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November 1, 2017

There is one pick tonight.

Take the UNDER 224 total points in Timberwolves vs. Pelicans for 3% of the bankroll.

This should be a relatively high-scoring affair but not the complete shootout that the Vegas total suggests. Yes, both teams will likely score in triple-digits but we don’t see them both putting up +110 points nor do we see one side running away with it and putting up 130 points or so, for the ‘Over’ to hit! What is most likely is a 111-106 type scoreline unless the game somehow goes to overtime for five additional minutes! Anything is possible in OT of course but less than 10% of games go to overtime and we don’t expect this one to go past regulation.

Tom Thibodeau is known as a defensive coach and proved that over many years at Chicago Bulls. He emphasizes solid organization and defensive accountability first and foremost and has high expectations from his team on that end of the court. He brought in a great defense in Jimmy Butler as well as another veteran Taj Gibson (both from his previous team, Bulls) to show his commitment to being a better defensive team. Those two veterans are already teaching this younger group about the importance of getting stops in order to be a playoff team. And yet so far this season, this does not look like a Thibodeau-coached team in the sense that they have allowed opposing teams to bucket 52% of their field goals! The Wolves have allowed each of their last 4 opponents to shoot better than 50% and that is not sitting well with their stern coach. We expect a better defensive effort from them tonight.

The Pelicans were limited to 35 points in the second half of their most recent game against the Orlando Magic! We don’t see them being as limited tonight but do think Frank Vogel showed other coaches a glimpse of how the dynamic duo of Cousins and Davis can be contained. Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins are All-Stars and arguably the two most dominant bigs in the game! On most nights, they’re both gonna be a handful and stuff the stat sheet. But there are times where one has an off-game and Minnesota does have enough presence in the post to at least limit one of them a bit. Even if they both have huge nights however, which is certainly a possibility, Jrue Holiday will have to do his part from the guard position. Holiday, while talented has been inconsistent and not a reliable source of offense. His efforts are sporadic as are the rest of his teammates. Meanwhile players like Dante Cunningham in the starting lineup are there more so for their defensive work than their offense.

It’s early in the season but both teams know this is an important matchup and a way to test themselves against a quality conference opponent. Both squads are hopeful of making the playoffs but in the loaded Western conference, nothing can be taken for granted and it may well be one of them in the post-season and not both. The Pelicans want to bounce back from an ugly home loss to Orlando and Cousins admitted that in order for them to do so, they need to focus their efforts on the defensive end. As for the visitors, they got swept 3-0 in the season series against the Pels last season and have revenge on their mind! They don’t want to be beaten again and know they must pay special attention to New Orleans’ offense. Look for this game to be a high-scoring and entertaining matchup but ultimately fall ‘under’ the inflated Vegas total, much to the dismay of the betting public.   

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