Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#535 Minnesota Timberwolves 216.5 vs.
#536 Indiana Pacers -6.5
Friday, January 17, 2020 at 7:05pm EST
Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis
Written by Chris Kubala

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#535 Minnesota
#536 Indiana
15-25
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It’s an interconference battle on the hardwood in the Hoosier State. The Minnesota Timberwolves are on the road as they complete a home and home set with the Indiana Pacers Friday night. These teams met in the Twin Cities on Wednesday night, with Indiana picking up a 104-99 victory to ensure no worse than a season split. In the all-time regular season series, the Pacers own a 38-21 advantage in the all-time regular season series, including two straight victories after taking Wednesday’s contest.

Minnesota Timberwolves Seek to Split Season Series

Minnesota hung in and had their opportunities but ended up on the wrong end of a five-point decision in their home half of this set. The Timberwolves entered Thursday losers of three straight and in the basement of the Northwest Division, 13 games behind Denver and Utah for the top spot. In the Western Conference playoff picture, Minnesota stood 12th, 3.5 games behind Memphis for the final playoff spot. The Timberwolves led by six after the opening quarter, by five at the half and by one after three quarters before seeing things slip away. Minnesota gave up a 10-4 run in the fourth quarter to trail 95-89 and couldn’t get closer than four after that. The Timberwolves shot 43.2 percent from the field, including 11 of 28 from three-point range, and turned the ball over 15 times in the loss. Jarrett Culver led Minnesota with 17 points in the loss.

The Timberwolves enter this one 13th in the league in scoring offense as they average 111.3 points per game this season. Minnesota is seventh in the league in rebounding as they collect 46.4 boards per contest and 23rd as they dish out 22.6 assists per game. The Timberwolves are 25th in the league in scoring defense as they allow 114.5 points per contest. Karl-Anthony Towns is leading the team with 26.5 points, 11.7 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game. Andrew Wiggins contributes 22.8 points a night, Jeff Teague puts up 13.2 points plus 6.1 assists a night while Robert Covington (12.7 points), Jake Layman (10.5 points) and Shabazz Napier (9.6 points) are solid scoring options as well. Shabazz Napier, Jarrett Culver and Gorgui Dieng are other guys that need to contribute. Minnesota is 29th in field goal percentage as they shoot 43.2 percent from the floor this season. The Timberwolves are 8th by knocking down 12.6 threes per game while the team is 29th by shooting only 32.4 percent from beyond the arc as a team this season. Towns (knee) has been out since December 13 but hopes to return soon after missing Wednesday’s game with an illness. Layman (toe) remains without a firm timetable, making him likely missing for this contest. He has returned to shooting at practice but hasn’t played since November 18.

It was announced Thursday afternoon that the Timberwolves reportedly shipped Teague and Treveon Graham to Atlanta in exchange for Allen Crabbe. It's not sure whether the deal will be completed in time for the swapped players to be in uniform here. That could leave Minnesota short a bit in their rotation.

Indiana Pacers Looking to Improve Eastern Conference Playoff Position

Indiana made the plays in crunch time to take the first half of this home and home set and earn their third straight win in the process. The Pacers entered Thursday second in the Central Division, 9.5 games behind the Bucks for the top spot. Indiana is fifth in the Eastern Conference playoff picture with Milwaukee holding the top spot there as well. The Pacers trailed by six after the opening quarter but came up with the key fourth-quarter run to take control of the game for the win. Indiana shot the ball well, hitting 51.8 percent from the field, including seven of 23 from beyond the arc, to offset 15 turnovers in the game. Domantas Sabonis led the Pacers with 29 points, 13 rebounds and six assists in the win.

The Pacers enter this contest 19th in scoring offense with 109.2 points per game on the season. Indiana is 22nd in the league in rebounding with 43.6 boards per contest and stands 6th with 25.9 assists per game. The Pacers are 8th in the league in scoring defense as they allow 106.1 points per game this season. Malcolm Brogdon is second on the team with 17.9 points, 4.5 rebounds plus 7.4 assists per game this season. Domantas Sabonis (18.1 points, 13.1 rebounds), Myles Turner (12.8 points, 6.1 rebounds, two blocks), T.J. Warren (17.8 points), Aaron Holiday (10.4 points) and Jeremy Lamb (13.2 points) are all contributing on the offensive end. The Pacers still miss Victor Oladipo, who is on the comeback trail after last season’s knee injury. He hopes to make his season on January 29 against the Bulls. Indiana is tied for 6th in the league in field goal percentage as the team shoots 47 percent from the field this season. The Pacers are 29th in threes made per game as they have drained 10.1 triples a night while the team stands tied for 5th in three-point shooting by hitting 36.7 percent from beyond the arc.

Best Bets for this Game

Full-Game Side Bet

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Minnesota hopes to have Towns back in the near future but it’s unclear if he’ll take the floor here. The Timberwolves have struggled without their big man in the middle on both ends of the floor. Indiana comes in winners of three straight games and they play well at home. The Pacers come into this game sporting a 16-5 home mark on the season. While Minnesota is better on the road (9-12) than at home (6-13) this season, it’s hard to have faith in a team that has struggled so much with injuries and inconsistency this season. Give Indiana the edge as they sweep the home and home set.

Prediction: Indiana Pacers

Full-Game Total Pick

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Minnesota has their ups and downs on the defensive end of the floor this season. The Timberwolves haven't been able to shoot the ball with any regularity to help them get past their defensive issues. Minnesota has to contend with an Indiana team that is seventh in the league in field goal percentage defense (44.4 percent) and sixth in three-point field goal percentage (33.9 percent) this season. The Pacers are tough on the defensive end of the floor and allow 105 ppg at home on the year. Minnesota likes to push the pace, ranking seventh with 102.6 possessions per game, while Indiana is 26th with 98.3 possessions a night. This one plays similar to Wednesday's game and stays under the total.

Prediction: Under

Half-Time Side Pick

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Minnesota is ninth in the league in first-half scoring offense as they put up 56.2 points per game on the year. The Timberwolves are 18th in the league in first-half scoring defense with a -0.4 ppg scoring margin, though that improves to -0.1 ppg on the road this season. Indiana is 18th in the league in first-half scoring offense this season with 54.6 points per game this season. The Pacers are 10th in first-half scoring differential with a +1.8 ppg margin, though that number doubles to +3.7 ppg at home. Give Indiana the upper hand at the half.

Prediction: Indiana Pacers

Half-Time Total Bet

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Minnesota comes into this game 22nd in the league in first half scoring defense as they allow 56.6 points per game on the season. The Timberwolves see the average first half between the teams this season at 112.8 points per game on the season. Indiana stands eighth in the league in first half scoring defense as they allow 52.8 points per game this season. The Pacers see an average first half putting up a total of 107.4 points per game this season. Look for this one to end up short of the mark.

Prediction: Under
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Written By Chris Kubala

Christopher Kubala has been crunching stats and following sports for over 30 years. His in-depth analysis and passion for sports have led him to writing books about sports, regularly being featured on sports talk radio and as the go-to person for any obscure trivia. Now he is writing for our team here at Winners @ Whiners. Chris keeps an eye on transactions and statistics like a hawk, especially when it comes to football, both the NFL and college. He is also very knowledgeable in the NHL, the NBA, college basketball and MLB. If you want consistency, then be sure and check out Chris’ content daily.