The Timberwolves are still clinging to hope of making the playoffs, so they have to beat teams like the Bobcats, which is the worst team in the NBA, the rest of the way. Make Minnesota your NBA Pick
There could easily be a blowout in store on the NBA odds Wednesday night when the playoff-hopeful Minnesota Timberwolves (24-27 overall, 11-15 away) pay a visit to the terrible Charlotte Bobcats (7-40 overall, 4-18 home) at Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, NC at 7:05 ET.
The Timberwolves are coming off of a 93-86 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on the road last night, leaving Minnesota in fourth place in the Northwest Division, 14½ games behind the top seeds in the Western Conference, the Oklahoma City Thunder. However, while the Timberwolves now sit 11th in the conference, they are a manageable 3½ games behind the Denver Nuggets for the eighth and final playoff spot with 15 games remaining.
If Minnesota is serious about its playoff push, it simply has to beat the teams that it is supposed to beat down the stretch at every opportunity, and assignments do not get any easier than taking on the worst team in the NBA.
Not only are The Bobcats in last place in the Southeast Division, but they also easily own the worst record in the league at 7-40 overall and they have won just four home games all season. Charlotte has also been a disaster at the betting window, going 17-30 against the spread overall including 8-14 ATS here at home, and the Bobcats are on a four-game ATS losing streak to coincide with their four-game straight up losing streak.
The Bobcats actually gave a game effort on Monday, losing only 102-95 here at home to the Boston Celtics while just missing covering the spread as 6½-point underdogs. The first three losses of the latest Charlotte losing streak were by 25, 20 and 13 points respectively though, and we just don’t see the Bobcats putting forth back-to-back decent efforts, especially vs. a less marquee opponent.
The Timberwolves won and covered the first meeting between these teams 102-90 back at home on February 15th, and we foresee a similar margin of victory here even on the road in Charlotte.
The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Minnesota as a -5½ road favorite for this contest at current odds of -105.
Granted the Timberwolves are only 2-6 straight up in their last eight games, but seven of those games were on the road, mostly vs. strong Western Conference teams. The lone exception resulted in the only road win during this span vs. the Golden State Warriors, and the other win came in their only home game during this stretch vs. the Denver Nuggets.
The T-Wolves should relish this huge drop in class after losing to the Lakers, San Antonio, Oklahoma City (in overtime) and Memphis is recent road tests. Even after that almost impossible road, Minnesota’s quasi-decent road record of 11-15 does not really vary dramatically from its disappointing 13-12 home mark, so we really don’t see too big of a disadvantage playing on the road vs. the worst team in the league.
The Bobcats have not even been competitive at home, as their average losing margin at Time Warner has been just a tick under double-digits, at -9.9 points. That is what happens when you rank dead last in the NBA in offense at a putrid 87.6 points per game and 28th out of 30 teams in defense, surrendering 100.7 points per contest overall.
Charlotte also ranks 29th in defensive efficiency allowing 107.4 points per 100 possessions, just barely ahead of the New Jersey Nets who are last in that category at 107.5 points per 100 touches. We simply do not see the Bobcats stopping a Minnesota offense that is ranked fifth in the NBA in scoring at 99.2 points per game tonight, especially since the Timberwolves’ scoring average actually improves to 100.9 points on the road!
Finally, the Timberwolves’ Kevin Love should have a field day vs. a Charlotte defense that is allowing a terribly high 50.1 percent success rate on two-point attempts for the entire season, including a horrific 51.9 percent over the last three games.
Minnesota should keep its playoff hopes alive tonight with an emphatic victory.
NBA Pick: Timberwolves -5½ (-105)