Wolves-Lakers Betting Preview: How to Play This Matchup of Bad ATS Teams
Photo credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Jimmy Butler and LeBron James
Betting odds: Minnesota Timberwolves at Los Angeles Lakers
- Spread: Lakers -6
- Over/Under: 239
- Time: 10:30 p.m. ET
- TV Channel: ESPN
>> All odds as of 11 a.m. ET. Download The Action Network App to get real-time NBA odds and track your bets
The 4-7 Minnesota Timberwolves travel to Los Angeles to face the 4-6 Lakers. It’s a matchup between two of the most dysfunctional teams in the league. What could go wrong?
Can the Wolves come together for a much-needed road win, or will LeBron James and Co. take care of business? Our analysts discuss.
Betting Trends to Know
Non-playoff teams from 2017-18 have gone 42-35-2 (55%) against the spread when playing postseason participants from last season. The Lakers are 1-6 straight-up and ATS in this scenario.
The Lakers lost to the Raptors, 121-107, on Sunday. Bettors assume that a team featuring LeBron will bounce back after a blowout loss, but they have been wrong.
Since the 2014-15 season, LeBron’s teams have gone 17-39 ATS following a loss of 10 or more points in the regular season. — John Ewing
The Timberwolves are currently one of five teams without a straight-up road win this season. Dating back to 2017-18, Minnesota has dropped nine consecutive road games under coach Tom Thibodeau — the longest road losing streak for a Thibodeau-coached team.
Under Thibodeau, the Timberwolves have struggled mightily on the road, going 36-54-1 ATS (40%) and losing bettors 20.2 units.
They’re the least profitable road team in the NBA under Thibs by more than 6.0 full units. — Evan Abrams
This is me with this game:
Look, the Wolves are 0-6 on the road and 1-5 ATS. The Lakers are 2-3 at home and 1-4 ATS. I can’t trust these teams.
The Lakers added Tyson Chandler, who is pretty close to the end of the line, but they badly need him. LeBron looks as checked out as imaginable but can also go off at any point. The Wolves are a broken team suffering through a complete disconnect on every level and still can’t get Karl-Anthony Towns the ball.
Take the Lakers on the moneyline and pray the young core doesn’t have one of those helpless nights, or stay away from this entirely. — Matt Moore
Mears: Who’s to Blame for the Wolves’ Struggles?
I think it’s fair to ask at this point just how much Jimmy Butler is helping the Timberwolves on the court. (He’s definitely not helping off.)
Per Cleaning the Glass, the Wolves were 13.5 points per 100 possessions better with him on the court vs. off last season — that was in the 97th-percentile of all players. They were 4.7 points/100 better on offense and a whopping 8.8 points/100 better defensively.
This season, the Wolves are actually 1.3 points/100 worse with him playing vs. not. Most of that is on offense: Minnesota has been 10.6 points/100 worse in that regard with him playing, which is in the ninth-percentile of players. The Wolves’ effective field goal rating has dropped by 4.4% and their free throw rate has dropped by 3.9%.
But is that really his fault?
I’m actually going to argue no. Look at the team shot frequency differential with Butler on this season:
And now look at the Wolves’ accuracy marks:
The offense looks better with Jimmy playing — the Wolves take a ton more 3-pointers, including ones at the corner — they just haven’t made any shots. I’m not sure Butler can be blamed for that. In fact, it’s probably more a result of Derrick Rose playing a ton this season instead of guys like Jeff Teague (because of injuries) and Tyus Jones (because Thibs is wrong).
Unfortunately, Teague is out again on Wednesday night, which means we’ll likely get another heavy dose of Rose and Andrew Wiggins jacking up mid-rangers: Those guys combined for 12-of-36 shooting in Monday’s loss to the Clippers. Butler and Towns, by the way, combined for 14-of-26 shooting.
Hey, maybe let your best players shoot? (I’m not getting my hopes up.)
I agree with Matt: In a vacuum, I like the Wolves to cover the big number of +6, but it’s hard to trust the coaching staff and current rotation right now. — Bryan Mears
Editor’s note: The opinions on this game are from the individual writers and are based on their research, analysis and perspective. They are independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.