Take Twolves +1 at Home With Your NBA Picks Against Injured Pistons

Jason Lake

Friday, November 20, 2015 11:57 AM GMT

The arrow is trending upward for both the Detroit Pistons and the Minnesota Timberwolves. But only one can beat the NBA odds when they meet Friday night.

Jason's 2015-16 record as of Nov. 19: 2-4 ATS

 

You don't what you've got 'til it's gone. The Detroit Pistons haven't had a winning season since the late Flip Saunders was fired in 2008. The Minnesota Timberwolves haven't had a winning season since they fired Saunders in 2005. To many of us on the outside looking in, neither of those dismissals made much sense at the time. Now, just as Saunders was on the cusp of bringing the Timberwolves back to the playoffs in his second tour of duty, he's been taken away from us, succumbing to Hodgkin's lymphoma in October. Rest in peace, Flip.

Speaking of second chances, Sam Mitchell has taken over the reins in Minnesota, and he's guided the Wolves to a 5-7 record (7-5 ATS) after three weeks of action. Meanwhile, Stan Van Gundy and the Pistons are chugging along at 6-5 SU and ATS. These two rising programs will clash this Friday night (8:00 p.m. ET, FSN) at the Tar-Zhay, with Minnesota priced at +1 on our NBA odds as we go to press.

 

KAT People
Minnesota's rebuilding efforts were stalled last year by a series of injuries – or boosted, depending on your point of view. The Wolves ended up in last place overall at 16-66 (35-46-1 ATS), and in a stunning turn of events, they actually won the draft lottery and took center Karl-Anthony Towns from Kentucky. That's worked out quite well so far; Towns (21.5 PER, +1.3 BPM) is already playing like an All-Star, putting up 19.3 points and 13.0 rebounds per 36 minutes while hitting 90.2 percent of his free throws.

Also in fine form: last year's No. 1 pick, SG Andrew Wiggins (17.0 PER, –2.0 BPM), although his defense still needs work, and PG Zach LaVine (18.4 PER, –2.8 BPM), who is much, much better than he was as a rookie last year. But this team will only go as far as PG Ricky Rubio (19.5 PER, +4.2 BPM) takes it. Rubio's NBA career has been marred by injury, and he's already missed four games this year. Minnesota went 0-4 SU and 1-3 ATS in those games.

 

The Jackson 1
Over in Motown, the Pistons are still without PG Brandon Jennings, who isn't due back until Christmas after having surgery on his ruptured left Achilles. Van Gundy ended up doing quite well liberating PG Reggie Jackson (19.9 PER, +3.1 BPM) from the Oklahoma City Thunder last year, but depth is an obvious concern until Jennings gets back, especially with PG Steve Blake (6.0 PER, –5.0 BPM) soaking up those minutes off the bench.

This looks like a good spot to put the Wolves in our NBA picks. Their record doesn't do them justice, thanks to absence of Rubio – he's been back for two games now – and recreational bettors might be slow to come around to how good this team is with Towns and Wiggins going off. We'll take the home dogs, much obliged, and may the sphere be with you.

NBA Pick: Timberwolves +1 at Pinnacle

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