NBA on ESPN Predictions: Minnesota T-Wolves at L.A. Clippers

Minnesota at L.A. Clippers
Time: 9:30 PM CT, ESPN
Spread: MIN -5.5
Total: 211.5

Odds c/o 5dimes

The Minnesota Timberwolves have been much improved in 2017. Their opponent, the L.A. Clippers, quite the inverse. The Wolves enter Staples Center as 5.5-point favorites in the second game of an ESPN Wednesday night double-header. Minnesota sits three games above .500, while the Clippers are just 8-14 this season and are losers of its past three games. The over/under is set at 211.5 points according to NBA oddsmakers at bookmaker 5dimes.

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One need search no further than the subtraction of Chris Paul when diagnosing the reason for the Clippers’ fall from grace this season. L.A. has a -2.6 point differential and is just 4-6 on its home court.

Despite new addition Danilo Gallinari plugging the Clippers as having the league’s best front court, its backcourt is among the worst. Lou Williams is still an effective scorer and Austin Rivers can get buckets, too, but it is Blake Griffin who leads the team in assists (5.1 per game). Griffin has had a strong season, but he has missed the Clippers’ past three games with a sprained ankle and he could miss up to two months. That cripples the Clippers. Not only is Griffin the leading scorer, but he functions as a point-forward and was expected to be the difference-maker in accounting for Paul’s lost production. Now, the Clippers turn to an amalgam of discarded scorers in attempt to even remain afloat in the tough Western Conference.

One can only wonder what is in store for this roster after this season. Implosion, presumably.

Minnesota, meanwhile, is building towards a meaningful future with two of the league’s brightest stars in Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns, alongside established veteran All-Star Jimmy Butler. Tom Thibodeau finally has the veteran leaders to lead his strong young core. Towns is averaging 19.8 points, 11.6 rebounds and 1.2 blocks pregame with a team-high PER Of 21.8. Butler has reduced his scoring load from a season ago with the pitiful Chicago Bulls, but is playing strong two-way basketball and still tallying 18 points per night. Wiggins has made meaningful strides as a playmaker and defender, with the cost that he is averaging less points than last season, but the Wolves are a better more well-rounded team this season.

Credit some of that to unheralded additions Jeff Teague and Taj Gibson. Gibson has relegated the once-promising Gorgui Dieng to the bench, while Teague has seamlessly replaced Ricky Rubio at the point guard position. Jamal Crawford is not seeing a lot of minutes (17 per game), but is still a viable scorer off the bench and he can get hot at any time. The Wolves have sufficient depth and leadership to finally cash in on its potential, and developing consistency on both ends of the court is next on Thibodeau’s checklist for his rising Wolves.

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ATS TRENDS

Minnesota
  • Timberwolves are 5-2-1 ATS in their last 8 vs. Western Conference.
  • Timberwolves are 2-5-1 ATS in their last 8 when their opponent allows 100 points or more in their previous game.
  • Timberwolves are 3-8 ATS in their last 11 road games vs. a team with a losing home record.
  • Timberwolves are 1-3-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a straight up loss.
  • Timberwolves are 1-3-1 ATS in their last 5 games vs. a team with a winning % below .400.
  • Timberwolves are 5-15-2 ATS in their last 22 games vs. a team with a losing straight up record.
  • Timberwolves are 2-7-1 ATS in their last 10 games overall.
  • Timberwolves are 1-4-1 ATS in their last 6 games following a ATS loss.
  • Timberwolves are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 when their opponent scores 100 points or more in their previous game.
  • Timberwolves are 1-5-1 ATS in their last 7 games playing on 1 days rest.
  • Timberwolves are 0-5-2 ATS in their last 7 vs. NBA Pacific.
L.A. Clippers
  • Clippers are 4-0-1 ATS in their last 5 Wednesday games.
  • Clippers are 3-8 ATS in their last 11 games following a straight up loss.
  • Clippers are 4-11 ATS in their last 15 games overall.
  • Clippers are 3-10 ATS in their last 13 after allowing 100 points or more in their previous game.
  • Clippers are 2-7 ATS in their last 9 vs. Western Conference.
  • Clippers are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 home games.
  • Clippers are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
  • Clippers are 1-10 ATS in their last 11 after scoring 100 points or more in their previous game.
  • Clippers are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 games following a ATS win.
  • Clippers are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games playing on 2 days rest.
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