Will the OVER be best to back again here, or is there value going the other way with this ‘total?’ A short schedule on Thursday means that we have fewer options for our NBA picks, but is there value on offer when the Lakers meet the Timberwolves?
The Los Angeles Lakers have notched 107.2 PPG in their last five matchups, with the OVER cashing at a 4-1 clip. Mike D’Antoni’s squad returns to Staples Center for Thursday’s contest against the Minnesota Timberwolves, who have allowed 105.1 PPG in their last eight road dates.
The betting lines had not been released at the time of writing due to illness and injuries, so keep an eye on SBR's Live NBA Odds page for the latest offerings from the web's top sportsbooks.
Lakers, Bryant outgunned in Denver
Los Angeles saw a three-game winning streak end with Monday’s 119-108 defeat as a 7 ½-point road dog against the Denver Nuggets. Both squads shot above 55 percent from the floor, while the Lakers were sizably outscored in fast break points, 33-3. The Lakers winn need a win tonight, to help keep their hopes alive for sneaking into the Western Conference playoff race.
Lakers guard Kobe Bryant put up 29 points, while logging nine of his side’s 21 assists. Los Angeles’ Dwight Howard and Steve Nash united for 31 points, with Howard adding 14 boards for his fourth double-double in six games.
The duel’s 227 points sailed beyond the ‘total’ of 217 ½, despite both clubs combining to hit a subpar 30-of-58 free throws. Lakers veteran Antawn Jamison drilled 3-of-4 buckets beyond the arc, finishing with 14 points off the bench.
T-Wolves, Williams fall short in O.T.
Minnesota logged a third straight loss in Tuesday’s 84-83 overtime setback against the Phoenix Suns, while cashing the closing line by a ‘hook’ as a 1 ½-point road dog. The Timberwolves rallied from an 18-point deficit, but allowed a late layup from Phoenix’ Marcin Gortat that sent the matchup into extra minutes.
Timberwolves mates Derrick Williams and Nikola Pekovic united for 39 points, while logging 12 rebounds each. Minnesota’s Ricky Rubio notched 10 assists, while held to five points in a 2-for-12 night from the floor.
The contest’s 167 points plunged beneath the ‘total’ of 196, moving the UNDER to 5-1 in the Timberwolves’ last six games. Pekovic added three blocks, while combining with Rubio for seven of their side’s 14 steals.
Back the OVER at Staples Center
Minnesota’s Andrei Kirilenko (13.1 PPG, 6 RPG) is expected to miss meeting the Lakers after suffering a calf injury in Tuesday’s defeat. Pekovic is listed as “probable” to start for the team after reporting an undisclosed illness.
I am backing the OVER in this matchup as part of my Thursday night sports picks. Los Angeles has shot 49.4 percent from the field in its last three home dates, while the OVER is 5-1 in the last six meetings between these rivals.
The Lakers came away with a 111-100 win at Target Center earlier this month, with the Timberwolves drilling 10-of-22 shots from three-point land. Minnesota’s last four road games against foes with winning home records saw the OVER collect at 4-0, including last week’s 127-111 high-octane defeat in Oklahoma City.
Kobe Bryant has piled in 35.7 PPG in the Lakers’ last three outings, picking up steam again after a lackluster stretch surrounding the All-Star Break. The green light should be there for a big night in this TNT network nightcap for the 16-year veteran, while Minnesota should have chances to answer back as the game’s tempo hits its share of running and gunning
Free NBA Pick: OVER
Also check out my NBA Picks: 76ers vs. Bulls for more free plays to add to your Thursday night betting ticket.