NBA Play-In Tournament 2023: Timberwolves vs. Lakers odds, predictions and best bets
The NBA Play-In Tournament has provided us with a lot of excitement since its implementation, and we're looking forward to the Tuesday, April 11th meeting between the Minnesota Timberwolves and Los Angeles Lakers. The winner of this game will be the seventh seed in the Western Conference, which means that team will head to Memphis to face the Memphis Grizzlies. Jonathan Von Tobel will be previewing every NBA series that these NBA Playoffs have to offer, so make sure you check out what he has to say for all of these intriguing matchups. However, we're also doing some head-to-head previews, while continuing to give you your usual dose of NBA best bets and player props. With that said, we have a lot in store for what are some of the most exciting weeks of the year. Keep reading as we dive into Tuesday's second matchup, which will be played on the big stage at Crypto.com Arena.
MORE: Check out our Pro Picks page for everything our experts have!
Timberwolves at Lakers betting odds
Lakers -7.5 / Total: 231.5
For updated odds, check out our VSiN NBA Odds page!
Timberwolves at Lakers Side Analysis
On Sunday, April 9th, the Timberwolves might have given away their entire season. Kyle Anderson and Rudy Gobert got into a heated argument on the bench, and it ultimately led to the Frenchman throwing a punch at his teammate. Now, Gobert is suspended for this meeting with the Lakers. Minnesota also lost Jaden McDaniels for the remainder of the year, as the exceptional two-way wing fractured his hand punching a wall. It was an absolute masterclass in self sabotage, and the Timberwolves are now massive underdogs in this road game.
Minnesota still has a shot at making the postseason, but that would mean finding a way to win this game or earning a victory over the winner of the 9 vs. 10 matchup on Wednesday. But the absence of McDaniels is massive for this team. McDaniels is one of the best wing defenders in basketball, and he was likely going to handle the LeBron James assignment in this one. McDaniels is also a player that can create offense for himself, as he is a respectable shooter and uses his long strides and above-average athleticism to get to the basket.
If there’s one positive that came out of all this for the Timberwolves, then it’s that Karl-Anthony Towns and Gobert already made for a clunky fit in the frontcourt. Minnesota is likely at its best with one of them off the floor, so the spacing for the Timberwolves could be a little better with Towns at center and Anderson sliding up to play as a small-ball power forward. But even so, this now looks like a game that the Lakers should run away with.
While this is a rather large spread that Los Angeles will have to cover, the team had the fifth-best net rating in basketball over the final 15 games of the regular season. This Lakers team is suddenly one of the most impressive groups in basketball after Rob Pelinka made perfect use of the NBA trade deadline. Pelinka brought in guys that can either shoot the basketball or defend at a high level, and all of them slot in perfectly amongst the Lakers’ superstar pairing of LeBron and Anthony Davis. Now, Los Angeles looks like a legitimate contender to win the Western Conference.
Of course, it’s hard not to mention that Anthony Edwards has the potential to go off in this game, and Mike Conley Jr. is also a player that can be counted on to produce in a postseason environment. But the Timberwolves are suddenly lacking in the depth department, and it also wouldn’t be surprising if Austin Reaves ended up out-performing Conley here. If he does that, it’s hard to see where Minnesota has significant advantages over Los Angeles.
On top of all of that, there’s also the fact that LeBron is one of the greatest postseason performers in the history of the sport. He should turn in a spectacular performance for the Lakers here, and his teammates should be inspired by his level of play. When you compare that vibe to a Timberwolves locker room that is suddenly as fragile as ever, you have to think this has the potential to turn into a blowout.
Timberwolves at Lakers Total Analysis
The under is 6-1 in the last seven meetings between these teams, and it shouldn’t surprise anybody if this one goes under the number. This game has a pretty high total right now, but there isn’t much that suggests this will turn into an up-and-down affair.
While both of these teams are Top 10 in the league when it comes to pace of play, Minnesota was 10th and Los Angeles was just 14th when you break it down to the final 15 games of the regular season. Both of these teams ended up slowing down considerably, and both also happened to be top-10 teams when it came to defensive rating in that span. So, these are two franchises that look a lot different now than they did over the course of the entire season.
Postseason basketball also happens to favor half-court production. There won’t be as much running and gunning from deep as we saw during the regular season for pretty much anyone, and everybody is going to be a little more locked in defensively. So, it isn’t hard to see why this one might fall short of the 231.5-point mark.
Timberwolves at Lakers Best Bet
Considering everything that went down with the Timberwolves on Sunday, it's just hard not to back a Lakers team that is laser-focused right now. If Minnesota was only going to be without Gobert in this one, it might not have been a huge issue for the team. However, McDaniels is one of the most important players on this Timberwolves roster, and the Lakers are too talented to let an opportunity like this slip away. Don't be surprised if Minnesota hangs around a bit early on, but Los Angeles should pull away in the second half.
Pick: Lakers -7.5 (-110)
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