Bet Lakers As Our NBA Pick vs. Timberwolves in Last-Place Battle

LT Profits Sports Group

Tuesday, February 2, 2016 7:23 PM GMT

Just because this is a matchup of two last-place teams, it does not mean that there is no betting value as the Lakers seem to provide that as home underdogs to the Timberwolves.

 

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NBA Pick: Lakers +5
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

 

It seems rather odd that the road team would be favored in a matchup of the teams with the two worst records in the Western Conference Tuesday night when the seemingly overvalued Minnesota Timberwolves (14-35, 21-27-1 ATS) pay a visit to their fellow cellar dwellers, the Los Angeles Lakers (9-41, 21-29 ATS) at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA at 10:35 ET in a game televised nationally on NBA TV.

The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Los Angeles as a home underdog for this contest with the current line at +4½ on the NBA odds board at odds of +100.

 

Looking to Avoid 11th Straight Loss
The Lakers are a once proud franchise in the midst of a rebuilding phase, and they have now tied a franchise record with their 10 straight losses, a dubious distinction first accomplished during the 1993-94 season with Magic Johnson as the head coach. Los Angeles would obviously wish to avoid setting a team record for futility here tonight, and the good news is that the Lakers are actually facing a beatable opponent.

The Timberwolves have the potential to be good in the near future thanks to owning the last two number-one draft picks in the NBA Draft in Karl-Anthony Towns this year and Andrew Wiggins from last year. However, that is not translating to wins in the here and now, as the T-Wolves have been the losing NBA picks in 15 of their last 17 games including the last four in a row.

 

These are Road Favorites?
It is easy to understand why the Timberwolves have had difficulty winning games when you consider that they are an identical 22nd in the NBA in points scored and points against, averaging only 99.4 points per game offensively while allowing an average of 103.4 points defensively. And the efficiency ratings show that those rankings are not fluky either, as Minnesota is ranked 23rd in offensive efficiency and 22nd and defensive efficiency.

Now we get that the Lakers are probably the worst team in the Western Conference, but do the Timberwolves really have the profile of a team favored by 4½ points on the road?

The Minnesota youngsters appear to be living up to their billings, as Wiggins leads the team with his 20.5 points per game while Towns leads the club with his 9.9 rebounds and 53.8 percent shooting percentage, not to mention leading all NBA rookies with 25 double-doubles. But the Wolves have not gotten much from anyone else and they remain a poor perimeter team ranking second to last in the NBA in three-point shooting at a mere 32.2 percent.

 

Status of Kobe Does Not Change Things
One question mark surrounding this game is the status of Kobe Bryant, who is listed as questionable with a lingering shoulder injury. Still, this is more of a play against the Timberwolves as road favorites than on the Lakers, so whether or now Bryant plays does not change our opinion in this contest.

Besides, Kobe is wearing down as a player in his final season in the league anyway shooting a meager 34.9 percent from the floor, so his greater value these days may be serving as a mentor to the second overall draft pick this season in D'Angelo Russell.

The rookie and heir apparent to Bryant has shown nice flashes while averaging 11.9 points, 3.3 assists and 3.7 rebounds from the guard spot, so more minutes from Russell if Kobe is out is not necessarily a bad thing.

We also get that nine of the 10 Laker losses during their losing streak have been by double-digits, with the lone outlier being a 92-90 loss to Dallas last week on a buzzer-beater by the Mavericks’ Dirk Nowitzki, but then again, none of the 10 losses came to a team as bad as the Timberwolves. Yes, Minnesota has won the first two head-to-head meetings this season, but each win was by a single point, a narrow margin that would suit us just fine here.

 

Lakers Have Fared Better ATS vs. Weak Teams
Finally, the Lakers have done the better job between these two duds from a betting perspective vs. lesser teams, as they are now 5-0 ATS in their last five games vs. teams with a winning percentage below .400, while the Timberwolves are 8-20 ATS in their last 28 games vs. teams with losing straight up records.

Ultimately, Minnesota simply does not merit being a road favorite over anyone and its tendency to play down to the level of lesser teams while playing more inspired basketball vs. the better clubs only adds to that belief, so take the points with the Los Angeles Lakers at the Staples Center on Tuesday.