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Sports news with a Vegas perspective.

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Los Angeles Lakers at Minnesota Timberwolves Preview: Odds, Free Pick

Pro Hoops on Friday and we will see the Los Angeles Lakers travel to Minneapolis to take on the Minnesota Timberwolves. The game is scheduled for a 10:35 pm (Eastern) start time and will be televised on ESPN. Currently the odds for the game have Los Angeles favored by 1.5 points while the total sits at 197.5.  Check out Sportsbook Spy to see who the Public is taking on all of today's games.

Analysis:  The Los Angeles Lakers are facing the perfect opponent when it comes to attempting to halt an eight-game road losing skid. The Lakers visit the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday, a team they have beaten 19 consecutive times dating to the 2006-07 campaign. Los Angeles hasn't won a road game since Dec. 22 when it beat Golden State by three points in overtime. Since then, the Lakers are 0-8 SU (1-7 ATS) on the road, giving up a hefty 108.4 PPG on 49% FG (43% threes) to these hosts. The Lakers defense has been poor all season, but it has been especially awful outside of Staples Center, allowing 105.7 PPG on 47% FG. And after three straight 100-point games, the offense struggled in Wednesday's loss in Phoenix, scoring 86 points on 42% FG with 19 turnovers. But L.A. has had little trouble scoring in this series over the past five seasons, lighting up the Wolves for 106.4 PPG in these 18 victories. SG Kobe Bryant (28.1 PPG, 5.3 APG, 5.1 RPG) has 24.0 PPG, 5.2 RPG and 5.0 APG in 56 career meetings with the Wolves, scoring 32.0 PPG on 46% FG (44% threes) in the four matchups last season. PF Pau Gasol (12.8 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 3.7 APG) has averaged a near double-double versus the Wolves since coming to L.A., averaging 19.4 PPG and 10.7 RPG in these 16 meetings. He's still adjusting to life coming off the bench though, posting a pedestrian 12.3 PPG and 5.3 RPG in his past three games. PG Steve Nash (11.5 PPG, 7.7 APG) is assuming more of an offensive role with 13.8 PPG on 54% FG (7-of-14 threes) in the past four games. Center Dwight Howard could miss the contest after aggravating a shoulder injury during Wednesday’s loss to the Phoenix Suns. 

Minnesota comes in having lost five straight contests and 10 of its last 11.  Injuries have hindered Minnesota with the most significant loss being All-Star forward Kevin Love to a broken right hand. Center Nikola Pekovic (thigh) and guard Alexey Shved (ankle) both returned for Wednesday’s 96-90 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers after each missed the previous five games. Pekovic had 17 points and 12 rebounds and Shved scored 12 points. The Wolves did a poor job on the boards in Wednesday's home loss to the Clippers, getting outrebounded 45-38, including 15-8 on the offensive glass. That wasn't the return that head coach Rick Adelman envisioned after he missed 11 games to be with his wife who was suffering from seizures.  Pekovic flourished against the Lakers last season too, with 17.0 PPG and 10.3 RPG in the four meetings. PG Ricky Rubio (5.1 PPG, 5.2 APG) has tried to assume more of an offensive role in the past two games with 11.5 PPG, but he shot horribly against L.A. last season, averaging just 7.7 PPG on 24% FG (8-for-33), but he did have 27 assists and just five turnovers (5.4 Ast/TO ratio) in the three games. SF Andrei Kirilenko (13.7 PPG, 6.6 RPG) has scored in double-figures in eight straight games, but he's just 5-of-16 from the floor in the past two contests. Minnesota's defense has been great at home this season (92.7 PPG, 42.6% FG allowed), but it has been dreadful during the current five-game losing skid (101.4 PPG on 51.0% FG).

Free Pick: I've done well with taking Laker Unders of late and I will do so again tonight. The Lakers have struggled to score on the road late as they have averaged just 87.3 ppg in their last 3 games away from home. Tonight they face a Minnesota teams that has played really god defense at home, allowing just 92.7 ppg here overall, including just 89 ppg in their last 4 on their home floor. Their last 4 at home hasn't all been vs mediocre offenses as two of the games were vs the Clippers and 1 was vs Houston and they held the Rockets to just 79 points in that game. The T-Wolves have been hit hard by injuries and it has really affected their offense, as they come in averaging just 91.8 ppg in their last 10 games overall and just 85.5 pg in their last 4 games at home. Now Minnesota home games have averaged just 187.7 ppg on the year, including just 174.5 ppg in their last 4 games here. I expect a slower paced game, with Minnesota playing at home and that should keep this one in the 180's at best. 



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Little about Steve Fezzik: In 2000, he moved to Las Vegas, and has been betting for a living ever since. During the next 10 years, Fezzik sharpened his focus in several areas including Proposition betting, and Football Contests.