campaign with a matchup against the Houston Rockets.

Though they have an exciting, young roster, the Rockets are expected to be one of the worst teams in the NBA this year, and the Wolves would appear to have a great shot to start the season 1-0.

Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Houston Rockets: Odds, injuries, what to watch for

The Timberwolves enter the season largely healthy, which is exciting news for a team that saw three of its best players each limited to roughly a half-season of play during the 2020-21 campaign.

In addition to a healthy Karl-Anthony Towns exploring some … um, interesting ways to pump himself up before games, D’Angelo Russell and Malik Beasley are back. After a torrid finish to his first season in the league, Rookie of the Year runner-up and 2021 No. 1 overall pick Anthony Edwards is ready to contribute on defense. Plus, he’s apparently taller!

The Rockets are led by Christian Wood, a solid big who is clearly the best player on the team. There are a handful of veterans who should dot the rotation, too, including Daniel Theis, Eric Gordon, and D.J. Augustin. And second-overall pick Jalen Green will be electric.

But Houston also drafted four teenagers in the first round of the 2021 draft, and at least two of them are likely to be starters. Their second-best player is either 21-year-old Kevin Porter Jr. or second-year wing Jae’Sean Tate.

All told, the Rockets will probably win around 20 games this year, even if their offense is fun to watch. It’s a perfectly winnable game for the Wolves to open the season, and as long as they can hold Green and Wood in check for the most part, they should be in good shape.

Minnesota Timberwolves odds vs. Houston Rockets

The Wolves are favored by six points, according to WynnBet. It seems to be the right margin, given that it’s the first game of the season and both teams are relatively healthy. We’ll go a bit further, predicting a 109-100 victory.

TV and streaming info for Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Houston Rockets

What to watch for in Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Houston Rockets

The Wolves went 2-1 against the Rockets last year, with the lone loss coming on the second night of a back-to-back in late March.

The Rockets roster is largely the same, minus the infusion of teenagers and departures of veterans Kelly Olynyk and Ben McLemore. The Wolves have swapped out Ricky Rubio, Juancho Hernangomez, and Jarrett Culver from the rotation in favor of Patrick Beverley and Taurean Prince, although Beverley will miss the opener due to suspension.

If Josh Okogie and Jaden McDaniels can force Green and Porter into tough shots, the Wolves should win this game easily. Wood will get his, but it’s the younger, less efficient perimeter players who could make the difference if the Wolves allow them to go off.

D’Angelo Russell needs to stay out of foul trouble in this one due to the Wolves lack of guard depth, but Minnesota shouldn’t have any issues scoring points.

Injury report for Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Houston Rockets

The Wolves are without Patrick Beverley, who is serving his one-game suspension from his actions in the playoffs last year against the Phoenix Suns while he was still a member of the LA Clippers.

Jordan McLaughlin and Jaylen Nowell are each listed as questionable. If McLaughlin can’t go, then the Wolves may give some backup minutes to two-way player and undrafted rookie McKinley Wright, but Beasley and Edwards would no doubt also be asked to initiate more of the second-team offense.

John Wall remains away from the Rockets, while new acquisition Garrison Mathews is out due to COVID-19 intake protocols. Veteran Danuel House is listed as questionable due to personal reasons.

We’ll be back with takeaways following the game. Enjoy the opener!