Wolves-Clippers an Enigma Wrapped in a Mystery

Monday, January 22, 2018 1:03 PM UTC

Monday, Jan. 22, 2018 1:03 PM UTC

The Los Angeles Clippers and Minnesota Timberwolves are going to play Monday night at Staples Center, and, as usual, our NBA pick will depend on who’s in uniform.

<h2 style="text-align:center"><a href="https://www.sportsbookreview.com/betting-odds/nba-basketball/minnesota-timberwolves-vs-la-clippers-3264311/#matchup">Minnesota Timberwolves at Los Angeles Clippers</a></h2><h2 style="text-align:center">Free NBA Pick: Under</h2><h2 style="text-align:center">Best Line Offered: <a href="http://www.sportsbookreview.com/Sportsbook/?v=4429&amp;book=Heritage" rel="nofollow">Heritage</a></h2><p>[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":3264311, "sportsbooksIds":[169,1275,1096,238,19], "LineTypeId":3, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]</p><p>Welcome back to the West Coast office. We’re very happy to pounce on these early <a href="https://www.sportsbookreview.com/betting-odds/nba-basketball/">NBA lines</a> and get you ready for Monday’s action, but once again we have to pump the brakes a bit. The Los Angeles Clippers and Minnesota Timberwolves both have important players who may or may not be ready for their 10:30 p.m. Eastern tipoff at Staples Center on NBA-TV: DeAndre Jordan (ankle) for the Clippers, and Jimmy Butler (knee) for the Timberwolves. No lines yet on this matchup as we go to press.<br /><br />Not a problem. We’ll develop some contingency plans for your <a href="https://www.sportsbookreview.com/picks/nba/">NBA picks</a>; keep an eye on Monday’s shootaround/newswires to see who’s likely to play, and at what capacity, then choose the plan that fits the situation. Basketball is still a team sport, and there’s plenty more to both these teams than Jordan and Butler.</p><p> </p><h2><strong>Seven Quarters for One Dollar</strong></h2><p>We’ve been dancing around the Clippers (23-22 SU, 25-19-1 ATS) and their injuries all season long. The through-line heading into the 2017-18 campaign was that Los Angeles should be a value pick after trading Chris Paul to the Houston Rockets for seven players. The Clippers have delivered for the most part – and they’re super-hot right now at 10-3 SU and 9-4 ATS since the holidays, including 3-1 SU and ATS without Jordan (plus-2.0 BPM).<br /><br />The Wolves (30-18 SU, 23-23-2 ATS) weren’t going to be as easy to pin down. In and of itself, their offseason acquisition of Butler (plus-5.3 BPM) could have drained their betting value. However, Minnesota didn’t give up a lot of short-term talent to acquire Butler from the Chicago Bulls, and they wisely added former Bull Taj Gibson (plus-1.7 BPM) in free agency, giving the Wolves plenty of synergy under head coach Tom Thibodeau – who, of course, had success with Butler and Gibson when they were in Chicago from 2010-2015.</p><p> </p><h2><strong>Butler Didn’t Do It</strong></h2><p>Butler has only missed one game with his sore right knee: Saturday’s 115-109 win over the Toronto Raptors (–1.5 away), which, quite frankly, required a whole lot of dubious officiating. The Wolves put backup PF Nemanja Bjelica (minus-0.6 BPM) in the starting lineup in place of Butler, and sophomore SG Marcus Georges-Hunt (minus-4.0 BPM) played 29 minutes off the bench, shooting 3-for-10. We’d generally be inclined to fade Minnesota if Butler doesn’t play.<br /><br />There isn’t nearly the same drop-off for the Clippers between Jordan and his replacements. They’ve been going with center Willis Reed (minus-0.7 BPM) in the starting lineup and PF Montrezl Harrell (plus-0.3 BPM) playing extra minutes off the bench. In theory, that makes Los Angeles a good value pick if Jordan doesn’t play, since the betting public will likely overreact to his absence. The ideal situation from a betting perspective is if both Butler and Jordan miss Monday’s game, in which case, feel free to load up on the Clippers. They should still be worth a look if Jordan plays and Butler doesn’t.<br /><br />If Butler plays, the UNDER could be the right pick regardless of Jordan’s status, with Butler (plus-4.8 OBPM) presumably gimpy for a game or two following his return. Jordan (plus-1.4 BPM) isn’t the same defensive stud he was in years past, but he also isn’t the same black hole on offense (plus-0.6 BPM), so the UNDER might still be good if Jordan plays at less than 100 percent <em>(update: Jordan has been ruled out). </em>Bet accordingly based on availability, and may the sphere be with you.</p>
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