Timberwolves Over Spurs and Tuesday’s Free NBA Picks

by Kevin Roberts
on March 21, 2017

Tuesday picks up the pace in the NBA, as we move from seven games to eight games. Monday should have offered up plenty of profit for anyone following our NBA picks, as we went a strong 5-2 on the night.

This didn’t feel like an overly difficult slate to roll with, but we did have the Jazz and Wizards winning on the road. Those were solid upset plays, but they didn’t pan out. We also had some close calls, as Houston and Orlando both barely got by the Nuggets and 76ers, respectively.

Tuesday night’s slate offers up some interesting games and plenty of opportunity to win some cash. Let’s dive into the schedule and see which way we’ll want to lean with our NBA picks:

Chicago Bulls (+6.5)
VS
Toronto Raptors (-6.5)
Total: 200

The Bulls and Raptors get us started on Tuesday, with Chicago hitting up the Air Canada Centre in search for a win. Jimmy Butler and co. are in a slide, losing 7 of their last 10 games and putting together a paltry 13-22 road record. They’ve somehow owned Toronto no matter the setting, however, ripping off 11 straight wins in this series.

Toronto continues to struggle to maintain consistency without star point guard Kyle Lowry, as the Raptors are just 5-5 over their last 10 contests. They are still a tough out in Canada, of course, as they hold a stout 23-12 home record so far this year. DeMar DeRozan has been struggling to produce offense at a high level without Lowry’s help, but it’s worth wondering if he can get back on track against a Bulls team he’s had a lot of success against.

There is no denying Chicago’s history here, nor the fact that they still are within striking distance of an Eastern Conference playoff spot. The Raptors have more defensive upside and are at home, however, so it may be time for this long streak to get snapped. The Bulls are a solid bet to stay close and beat the spread, but we’ll take Toronto to finally get a win in this series.

Pick

Raptors
106
Bulls
102
Phoenix Suns (+12)
VS
Miami Heat (-12)
Total: 216

The only game without betting information yet is this battle in South Beach between the Suns and Heat. Miami remains a tough out at home (20-15) and have been pretty hot (7-3 over their last 10 games) behind solid play out of Goran Dragic, Dion Waiters and Hassan Whiteside.

At first glance this feels like a terrific spot for the Heat to continue their march to the Eastern Conference playoffs. Phoenix struggles on the road (9-25) and may be without star scorer Devin Booker (ankle), who is currently listed as questionable:

That could be a massive blow for the Suns, who are rolling with a youth movement these days and have benched Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight for the remainder of the season. With the likes of Leandro Barbosa and Ronnie Price also banged up, this could put a ton of pressure on rookie point guard Tyler Ulis and end up crippling the Suns offensively.

Phoenix still boasts a dangerous offense and Booker could always suit up, but there are moving pieces here we’d prefer not to mess with. Instead, we’ll just favor Miami at home.

Pick

Heat
104
Suns
97
Detroit Pistons (-5)
VS
Brooklyn Nets (+5)
Total: 214

Andre Drummond and the Pistons could get a chance to start moving in the right direction tonight, as Detroit gets a very winnable road game against the Nets. There’s no denying Brooklyn can be a lot to handle at the Barclays Center, but Detroit has been the better team all year and even have held the upper hand in this series, winning 3 of the last 4 meetings.

We really can’t deny the Nets’ ability to execute their offense at home, where they’ve nabbed 8 of their 13 wins on the year. They could have a tough time firing on all cylinders, of course, with starting point guard Jeremy Lin once again dealing with an injury:

Lin is almost certainly out, while the Nets have gone public about handing Spencer Dinwiddie the job for the remainder of the regular season. That could be a big deal for this game specifically, as Dinwiddie previously suited up for the visiting Pistons.

There’s the rub, though. Are we seriously putting money down on Dinwiddie shredding the Pistons and the Nets getting their 14th win of the year? It seems like a stretch. Detroit stinks on the road (11-22), but they’re far more talented and still have the playoffs within reach. Don’t be too shocked if Brooklyn puts up a fight and Dinwiddie shines, but the Nets wrecking as a whole doesn’t feel like a great play.

Pick

Pistons
104
Nets
100
Memphis Grizzlies (+2.5)
VS
New Orleans Pelicans (-2.5)
Total: 206.5

The Grizz enter New Orleans as unexpected underdogs tonight, in what should be a pretty tight battle with the Pelicans. Marc Gasol would normally be a tough draw for the Pels, but Memphis isn’t quite as good on the road and now the Grizzlies big man has to contest with both DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis on the same night.

This has oddly been a pretty intense series, with the Grizzlies and Pels producing three OT battles in their last four meetings. New Orleans won the most recent battle in mid-February, while the Grizz had been dominating with seven straight previous wins.

That was all before Boogie came to town, so we need to look at this matchup a little differently now. After all, the Pels have been a tough out on their home floor and are coming in hot with two straight wins and a 6-4 run over their last 10 games. Memphis is even hotter, though, winning four straight entering tonight’s showdown.

It’s tough to know which way to go here in a game that really feels like a toss-up, but we tend to favor the Pels in this spot. They have one extra post monster for Gasol to worry about, which could easily lead to Gasol struggling offensively and maybe even getting into foul trouble on the other end. New Orleans also recently moved Tim Frazier into the starting five, which is allowing Jrue Holiday to take on more of a scoring role.

