This Western Conference clash features a team that is finally getting healthy against a team that may be out two of its top offensive weapons.
The Los Angeles Clippers have Kawhi Leonard and Paul George at full strength while the Minnesota Timberwolves are playing without Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell is also questionable to play tonight.
Combined, these teams are 24-32 against the spread and the under has hit in 58.9% of their games. The Clippers are six-point home favorites with the total sitting at 223.5 points. Let’s find the betting edge in this game.
After back-to-back road losses to the Trail Blazers, the Timberwolves have two more games before returning home. They are still trying to find their way without Towns, who will be out for this game.
Towns has missed six straight games and the Timberwolves have gone 3-3 during that time. They are allowing 119.3 points per game and their Defensive Rating has also taken a hit. Kyle Anderson has been solid as a power forward replacement, but the Timberwolves desperately miss Towns.
Covering the spread has been difficult for this team. They are 10-17 ATS and are only covering 22.2% of the time when listed as underdogs. The Clippers rank in the top five in Defensive Rating and are allowing only 108.7 points per game.
After getting ejected against the Thunder earlier this month, Rudy Gobert has picked up his game, averaging a massive double-double with 19.5 points and 15.8 rebounds per game over his past four contests. The Clippers rank just outside the top 10 in both points in the paint per game and Rebounding Percentage this season, so Gobert can exploit this matchup.
Russell has also stepped up in Towns’ absence. In his past five games, Russell is averaging 26.4 points per game and shooting 57.6% from the field and 47.5% from behind the arc. However, he is questionable to play in this game due to a knee injury.
Lastly, let’s take a ride on the Anthony Edwards rollercoaster. There are games where Edwards looks like one of the best players in the league and others where he looks unengaged. His shooting numbers are inconsistent, but he is always a threat for a massive game regardless of the tough matchup.
If Russell is out, the Timberwolves are going to have a hard time scoring the ball. Even if he plays, the Clippers are healthy and present a scary defense.
Leonard and George have played in only eight games, but with the two of them on the court, the Clippers look like title contenders. They have a 6-2 record when both Leonard and George play and are holding opponents to 103.75 points per game. Good luck Timberwolves.
Leonard is coming off of his best game of the season, having scored 25 points while shooting 10-of-12 from the field while grabbing nine rebounds and dishing out five assists. The crazy part is he did that against the Celtics defense, and only played 29 minutes! It is safe to say Leonard is back and healthy again.
George has also been dialed in recently, averaging 30.3 points and seven rebounds per game while shooting 42.9% from behind the arc. He is averaging over 23 points per game for the third straight season. This duo can make life difficult on both ends of the floor.
Outside of those two superstars, the Clippers roster is flooded with veteran role players. They will be missing their second leading scorer in Norman Powell, but have seven other players averaging double-digit points. They do a great job of letting the superstars take over and filling in when necessary.
The Timberwolves rank 19th in Defensive Rating this season and first in Pace. Even without Towns, they will look to increase the tempo, but that will be tough against the Clippers, who play very slow.
Make sure to keep an eye on the status of both George and Leonard. This game is the front end of a back-to-back with a home matchup against a much tougher Suns team looming.
The Clippers may rest George or Leonard out of the blue, which always makes them a little bit of a risk.
Instead of taking the Clippers spread at -6, we will bank on their defense suffocating the Timberwolves offense and take the under on their team total of 108.75 points. With no Towns and potentially no Russell, the Timberwolves are going to have a really tough time scoring the ball against the Clippers tonight.
Take this bet down to 105 points, especially if Russell is ruled out. Even if George or Leonard get ruled out, this is still a great defensive Clippers team.
Pick: Minnesota Timberwolves Under 108.75 Team Total (-110)