Tracking the Wizards: NBA Picks and Handicapping for Washington Basketball
by Dave Schwab - 12/24/2014
Specialization can be a powerful handicapping tool when it comes to betting on the NBA given the theory that the more you know about a particular team, the better you will be able to predict its future results. Doc's Sports tasked me to put this theory to the test by spending the entire NBA season focusing my handicapping efforts solely on the Washington Wizards, while releasing weekly free picks with the use of its Unit Betting System. The long-term goal of this endeavor is to earn a solid profit betting Wizards' games this year.
Doc's will be posting these weekly free picks on their homepage, so be sure to check the site to follow along with my progress. Heading into the end of December, the Wizards have already established themselves as one of the top teams in the East on the court. My job is to make this team pay off at the betting window.
Washington Wizards Free Picks, Odds and Predictions
Thursday, Dec. 25, Noon EST (Madison Square Garden)
Washington has made it to the big time in the NBA as the opening game in a jam-packed Christmas Day lineup that features many of the top teams in the league. The Wizards will head to Madison Square Garden for a high noon tip against the New York Knicks. This Eastern Conference matchup will be broadcast nationally on ESPN.
The Wizards' 99-91 loss to Chicago this past Tuesday night as 2.5-point home favorites was just the second time this season they lost back-to-back contests. They are now 19-8 straight up on the year and trailing the surging Atlanta Hawks by a game and a half in the Southeast Division race. It has been tough betting on Washington this season with an 11-16 record against the spread. It is 9-12 ATS as a favorite this year.
It has been anything but a fun ride for the Knicks so far with a dismal 5-25 SU record through their first 30 games of the season. Their current SU losing streak reached five games with this past Sunday's 118-108 loss to Toronto as 12-point road underdogs. New York is 12-18 ATS this season with a 4-11 mark ATS in 15 previous home games. The total has gone "over" in six of its last 10 games.
Washington at New York Betting Storylines
Washington will look to regroup from its current two-game skid, especially on defense. It is currently ranked fifth in the NBA in points allowed (97.1), but this average has climbed to 102 points over its last three games. The Bulls shot 45.9 percent from the field against the Wizards in Tuesday's loss, and Chicago's Derrick Rose led all scorers with 25 points. In this past Sunday's 104-92 loss to Phoenix, the Suns had six players shooting in double figures.
Offensively, the Wizards are ranked 17th in the NBA in scoring with 100.4 points a game, but they jump all the way to fifth in their shooting percentage from the floor at 46.9 percent. The backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal has combined for 32.9 points a game, and center Marcin Gortat is averaging 13.1 points while leading the team in rebounds with 8.3 a game. Paul Pierce has been hindered with a sore toe, but he continues to average 13.1 points and 4.6 rebounds on the year.
The big story for the Knicks this season, along with their inability to win games, is the ongoing saga of Carmelo Anthony's health. He remains the team's leading scorer with 23.7 points a game, but he has missed two of New York's last seven games while battling through injury. He did have 28 points in 38 minutes against Toronto this past Sunday, so he should be good to go for Christmas Day. The Knicks also hope to have Amar'e Stoudemire and JR Smith back in the lineup in this game after also missing time due to injury.
New York has had its issues scoring points this season no matter who has been in the lineup with an average of 94.1 points a game, which is ranked 27th in the NBA. Defensively, the Knicks are allowing an average of 100.3 points and they are ranked next-to-last in rebounds with 39.1. One of the lone bright spots as been a 36.6 shooting percentage from three-point range, which is ranked eighth in the league.
Washington at New York NBA Betting Odds and Key Trends
BetOnline has opened Washington as a 5.5-point road favorite for the Christmas Day clash against the Knicks. The total for the game has been set at 193.
The Wizards are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games against the Atlantic Division and 9-2 ATS in their last 11 games against a team with a winning percentage of less than .400. The total has stayed under five of their last seven games.
The Knicks are 3-13 ATS in their last 16 games against a team from the Southeast Division but 5-2 ATS in their last seven games against a team with a SU winning record on the road. The total has stayed under in eight of their last nine road games.
Head-to-head in this matchup, Washington is 4-0 both SU and ATS in the last four meetings, with the total staying under in three of those games. However, New York holds a 10-3 edge ATS in the last 13 meetings on its home court.
Washington at New York Free NBA Picks and Betting Predictions
The Wizards rolled over New York 98-83 in the first meeting this season as 1.5-point road favorites. Given the fact that this is a high-profile matchup on Christmas Day and the Knicks should be at full strength, I am reluctant to lay the six points on the road. The much better play in this one is the under 193 on the total line as both team's defense rises to the occasion.
3-Unit Play- Take Washington at New York UNDER 193
NBA Regular Season Betting Record: 3-5 (-$870)
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