Los Angeles Lakers vs. Minnesota Timberwolves NBA Odds and Pick for March 16

Wednesday’s NBA schedule is a doozy. We’ve got 12 games on the board for tonight, which should be a nice warm-up for the NCAA Tournament, which gets underway tomorrow. One game will feature a pair of teams trending in starkly different directions. The flailing Los Angeles Lakers will take a trip to Minneapolis to take on Karl-Anthony Towns and the surging Minnesota Timberwolves.

Things could be going better for the Lakers right about now. LA is clinging to the No. 9 seed in the Western Conference, and their lead over the 10th-place Pelicans is down to just 1.5 games entering Wednesday’s action. Los Angeles comes into tonight’s clash having won just two of their last 10 games.
The Timberwolves are in the midst of their best season in years. Minnesota is now 40-30 and just 1.5 games south of Denver for the coveted No. 6 seed in the West. If the season ended today, the upstart T-Wolves would host the LA Clippers in the 7-8 matchup in the play-in tournament.

Given the diverging directions in which both clubs are headed, it’s hardly a surprise to see the Timberwolves listed as heavy favorites over the Lakers, per the latest odds from BetOnline.

Minnesota is favored by nine points at home in a game with a massive over/under of 241.5 points.

Los Angeles Lakers

This has really been the season from hell for the Lakers. While they’ll still have a chance to qualify for the playoffs via the play-in tournament, it’s hard to like their chances of even getting that far. LA’s lopsided home loss to the Raptors on Monday dropped them to 10 games below .500 for the first time all season at 29-39. Remember, this team entered the season ranked up there with the Brooklyn Nets among the betting favorites to win the title this year.

Of course, that was never going to happen given the state of the roster. GM Rob Pelinka spent the offseason surrounding LeBron James and Anthony Davis with a cast of aging, ill-fitted parts. Davis is in the midst of yet another injury-riddled campaign, which is old hat for him by now. James is still playing at a high level at the age of 37, but he’s really the only bright spot for LA these days. By now, it’s likely a matter of when, not if, head coach Frank Vogel will be fired.

Despite the team’s struggles, James is still putting up remarkable numbers. LeBron has a pair of 50-point games on his ledger so far this month. Of course, those happen to be the only two games the Lakers have won since the calendar turned to March. If James is having to score 50-plus points just for the Lakers to have a chance to win, they’re probably not going to do a whole lot of winning from here on out. LeBron’s scoring average of 29.7 points per game is his highest in a single season since the 2009-10 campaign with Cleveland. James is scoring 34.7 points per game so far this month, as well.

The Lakers’ struggles aren’t a huge surprise considering who is lining up next to James. The rapidly-declining Russell Westbrook gives the Lakers almost nothing good on a nightly basis. The other three starters in recent games have been Stanley Johnson, Malik Monk, and Austin Reaves.
Monk and Reaves weren’t even in Vogel’s rotation at the beginning of the season. Johnson wasn’t even on the Lakers’ roster at all. The fact that all three are now core parts of the rotation tells you all you need to know about how quickly things have gone south for this team. With Davis sidelined, the Lakers have no other offensive player on the floor that strikes fear into any of their opponents.

Tonight’s clash in Minnesota will be the fourth and final meeting of the season between the Lakers and the Timberwolves. Minnesota claimed each of the first two games before the Lakers notched their first win over the Wolves in LA back on January 2nd.

Minnesota Timberwolves

While the Lakers get more depressing with each passing day, it’s hard not to be inspired by the new-and-improved Timberwolves. This is a franchise with just one playoff appearance under its belt since 2004. While making the play-in tournament isn’t technically a playoff appearance, we can cut them a little slack in that regard.

The Lakers falling 10 games under .500 for the first time all year happened on the same night the T-Wolves climbed to 10 games over the .500 mark. Karl-Anthony Towns exploded for a franchise-record 60 points in Monday’s victory over the Spurs in San Antonio. It was the first 60-point game we’ve seen in the NBA all year, though Brooklyn’s Kyrie Irving happened to match that output with a 60-point game of his own the very next night.

Towns was utterly unstoppable in Minnesota’s 149-139 win over San Antonio. He knocked down 19 of his 31 shots from the field, including seven of his 11 tries from three-point range. Towns is the Three Point Contest champion, after all. KAT also converted 15 of his 16 free-throw attempts and pulled down 17 rebounds in that game, for good measure.

Frankly, there’s no reason Towns can’t put up another huge stat line tonight against a Lakers team that has been starting LeBron at the center spot of late. That tiny frontcourt was absolutely crushed on the boards, 64-43, in Monday’s loss to the Raptors. Between Towns and Jarred Vanderbilt, the Timberwolves have one of the best rebounding frontcourts in the entire league. Don’t be surprised if Minnesota absolutely obliterates the Lakers on the glass in this one.

Towns is far from the Wolves’ only weapon, of course. The Lakers will also have to try and keep tabs on D’Angelo Russell and Anthony Edwards in this one. The Wolves’ three-pronged scoring attack may be too much for the Lakers’ lazy defense to handle.

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Minnesota Timberwolves NBA Game Pick

A nine-point spread is a fairly large one by NBA standards, but it’s more than justified here. The Lakers are probably playing their worst basketball of the season. The Timberwolves, meanwhile, are peaking at the right time. Minnesota is also at home in this one. While James is likely to play for LA, it’s also not a certainty. LeBron is officially questionable to suit up tonight with his lingering knee soreness.

Please Note:
Given their lofty preseason expectations, few thought the Lakers would be anywhere close to as bad as they really are. As a result, the Lakers have been one of the worst against-the-spread bets in the NBA all year. LA is just 28-40-0 against the spread, good for the fifth-worst ATS mark in the league.

The Timberwolves may lack experience, but I still expect this team to take care of business against a team they should beat handily. Minnesota is an impressive 24-9 against sub-.500 teams on the year. The Lakers are a dismal 11-26 against winning foes. I like the T’Wolves to win and cover the spread on their home floor in this one.

Pick:
Minnesota Timberwolves (-9)

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Minnesota Timberwolves Betting Recap

  • Moneyline: Lakers +320, Timberwolves -400
  • Point Spread: Lakers +9 (-110), Timberwolves -9 (-110)
  • Over/Under: Over 241.5 points (-110), Under 241.5 points (-110)
  • Pick: Minnesota Timberwolves -9 (-110)

PLACE YOUR BETS NOW!

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Taylor Smith / Author

Taylor is a sports writer based in Southern California. While he primarily specializes in basketball, baseball and football, he will also dabble in things like soccer and politics from time to time. He has lived in just about every corner of the United States at one point or another, and he has been covering sports and sports betting for the better part of a decade. Taylor currently lives in Long Beach with his fiancé and their two cats.

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