Timberwolves vs. Rockets: Slumping Defenses Make 'Over' Our NBA Pick

Jason Lake

Wednesday, January 13, 2016 12:57 PM GMT

The Houston Rockets didn't have much trouble beating the NBA odds on Tuesday. The Minnesota Timberwolves made good, too. Who gets the duke this Wednesday night?

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NBA Pick: OVER 205.5
Best Line Offered: at BetOnline

 

Jason's 2015-16 record as of Jan. 12: 13-14-1 ATS, 4-1 Total

 

What was that people were saying about the Houston Rockets being all messed up? The Rockets have won four straight games at 3-1 ATS to put them back over .500, which is good enough for seventh place in the Western Conference these days. Their latest triumph: Tuesday's 107-91 win over the Memphis Grizzlies (+2 at home) that saw Houston pull away in the fourth quarter. Seems like a pretty good team to me.

Then again, I keep thinking the Minnesota Timberwolves (12-27 SU, 15-23-1 ATS) are going to be something special. Apparently that's going to take a while longer than expected. But hey, at least Minnesota beat the NBA odds in Tuesday's 101-96 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder (–10.5 away). The Wolves were on a six-game losing streak SU and ATS before cashing in. Can they do it again Wednesday night against the Rockets?

 

The Goodmen of Tomorrow
Hope springs eternal. Minnesota is a 9.5-point road dog in this matchup (8:00 p.m. ET) with a total of 206.5; the Timberwolves are 3-3 ATS this year when getting at least nine points, and they're 7-1 ATS on the road against winning teams, while the Rockets (20-19 SU, 16-23 ATS) are 1-6 ATS when favored by seven points or more, and 4-4 ATS at home versus losing teams. Maybe there's some value in those Wolves after all.

There should be. Everything was hunky dory early in the season when Minnesota was 8-8 SU and 9-7 ATS, even with Ricky Rubio (18.3 PER, +2.8 BPM) missing several of those games to injury. Rubio's fine now, and No. 1 overall pick Karl-Anthony Towns (21.6 PER, +1.7 BPM) is already playing All-Star basketball at center. But new head coach Sam Mitchell, for whatever reason, has SF Tayshaun Prince (6.1 PER, –2.6 BPM) in the starting lineup, among other weird personnel choices. Lovely.

 

Ty, He's Waiting in the Wings
Minnesota's bench earned the matador cover on Tuesday, and the Rockets are a bit thinner than they'd like to be – although Ty Lawson (9.6 PER, –5.1 BPM) is expected to play Wednesday after serving his three-game suspension. Lawson needed the rest anyway to let his sore ankle heal. Lawson has looked a lot more like his old self lately, giving Houston enough quality offense to make up for some of his defensive shortcomings. He could be the difference-maker on Wednesday.

This is a tough enough NBA pick that we're willing to recommend a bet on the total instead – but only because each of the last six games between these teams went OVER. Getting Lawson into the mix should only help. Both clubs are in the bottom half of the league in defensive efficiency, and Houston ranks seventh in the league in pace (99.4 possessions per game), so why not. Check ignition, and may God's sphere be with you.