Take the Total for Timberwolves vs. Rockets

Joe Catalano

Thursday, March 20, 2014 1:34 PM GMT

After a 123-122 overtime victory over the Dallas Mavericks (34-32), the Minnesota Timberwolves look to continue their success in Texas as they face James Harden and the Houston Rockets (45-22). Where does the best value lie for our basketball picks?

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No Odds, No Dwight Howard

Most of the time, the betting odds come out late when a player’s playing status is uncertain.

It’s confirmed that Dwight Howard won’t be playing tonight as he’s nursing an ankle injury. Also, Nikola Pekovic was tossed out of yesterday’s game against the Dallas Mavericks and this can be a contributing factor to the odds being currently unavailable.

Yesterday, we went with the OVER in the Minnesota game, expecting a lot of points and it hit. Tonight, with Dwight Howard being out, one would assume that the Rockets would be around a 5 to 7 point moderate betting favorite and the total will remain high.

Can Minnesota keep their faint playoff chances alive with another upset?

Ricky Rubio

It’s difficult to shine on your own team with a player like Kevin Love on it, but last night, Ricky Rubio showed you glimpses of what he can do as he had a monster game.

Rubio filled the stat sheets with 22 points, 10 rebounds, 15 assists, and 4 steals. Rubio will never be a bigtime scorer. His job on this Wolves squad is to feed players like Love and Martin the ball and do the dirty work. Of course, when he’s feeling it like last night, the T-Wolves offense opens up even more. This is a team that ranks 4th in the NBA in scoring

As mentioned in yesterday’s article, Minnesota’s weakness is their defense. If they expect to beat James Harden and Chandler Parsons, they better have their running shoes on because this will be a track meet. Minnesota carries momentum on their side coming into this game and will really need Nikola Pekovic back in the lineup, especially with Dwight Howard out of the game.

Asik To the Rescue?

After D-12 had some fluid and a cyst removed from his ankle, he’s definitely unable to play in this game and that means that Omer Asik will take his place in the starting lineup.

Before Howard ever came to Houston, Asik was a very serviceable player that could get Houston a double-double, but after sitting on the bench with the acquisition of Howard, Asik hasn’t been the same player mentally and it’s shown with his play on the court.

At one point, he demanded a trade. Asik is currently averaging 4.3 points and 6.2 rebounds in 17.1 minutes per game. Look for Asik to rise to the occasion in this game. He’ll get plenty of opportunities to get involved in the offense and should control the boards.

With no Howard in the lineup, look for James Harden to take over on offense as he was already the number 1 option on this team. We can expect a 30 plus point performance from Harden. He can do it all; Harden can shoot from the outside and can penetrate to the hoop with reckless abandon. A game against a Minnesota team with a poor defense will suit James Harden fine.

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Outcome

Even though the odds aren’t out yet, I’m going to take the same route that I did yesterday and take the over for your basketball picks if the total is anywhere around what it was yesterday (210.5). Defense won’t be a priority in this game.

NBA Pick: Houston/Minnesota Over the Total