NBA Betting Preview: Timberwolves at Dallas Mavericks

By: Stephen Nover | Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Mavericks haven’t impressed bettors at home by going 16-18-2 ATS.

Some NBA teams are Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in nature, good and bad.

Not Minnesota. The Timberwolves are pure Mr. Hyde – bad.

Minnesota takes it 17-54 record – second-worst in the NBA only to Cleveland – into Dallas for 5:35 p.m. PT Thursday game against the Mavericks.

The Timberwolves have one thing and only one thing going for them: Kevin Love. And he may not play.

Love had a 53-game double-double streak earlier this season, longest in the NBA since 1973-74. But Love aggravated a groin injury this past Sunday against Sacramento in Minnesota’s last game. Love left early in the second quarter having been held to no points and three rebounds against the Kings during a 127-95 embarrassing home loss.

It was the Timberwolves’ second worst home loss in franchise history. It was just Sacramento’s eighth road victory in 33 away games. Minnesota was a 4 ½-point favorite with the combined 222 points going ‘over’ the 214 ½-point total.

Oh, yes, Michael Beasley played only 14 minutes in the loss suffering from a sore hip. Beasley is the Timberwolves’ only other decent player besides Love.

Now the Timberwolves, losers of 15 of their last 19, bring their 5-30 road mark to Dallas. Minnesota has dropped seven of its last eight games on the highway going 3-5 ATS.

A key question is can probable lame duck coach Kurt Rambis get his sad sack Timberwolves to refocus during their final 11 games of the season starting against Dallas?

Certainly the spread is going to be astronomical once the oddsmaker finally gets a better read on Love’s status to put out a number. Call Love ‘questionable’ for now, although there’s no reason for the Timberwolves to risk their franchise player by using him if he’s not 100 percent.

The Mavericks are battling the Lakers for the second-best record in the Western Conference. Dallas, 49-21, has lost five of its past nine games.

Dallas did get back on track whipping Golden State, 101-73, this past Sunday in its last game as 8 ½-point home ‘chalk.’ The combined 174 points went well ‘under’ the 212-point total. Dirk Nowitzki scored 20 points for the Mavericks, who clinched their 11th consecutive playoff berth with the win.

Peja Stojakovic chipped in 17 points for the Mavericks in playing for the first time in seven games following a stiff neck. The Mavericks won without third-leading scorer and rebounder Shawn Marion, out with a sprained right wrist. Marion is hoping to play against Minnesota.

The Mavericks might be open to letting the Timberwolves get a ‘backdoor’ cover since they begin a six-game road trip following this matchup. That means Dallas coach Rick Carlisle could give extra rest to some of his veterans such as Jason Kidd and Nowitzki if the Mavericks built a big lead.

Dallas has won 25 of 36 games at home, but is an unimpressive 16-18-2 ATS at American Airlines Center. The Mavericks have been a much better spread team on the road going 21-13 ATS.

The Mavericks did cover as 10-point favorites when they hosted the Timberwolves on Dec. 1 winning, 100-86. The combined 186 points went ‘under’ the 205 ½-point total. Marion had 16 points and eight rebounds. Tyson Chandler grabbed 18 rebounds.

The teams met again on March 7 and the Mavericks just nipped the Timberwolves, 108-105, failing to cover as 6 ½-point road favorites. The combined 213 points went ‘over’ the 210-point total.

Love had 23 points and 17 rebounds in the loss. Beasley contributed 20 points and nine rebounds.

Nowitzki led the Mavericks with 25 points. It was the 20th time in the last 22 meetings Dallas has beaten the Timberwolves. Minnesota, however, has covered in eight of its last nine visits to Dallas.

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