In an effort to take advantage of specialization as a viable NBA betting strategy, I have exclusively been handicapping the Washington Wizards all season long, and right through the playoffs. I have also been releasing free picks for their games with the use of Doc's Sports Unit Betting System in an effort to return a profit through my efforts. While my regular season results have been mixed, I have taken it on the chin with a 1-3 record in four previous postseason picks.
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Doc's continues to post these free Washington Wizards picks on its homepage, and while they are currently on the brink of elimination in the conference semifinals, I still have at least one last chance to cash in on their games.
Washington Wizards Free Picks, Odds and Predictions
Friday, May 15, 7 p.m. EST (Verizon Center)
Push has come to shove in this Eastern Conference semifinal matchup between Washington and Atlanta with the Hawks holding the 3-2 series lead heading into Friday night's Game 6 at the Verizon Center. Tipoff for this crucial showdown is set for 7 p.m. (ET), and the game will be broadcast nationally on ESPN.
Atlanta is the No. 1 seed in the East, but it still managed to dig itself into a 2-1 hole in this series with a 104-98 Game 1 loss at home as a 5.5-point favorite followed by a 103-101 loss in Game 3 as a four-point favorite on the road. The Hawks went on to win the next two games straight up, but they come into Game 6 of this series with 4-7 record against the spread in these playoffs.
The Wizards find themselves on the brink of elimination, but this longer-than-expected ride in this year's playoffs has been good to bettors with a 7-2 record ATS in their nine previous postseason games. The total stayed "under" in their tight 82-81 loss this past Wednesday night in Game 5 as seven-point road underdogs after it had gone "over" in six of their previous seven contests.
Atlanta at Washington Betting Storylines
Atlanta may have won the last two games to finally gain the edge in this series, but it has been anything but easy. The Hawks had to sweat out both of these battles until the final buzzer as each one could have easily gone the other way. This tight of a matchup may have been expected against a Southeast Division rival, but very few NBA experts would agree that Atlanta has played like a No. 1 seed in these playoffs.
Nonetheless, the Hawks are a win away from advancing to the conference finals. To close things out, they will need another strong effort from a veteran core that includes Jeff Teague, Al Horford and Paul Millsap. Teague came up big in Game 4 with a team-high 26 points, and in Wednesday's one-point win Horford nailed the eventual game-winner as part of his game-high 23-point effort. Millsap added a combined 33 points and 12 rebounds in these two big wins.
Nobody will ever know how this series may have turned out if John Wall would have not injured his left wrist in Game 1 to force him to the sidelines for the next three contests, but I would surmise that there may have not even been a need to play a Game 6 if he remained healthy. He did return on Wednesday night to post 15 points and seven assists in 37 minutes of play, and his mere presence on the court continues to give the Wizards hope that they can still win this series.
Wall's stats in the postseason average 17 points, 4.5 rebounds and an impressive 11.7 assists a game. Bradley Beal has been the team's leading scorer with 22.8 points per game, and Marcin Gortat has led the way under the boards with 9.4 rebounds a game. Veteran forward Paul Pierce has made his presence felt with 15.8 PPG. He scored the game-winner in Game 3 and thought he had done the same in Game 5 on a late 3-point shot, but the brief one-point lead did not hold up.
Atlanta at Washington NBA Betting Odds and Key Trends
Top Bet has listed the Wizards as two-point home favorites for Friday night's Game 6, and the betting odds for the total have been set at 198.
The Hawks are 4-9-1 ATS in their last 15 games overall, and they are just 1-5-1 ATS in their last seven games following a SU win. The total has gone over in 10 of their last 14 games on the road.
The Wizards are 5-0-1 ATS in their last six games following a SU loss, and they are 4-1-2 in their last seven home games. The total has gone over in 14 of their last 17 home games.
The home team in this matchup has gone 7-3 SU in the last 10 meetings, with Atlanta holding the 6-3-1 edge ATS. The total has gone over in seven of the last nine games between these division rivals.
Atlanta at Washington Free NBA Picks and Betting Predictions
On paper, the Hawks should win this game with all the momentum in the world on their side, but given just how closely-contested this series has been, it seems destined to go the full seven games. The difference in Game 6 will be the elevated play of Wall, who proved in Game 5 that he can still play to form with the wrist injury. I am going with a 4-Unit play that the Wizards rally to even things up at home while covering the two-point spread.
4-Unit Play-Take Washington (-2) over Atlanta
NBA Regular Season Betting Record: 12-11-2 (-$260)
NBA Playoffs Betting Record: 1-3 (-$910)
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