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Lakers – Timberwolves

Lakers Wolves handicapping

The Minnesota Timberwolves face a must win game on Friday night in LA, and the struggling Wolves might get a boost as their key man Jimmy Butler is probable to return.

The Lakers (34-44, 20-18 home) haven`t played that great lately, losing 8 of their last 11 games, although they did win last time out against the Spurs a couple of days ago. At this point the season is virtually over for LA, they know the spot on which they will finish in the West, and can look forward to free agency and next season. Some players have started to miss out games, and this will happen tonight as well.

The Wolves (44-35, 16-24 away) were a Top 4 seed in the West for most of the season, but things turned sour once they lost Jimmy Butler via injury about 6 weeks ago. The Wolves were slowly pushed down in the standings and after they lost in Denver last night (6th loss in 10 games), they are now in a desperate situation. With 3 games left to go, Minny is tied with Denver for the last place in the West, and a loss today would see them move out of the playoff bracket. On the other hand, a win could push them as high up as the 5th seed in the crazy Western conference playoff picture.

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Team news: The Lakers will miss three key players in Ingram, Thomas and Ball. The Wolves are expected to finally get Jimmy Butler back, which would be a huge boost. He is listed as probable and experts predict he will play. He`s the only injury worry for Minnesota.

The Lakers have nothing left to fight for and will be without three crucial pieces, including arguably their best player, Ingram. In these circumstances and looking at their very poor recent form, expectations from them are definitely not high coming into this clash.

Minnesota has struggled without Butler recently even though on paper they still have a strong team. This roster should be good enough to be able to beat the Lakers in these circumstances even without Butler. But his expected return would definitely be a huge plus.

One thing that works against the Wolves is the fact that they are back to back on the road, and that`s always a danger factor – especially given that last night they played a grueling game at altitude in Denver. However, this is a crucial matchup, and the Wolves are sure to put on their best effort. If Butler returns, his fresh legs will also be an important help.

All in all handicapping this game is pretty straightforward, the Wolves are the better team, are so much more motivated, and much healthier. Even their recent form, which isn`t great, is still better than what LA is playing. The probable return of Butler should put them over the top, but they should win this game even without him.

My tip here will be the Wolves to cover a -4 point (asian) handicap. Odds on the bet are dropping. Prediction: LA Lakers – Minnesota Timberwolves 105 – 120.

Pick: Timberwolves -4
Odds: 1.87 @ Jetbull
Stake: 8
Possible profit: 6.96
Event date: 7 April

About Rostick

Former bookie & water polo player. Rugby Union expert. - EDITOR INFO & STATS
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