Free NBA Picks on Pistons-Timberwolves Spread & Total

Matthew Jordan

Thursday, October 30, 2014 1:09 PM GMT

Not much is expected of the Pistons or Timberwolves this season but both should be interesting offensive clubs to watch. They play Thursday night in Minnesota's home opener, with NBA odds listing the Wolves as 4.5-point favorites.

The Pistons lost 89-79 in Denver on Wednesday night as 6.5-point underdogs at most online sportsbooks. Detroit had only one basket in the final three minutes of the game. Josh Smith had 25 points to lead the team in scoring, but Brandon Jennings was held to only four. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope started at shooting guard and was a wretched 3-for-19 from the field. Thus it's a very tough 24-hour turnaround for Detroit having to play in the thin air of Denver against the up-tempo Nuggets and then traveling to Minnesota to face a very young Timberwolves squad. 

Already listed as 4 point dogs in tonight's matchup, can bettors trust the Pistons to pull through and earn their first win, or are we smart to back the fresh legs of the Timberwolves? Read on for our full game preview, concluded with our free NBA picks.

 

Van Gundy Era Begins in Motown
Detroit's biggest move this offseason was hiring former Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy as the team's president of basketball operations and head coach. That's what you call job security. The Golden State Warriors were very interested in Van Gundy as their new coach so that's likely why Detroit added the front office title. Van Gundy entered this season with a 371-208 coaching record with Miami and Orlando. He led the Magic to the NBA Finals in 2009 and got the best out of Dwight Howard, but those two eventually had a falling out in the 2011-12 season and that was Van Gundy's last year on the bench.

Van Gundy didn't make any major moves this offseason, although he tried desperately to trade Smith and likely will continue to do so. Detroit let Rodney Stuckey walk and signed midlevel guys like Jodie Meeks, D.J. Augustin and Caron Butler. Meeks, the best of the bunch and who probably would have started at shooting guard, is out about two months with  a stress fracture in his back. He averaged 15.7 points per game in 77 games with the Los Angeles Lakers last season.

Detroit's best player is clearly young center Andre Drummond, but close behind him is forward Greg Monroe. He couldn't get a big offer as a restricted free agent this summer so he signed a low qualifying offer with the Pistons and thus will be an unrestricted free agent next summer. Don't rule out him being traded before February's deadline. Monroe, who will come off the bench, didn't play Wednesday and won't  here. He is finishing up a two-game suspension after pleading guilty this offseason to driving while visibly impaired in Michigan. Monroe averaged 15.2 points and 9.3 rebounds last season.

The Pistons entered the season with a wins total of 37 at sportsbooks, with the 'over' a slight favorite on NBA odds.

 

The Love Is Gone
It's also the second of a back-to-back for Minnesota as it lost 105-101 in Memphis on Wednesday night as a 7.5-point underdog on NBA odds. Thaddeus Young led the Wolves with 26 points and Mo Williams had 18. Minnesota somewhat surprisingly outrebounded the Grizzlies by 14.

Sportsbooks expect Minnesota to be one of the NBA's worst teams this year as the Wolves had a wins total of 27.5 on NBA odds. Of course they traded franchise player Kevin Love to Cleveland when it was made clear Love was going to leave as a free agent next summer. Minnesota did pretty well considering, getting the last two No. 1 overall picks, Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett. Wiggins started Wednesday and had six points and three boards in 19 minutes. Wiggins was expected to come off the bench, but Kevin Martin was out with an ankle injury and probably won't play in this one, either. Bennett had nine points and three boards in 14 minutes off the bench. The Wolves also added a good player in the former 76er Young, giving up next to nothing for him.

The Timberwolves should be great TV for those who have the NBA League Pass. They are going to get out and run with Ricky Rubio leading the break and great athletes like Andrew Wiggins and 2014 first-round pick Zach LaVine (who didn't play in the opener) running down the wings. The team never made the playoffs with Love, but at least there's now a nice foundation with those guys mentioned, second-year players Gorgui Dieng and Shabazz Muhammad and center Nikola Pekovic. Rubio can become a free agent next summer, however.

 

Last Season
Minnesota easily handled the Pistons in two wins in 2013-14. On Dec. 10 in Auburn Hills, Mich., as 1-point favorites on NBA odds, the Wolves rolled 121-94. Love was a big part of that with 26 points, 16 rebounds and seven assists. Every Wolves starter scored in double figures. Pekovic had 18 and five rebounds, and Rubio had 15 points and nine assists. Drummond struggled with eight points and eight rebounds. Monroe was pretty quiet with 10 points and two boards. Jennings led the Pistons with 20 points.

The teams met in March in Minneapolis and Minnesota won 114-101 as a 9.5-point favorite at sportsbooks. Love had 28 points and 14 boards as the Wolves jumped out to an 18-point lead after one and never looked back. Martin had 24 for Minnesota, while Rubio had 11 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds. Monroe was strong for Detroit with 20 points and 15 rebounds but no one else did much.

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NBA free picks: Young legs for Minnesota at home against what should be a gassed Pistons team without one of its best players: Take the Timberwolves and the 'over' 206.5 points on NBA odds. The Pistons have covered just one of their past seven in the second of a back-to-back. The 'over' is 14-4 in Detroit's past 18 with no days of rest. The 'over' is 8-3 in Minnesota's past 11 with no days of rest.

Bet Minnesota -4.5 and Over 206.5