Lakers vs Timberwolves Picks and Predictions: The Strength of the Pack

The Lakers and Timberwolves have both been hit by health and safety protocols ahead of their national TV clash but both still have a pair of stars to depend on — which means depth will come into play, as our NBA betting picks break down.

Last Updated: Dec 17, 2021 3:32 PM ET Read Time: 4 min
D'Angelo Russell Minnesota Timberwolves NBA
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

Health and safety protocols have ravaged both the Lakers and the Timberwolves’ rosters, but the game goes on. The only national broadcast of Minnesota’s season may lack a star or two, but it is still vital to the Timberwolves’ playoff hopes.

Here are our free NBA picks and predictions for the Lakers at the Timberwolves on December 17, with tip set for 10:00 ET.

Lakers vs Timberwolves odds

Odds via the Covers Line, an average comprised of odds from multiple sportsbooks.

The Timberwolves opened as 1-point favorites on Thursday night, but by Friday morning, they were favored by as many as 3.5 points. The Timberwolves have settled as 1-point favorites, though a few books have continued to list this game as a pick’em. The total opened at 223.5 on Thursday and fell to 221.0 by Friday morning. There was a brief midday bump back up to 223.5 before Minnesota guard Anthony Edwards entered health and safety protocols, at which point the total fell all the way down to 220.5.

Use the live odds widget above to track any future line movements right until tip-off and be sure to check out the full NBA odds before betting to ensure you get the best number.

Lakers vs Timberwolves predictions

Predictions made on 12/17/2021 at 3:00 p.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.

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Lakers vs Timberwolves game info

Location: Target Center, Minneapolis, MN
Date: Friday, December 17, 2021
Tip-off: 10:00 p.m. ET
TV: ESPN

Lakers vs Timberwolves betting preview

Injuries

Lakers: Dwight Howard C (Out), Talen Horton-Tucker SG (Out), Avery Bradley SG (Out), Anthony Davis PF (Probable), LeBron James SF (Probable).
Timberwolves: Anthony Edwards SG (Out), Taurean Prince F (Out).
Find our latest NBA injury reports.

Betting trend to know

The Over is 5-0 in Minnesota’s last five games. Find more NBA betting trends for Lakers vs. Timberwolves.

Lakers vs Timberwolves picks and predictions

Our predictions are compiled from the analysis of the spread and total and are indications of where we are leaning for this game.
Our best bet is the play that we like the most for this game, which we would actually put some of our bankroll behind.

Edwards’ positive test has led to an entirely new handicap, though the result only changes via a greater margin of error. Picking the Timberwolves to win by more than three felt bold considering they are playing a team with LeBron James but somehow, picking Minnesota to win carries far less concern even without the joy that is Edwards.

The Lakers are struggling this season, everyone knows that. This roster attrition obviously does not help that cause, but Los Angeles had started to right the ship, covering in four of its last seven games.

With a full roster, the Lakers would undoubtedly be favored in Minnesota but losing four rotation players — and a fifth, shooting guard Malik Monk, only tested back into active status late in the week — is too much for nearly any NBA team to handle.

The Timberwolves, meanwhile, have finally halted a six-game losing streak that included going 1-5 ATS by springing two upsets away from home this week.

With a very short-term view, these two teams are heading in opposite directions. The rash of positive tests clouds some of that, but it may serve to only emphasize those trend lines. That emphasis was not enough to inspire excessive confidence that Minnesota could win by multiple possessions, but suddenly a win is all that is needed, and a return home could be enough to get that much.

Prediction: Timberwolves (-110)

The market may have overreacted to Edwards’ absence, and that is not meant as a knock on Edwards, one of the few bright lights in life the last two years. Rather, it is not as if his 20.8 points per game in the last 10 games are just completely wiped off the floor. Instead, those opportunities will be spread amongst Karl-Anthony Towns, D’Angelo Russell, and Malik Beasley.

Those first two names are well-known and have enjoyed their moments this season. Beasley, meanwhile, has led the Timberwolves’ second unit to moderate success, averaging 12.2 points per game in his last 10 games. He averages six shots fewer per game than Edwards’ 16.8.

The total falling by three points because Edwards is out assumes Beasley will not cruise into the 20s. With a streaky shooter like Beasley, he may need only three additional shots to do so, but he may have license to half of Edwards’ usual share. Beasley could surge to 25 points tonight, and then Towns and Russell will need to pick up only a little additional slack, still with some usual Edwards’ shots to go around.

This handicap is entirely an endorsement of Beasley and a choice intentionally counter to the market.

Prediction: Over 220.5 (-110)

At home, with more of the roster on hand than the visitors, with two healthy stars compared to two banged-up stars, this is not a huge ask of the Wolves.

Furthermore, a decent Timberwolves lead in the second half could lead to James and/or Anthony Davis spending an inordinate amount of time on the bench, an attempt by Frank Vogel to lose this battle but win the season-long war.

That would be an understandable, maybe even prudent, choice from Vogel, but we are not worried about the war here. We are worried about tonight and tonight alone.

Pick: Timberwolves (-110)

NBA parlays

Did you know that if you parlayed today’s NBA Lakers vs. Timberwolves predictions and picks in a single-game parlay, you could win $26.45 on a $10 bet?

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