I went out on a limb last night and took the Lakers (+140) to get the job done in Denver and they did not make me look smart. Denver’s home dominance continued in a very easy win – one that again creates pause for anyone thinking L.A. can be title contenders.
The loss was my third in a row and fourth in five tries. I’m still just 17-9 on the year with my NBA picks, though, so it’s easy to see we got off to an amazing start. Things have slowed down a bit lately, but hopefully a big NBA Wednesday slate will get us back on track.
There are plenty of games to choose from tonight and my favorite resides in Minnesota, where the Timberwolves will host the San Antonio Spurs. These teams are very similar right now, as they both have 10 wins and at least 10 losses. Minnesota is a stout 8-3 at home but just 4-3 against the spread when favored in front of their home crowd. The Spurs are 4-7 on the road, but 4-3 ATS when Vegas goes against them on the road.
It’s a wash, so you’re basically looking at which team you trust more. Minnesota is the understandable favorite on their home floor, but I can’t help but favor San Antonio’s +4.5 point spread in this spot. Let’s break this matchup down a bit further to see if that’s the wager to target tonight:
San Antonio Spurs (+4.5, -110) @ Minnesota Timberwolves (-4.5, -110) Total: 216.5 (-107/-113)
These are fringe playoff teams that don’t seem to know who they are just yet. Minnesota is oddly enough a little more cohesive now that the Jimmy Butler drama is gone, while a historically sound defensive Spurs team has not been good at all at that end of the floor.
But neither of these teams can defend. The Timberwolves and Spurs both rank outside of the top-18 in terms of defensive efficiency, while both have been pretty solid offensively. The Spurs do tend to play pretty slow in terms of pace, but the T’Wolves push things a bit more and could dictate the tempo at home. That has the Over (-107) very much in play for me tonight.
It doesn’t hurt that some low Totals have helped the Spurs, as the Over is 11-8-1 in their games this season. The Over is just 6-15 in Minnesota’s contests, but that could be the reverse impact with their games often featuring very high Totals. I think you’ll catch it somewhere down the middle and while it’s a close call, I’d definitely lean toward the Over tonight.
That’s a good bet, but it’s a secondary play in this game. I know this isn’t the Spurs of old, but they still have one of the best coaches in the NBA and the tandem of LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan are a lot to deal with. I find it hard to believe they lose by much in this one – if at all.
Both of these teams are fighting for that final playoff spot in the Western Conference and I tend to favor a more veteran San Antonio crew. This has also long been a series San Antonio has dominated. They’ve won two in a row in the season series and 16 of the last 17. The mental hold is real, folks.
This should honestly probably be a pick’em game, but it seems Vegas is assuming the public will look at the home/road splits and just bet in favor of the Timberwolves. I’m not doing that, as the Spurs still have some talent and shouldn’t go quietly into the night in this one.
The only thing that would get me off of the Spurs is if San Antonio ended up resting one of their key players. They’ve been talking about it and we know it’s coming eventually. Is it happening in a huge road game with the Spurs currently out of the playoff picture, though? Somehow I doubt it.