Tracking the Wizards: NBA Picks and Handicapping for Washington Basketball
by Dave Schwab - 2/19/2015
Specialization can be a viable betting strategy when it comes to wagering on the NBA. To help prove this point, I have been exclusively handicapping Washington all season long and releasing free weekly picks for the Wizards with the use of Doc's Sports Unit Betting System. The results heading into this past weekend's NBA All Star break have been mixed with an overall record of 7-8-1, but I have had some success with my total line picks for this team.
Doc's has been posting these weekly free picks on its homepage, so be sure to check the site for the Wizards' game picks to follow along with my progress. While Washington continues to work on trying to stay in the top half of the Eastern Conference playoff picture, I will continue to work on bringing you winning picks for its games.
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Washington Wizards Free Picks, Odds and Predictions
Friday, Feb. 20, 8 p.m. EST (Verizon Center)
The Cleveland Cavaliers will look to move into fourth place in the East ahead of Washington when these two conference foes battle it out this Friday night at the Verizon Center. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m. (ET), and the game will be nationally televised on ESPN.
The Cavaliers ran off 14 straight up wins in 15 games, but they went into the All-Star break with a bad taste in their mouths after getting blown out by Chicago 113-98 last Thursday as two-point road favorites. They are now 3-3 against the spread in their last six games, and the total has gone "over" in their last four outings.
The Wizards' winter slide continued right into the break with last Wednesday's 95-93 loss to Toronto as five-point road underdogs. They now have just two SU victories in their last eight games, and the total has stayed "under" in their last four outings. Washington has gone 3-0 ATS in their last three games after failing to cover in its previous nine contests.
Cleveland at Washington Betting Storylines
Cleveland has had more than a week to reflect back on that ugly loss to Chicago, and you would have to think that it will be chomping at the bit to get back to its winning ways. The lone injury concern for the Cavaliers heading into Friday's game is an eye injury to Kevin Love that took him out of that game against the Bulls. However, all indications point towards him being back on the court for this contest. While he has been under scrutiny all season long for his inconsistent play, Love has played a much bigger role in his team's recent success.
Everything in Cleveland still revolves around the play of LeBron James as the team leader in both points (25.9) and assists (7.3). The Cavaliers are ranked 10th in the NBA in scoring with an average of 102.2 points per game while shooting 45.6 percent from the field. One of the biggest reasons for the team's recent success has been a much better effort on defense. The Cavaliers have moved up to No. 13 in the league in points allowed (99.3).
The fact that Bradley Beal has missed the last three games due to a leg injury has not helped Washington's cause during its recent slide. He is still listed as "questionable" for Friday night, so this could have an impact on the betting odds for this game. In his absence, the pressure has really been dialed up on John Wall to help fill the void, and he responded with 21 points, six rebounds and eight assists in the losing cause against Toronto last Wednesday.
The Wizards are currently ranked 18th in the NBA in scoring with an average of 99.7 PPG, but they continue to do a good job under the boards with 44.1 rebounds a game. Washington is also one of the best teams in the NBA at spreading the ball around with an average of 24.4 assists a game. The biggest strength is still at the other end of the court where it's holding opponents to an average of 97.3 PPG.
Cleveland at Washington NBA Betting Odds and Key Trends
BetOnline has opened the Wizards as three-point home underdogs for Friday night's tilt against Cleveland with the total set at 198.
The Cavaliers are 3-7 ATS in their last 10 road games, but 4-1 ATS in their last five games against a team from the Southeast Division. The total has stayed under in 21 of their last 28 games following a SU loss.
The Wizards are 1-6 ATS in their last seven games following a SU loss, and they have failed to cover in four of their last five games against a team with a SU winning record. The total has stayed under in seven of their last nine home games.
The underdog in this matchup is 6-2 ATS in the last eight meetings, and the total has stayed under in 11 of the last 13 games. These two split the first two meetings this season with the home team winning both SU and ATS. The total stayed under in both games.
Cleveland at Washington Free NBA Picks and Betting Predictions
It could be hard for Washington to come away with a SU win in this one despite the fact that it is well-rested and playing at home, but I do see them putting up enough of a battle to keep things close. Defense should dominate on both ends of the court, and with the availability of Beal still in question, I am going with a moderate three-unit play on the "under" 198 in this game.
3-Unit Play-Take Cleveland at Washington UNDER 198
NBA Regular Season Betting Record: 7-8-1 (-$770)
Read more articles by Dave Schwab
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