Mavericks vs. Timberwolves NBA expert prediction and odds for Wednesday, Jan. 31 (Trust the Minnesota defense)

NBA betting preview, prediction and best bet for Mavericks-Timberwolves.

Jan 25, 2024; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets center Nic Claxton (33) shoots the ball as Minnesota's Rudy Gobert defends.
Jan 25, 2024; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets center Nic Claxton (33) shoots the ball as Minnesota's Rudy Gobert defends. / Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Dallas has won two of its last three games but will be severely short-handed on Wednesday as Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving headline a lengthy injury report. Dallas begins a stretch with four of its next five games on the road, starting with Wednesday's trip to Minneapolis as a double-digit underdog against the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference.

Minnesota had losses to the dreadful Charlotte Hornets and San Antonio Spurs (combined record of 20-72) over a five-day stretch before grinding out a big win (107-101) at Oklahoma City Monday night to stay atop the conference standings. Will they cruise against Dallas? 

Here’s the betting preview of Wednesday’s matchup with a best bet. 

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Mavericks vs. Timberwolves odds, spread and total

Mavericks vs. Timberwolves how to watch

  • Date: Wednesday, Jan. 31
  • Game time: 8 p.m. EST
  • Venue: Target Center
  • How to watch (TV): Bally Sports
  • Mavericks record: 26-21
  • Timberwolves record: 33-14

Mavericks vs. Timberwolves injury reports

Dallas Mavericks injury report

  • Derrick Jones Jr. (wrist): doubtful
  • Dante Exum (knee): doubtful
  • Kyrie Irving (thumb): out
  • Dereck Lively II (nose): out
  • Luka Doncic (ankle): out

Minnesota Timberwolves injury report

  • Mike Conley (hamstring): questionable 

Mavericks vs. Timberwolves key players to watch


Tim Hardaway Jr.: It’s next man up for Dallas without its top-2 stars and Hardaway, a 31-year-old veteran forward, is averaging 18.4 points per game this season, his highest scoring output since averaging 19.1 with the New York Knicks in 2019 over 46 games. With Irving in Monday’s win over Orlando, Hardaway poured in 36 points (11-of-17 shooting), with five 3-pointers and 8 rebounds. Hardaway had 32 points against Minnesota in a 118-110 loss on Dec. 28. 


Rudy Gobert: Minnesota’s frontcourt is a problem for a lot of teams behind the tandem of Gobert and Karl Anthony-Towns. Gobert is averaging a double-double per game (13.3 points and 12.5 rebounds) for the eighth consecutive season. He had 18 rebounds and didn’t miss a field goal (6-for-6) in Monday’s road win over the Thunder. 

Mavericks vs. Timberwolves prediction and pick

Without five of your top-six scorers, this is not the defense you want to face. That’s what Dallas is up against with Doncic and Irving sidelined while Jones, Exum, and Likely all carry doubtful tags. Minnesota’s height will be a major edge as Dallas will likely give major minutes to backup center Dwight Powell, who only averages 15.6 minutes per game this season. 

Offensively, Dallas goes up against Minnesota’s No. 1 defensive-rated team that is No. 4 in the NBA in rebounds and top-5 in second-chance points and points allowed in the paint. Minnesota’s defense is No. 1 in the NBA in scoring (107.4 points per game), which shrinks to a minuscule 103.7 points at home, also a league-best. 

Minnesota is allowing opponents to shoot just 42.9% from the field inside the Target Center, the best mark in the NBA. Simply put, Dallas doesn’t have the offensive threats to hang with Minnesota’s defense, led by Gobert, a three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year. Go under the Mavericks’ team total. 

Game odds update periodically and are subject to change.