New Orleans is really rounding out into a pretty decent team these days and they’ve also turned into a tough defensive squad ever since adding Cousins. This one should be close and as history suggests, could even bleed into OT. Either way, we’ll take the Pels at home by a hair.

Pick

Pelicans
101
Grizzlies
98
Golden State Warriors (-4)
VS
Dallas Mavericks (+4)
Total: 208.5

The Warriors head to Dallas a night after visiting the Thunder. Golden State could be a little tired, as Stephen Curry and co. are on the second game of a back-to-back set and will also be suiting up for their fourth game in six days.

That might not be enough to get us off the Dubs, who have ripped off four straight wins and are starting to look like themselves behind three straight blowout wins. Golden State has had a lot of mileage over the last week, but finishing teams off early may keep fatigue from settling in.

The Dubs already look like a solid bet even before looking at this matchup, which favors them as they prepare to take on the Mavs in Dallas. The Mavericks have looked good lately, as they’re improved to 20-15 on their home floor and have been a solid 6-4 over their last 10 games. Unfortunately, they play at a slower pace and really don’t have the offensive ability to keep up with the Warriors when they’re at their best.

It will be fun to see the Curry brothers face off, while Harrison Barnes will likely seek some revenge against his former team. That being said, we’ve seen these teams face off twice already this year and neither game was particularly close. The Warriors have also dominated this series lately, winning five in a row.

Dallas can be a problem at home, but they’ll need to catch serious fire to take out the Dubs tonight. Perhaps we get big games out of Seth Curry and Harrison Barnes, but it probably won’t be enough.

Pick

Warriors
112
Mavericks
106
San Antonio Spurs (-5)
VS
Minnesota Timberwolves (+5)
Total: 205.5

The Timberwolves have regressed lately behind three straight losses, but actually feel like an upset special tonight. Minnesota had been surging before their recent skid, as Ricky Rubio has really stepped up his play and Karl-Anthony Towns has remained a handful for opposing defenses.

One oddity has been the regression of scorer Andrew Wiggins, who has really been holding the offense back. His task to put up points doesn’t get much easier tonight with Kawhi Leonard set to drape him, but perhaps the extra focus on him could free up Rubio and KAT to do some dirty work.

Minnesota has to eventually get the monkey off of their back, and now is as good a time as any, with the Spurs riding an insane 12-game winning streak in this series. San Antonio remains the safe and easy pick here, as the Spurs come in red hot (7-3 over their last 10 games), but something tells us the Timberwolves will want to avoid a 4-0 season series sweep. We got closer to seeing it happen in the last meeting – which went to OT – so if Minnesota can get it going early, we like them to snap two steaks at once.

Pick

Timberwolves
102
Spurs
100
Milwaukee Bucks (+5)
VS
Portland Trail Blazers (-5)
Total: 216

An interesting game to look at tonight is this showdown between the Bucks and Blazers in Portland. Damian Lillard is coming off of an insane 49-point performance and will have the Blazers ready to rock at home, where they’re a solid 17-14 on the year. The Blazers are also coming in hot in general, having won three straight and 8 of their last 10 contests.

Portland looks like a fun favorite here, especially if the Bucks are more shorthanded than usual. Star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (ankle) got hurt in Milwaukee’s last game, and there’s a slight chance he could be held out of this road tilt:

It still remains to be determined if The Greek Freak will actually sit out, but even if he doesn’t it’s going to be tough to back the Bucks here. Not only has Milwaukee left a lot to be desired on the road this year (14-19 away from the Bradley Center), but the Bucks may not have the offensive firepower to keep up with Lillard and C.J. McCollum. New Portland center Jusuf Nurkic also poses a new threat down low.

Antetokounmpo suiting up gives the Bucks a chance in any situation, but winning in Portland can be tough when the Blazers are hot. They’re healthy with Evan Turner returning recently, too, which only aids their argument.

Pick

Blazers
109
Bucks
106
Los Angeles Clippers (-8)
VS
Los Angeles Lakers (+8)
Total: 221

The last game of the night should be an easy call, as the Clippers battle the Lakers at the Staples Center. This is a fun L.A. rivalry on the surface, but Lob City has certainly dominated this thing, winning 12 of the last 13 meetings. The Lakers did steal their first win since 2013 this year, but it’s worth noting both Blake Griffin and Chris Paul didn’t take the floor.

Home/road splits go out the window here, as these teams share the same stadium. History tells us the Clips are the easy knee-jerk call, and this year’s results to this point echo that sentiment. The Clippers are seemingly rounding into form, winning two straight and 6 of their last 10. The Lakers, meanwhile, did show up against the Cavs recently, but have dropped five straight and are just 1-9 in their last 10 contests.

The real wrinkle here is D’Angelo Russell being inserted back into the Lakers’ starting five, but this time as the team’s shooting guard. That translated to an amazing 40-point performance in his last game versus Cleveland, so it will be interesting to see if he can keep that momentum going.

While Russell’s recent outburst is encouraging, the Lakers remain impossible to trust and the Clippers look to be in a solid groove. There’s a mild chance they rest some key players after playing the Knicks last night, but even that might not stop us from hopping aboard the Clippers bandwagon for a night.

Pick

Clippers
112
Lakers
106
MONEYLINE
DECIMAL
FRACTIONAL
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