Minnesota Timberwolves @ Sacramento Kings -3.5 — TOTAL: 217
The Timberwolves have done a good job staying on track after the season-ending injury to rookie point guard Ricky Rubio. Much of the reason for their success has been the MVP-caliber play of power forward Kevin Love. Over the month of March Love averaged over 30ppg and over 14 rebounds. Were he to finish the season with similar numbers he would be the first NBA player to hit that mark since Wilt Chamberlain. Love has been THAT good this season.
I’m not saying he’d be any higher than third on my MVP ballot, but for an” unathletic” power forward playing for a .500 team in the frozen Target Center in Minnesota, that is a pretty ridiculous feat. However, he and his T’Wolves have their work cut out for them tonight with a tougher-than-advertised road visit to the Sacramento Kings.
Sacrament has been tough at home this season, posting a 13-12 record and notching wins over some of the NBA elite, including: Oklahoma City, the Lakers, Dallas and Boston. They’ve struggled on the road, as can be expected of a young team learning their way, but it is clear that this team is moving in the right direction behind the play of Tyreke Evans, DeMarcus Cousins and underrated leading scorer Marcus Thornton (19ppg).
I think Minnesota is a better team, but coming off a tough loss last night to Portland while Sacramento was home resting, I’d give the slight nod to the Kings. In their last meeting earlier this season in Arco, Sacramento won with ease, 115-99. However, the 3.5 line feels a little too wide for a team that is just not that good or consistent enough to lay points on a wager.
Instead, I am leaning towards the UNDER on the massive 217 point total tonight. The stats favor a high scoring game, and both teams have been going over with tremendous frequency lately. Sacramento has gone 15-6-1 on the over during their last 21 games, and 8-3 over against the Western Conference. Meanwhile Minnesota has hit the over in 16 of their last 23 road games (16-7-0 ATS OVER). However, I think the “bet the over it has been hitting” logic has a few flaws. Mainly, the OVER tonight is enormous. This game could finish 110-106 and STILL be UNDER. And let’s be frank, you don’t see a lot of 110-106 NBA games these days.
In their last three meetings the scores were: 115-99 in Sacramento’s favor, and a pair of Minnesota wins, 86-84 and 99-86. I like tonight’s score to fall somewhere in between, but landing softly UNDER 217.
Free pick: Total UNDER 217