Timberwolves vs Pelicans
Saturday’s NBA schedule features an intriguing battle between the Minnesota Timberwolves and the New Orleans Pelicans. The Timberwolves recently had a seven-game winning streak snapped, a stretch that included back-to-back road wins over the Warriors. Based on that early-season success, the T-Wolves look like they might be able to challenge Denver inside the Northwest Division. But if you look beneath the surface, the T’Wolves are just 3-3 on the road and just 2-3-1 against the spread when playing away from home, so Saturday’s game in New Orleans could be tricky for them as they close out their road trip.
On the other side, the Pelicans recently snapped a five-game losing streak, as things headed south for New Orleans quickly after a 4-1 start. Even playing at home hasn’t given the Pelicans a meaningful edge this season. To make matters worse, C.J. McCollum is out with a collapsed lung while Jose Alvarado, Trey Murphy, and Larry Nance are also hurt, depleting the New Orleans bench significantly. While Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson are still a formidable duo, the Pelicans don’t have enough scorers with McCollum and others missing. The T’Wolves might look a little vulnerable heading into Saturday’s game, but the Pelicans aren’t fit to take advantage, so look for Minnesota to win and cover on the road.
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Butler vs No. 18 Michigan State
There are two more Big East-Big Ten games Friday night as part of the Gavitt Tipoff, including a matchup between the Butler Bulldogs and the no. 18 Michigan State Spartans. Even in mid-November, the Spartans are in desperate need of a win. Tom Izzy’s team is just 1-2 after losing to Duke in the Champions Classic earlier this week. Michigan State also opened the season with a loss to James Madison. Even in their win over Southern Indiana, the Spartans failed to cover the spread after playing the Division I newcomers to a 37-37 tie in the second half. Despite having a veteran-heavy team led by Tyson Walker, it’s not been a promising start for the Spartans, who are running out of time to get their act together before playing Arizona on Thanksgiving and playing two Big Ten games in early December.
Meanwhile, Butler is a perfect 3-0 on the season and 3-0 against the spread. Granted, the Bulldogs haven’t faced a challenging schedule, but they have thoroughly dominated Eastern Michigan, SE Missouri, and East Tennessee State. They’ve had balanced scoring behind versatile guard Posh Alexander and played suffocating defense against lesser teams. In a state of desperation, it’s hard to envision the Spartans losing another game at home. However, the Bulldogs have a chance to take advantage of Michigan State in a vulnerable spot and should at least be able to keep this game close, making Butler against the spread the best bet in this game.
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