Tracking the Wizards: NBA Picks and Handicapping for Washington Basketball
by Dave Schwab - 5/12/2015
Specialization on one team when it comes to wagering on the NBA can be a viable betting strategy, and to help prove this point I have been exclusively handicapping the Washington Wizards all season long. I have also been releasing free picks for select games with the use of Doc’s Sports Unit Betting System. My year-to-date results have been mixed, and heading into Wednesday night’s game I find myself in a -$470 hole in my first three postseason picks.
Doc’s will continue to post these free Washington picks on its homepage, so be sure to check the site to follow my results for as long as the Wizards stay alive in the playoffs. I have at least two more shots to turn a profit on my unit plays starting with the right call in Game 5.
Washington Wizards Free Picks, Odds and Predictions
Wednesday, May 13, 8 p.m. EST (Philips Arena)
The Eastern Conference Semifinal matchup between Washington and Atlanta shifts back to Philips Area this Wednesday night for a crucial Game 5 in a best-of-seven series that is tied at two games apiece. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m. (ET), and the game will be broadcast nationally on TNT.
The Wizards had a golden opportunity to take a commanding lead in this series heading into Monday night’s Game 4 at home, but a stinging 106-101 loss as 4.5-point underdogs has turned this matchup into a best-of-three affair. Washington is now 6-2 against the spread in the playoffs, and the total has gone “over” in six of their last seven games.
After needing six games to get past No. 8 Brooklyn in the opening round, Atlanta proceeded to lose both Game 1 at home and Game 3 on the road in this series to go down 2-1. The top-seeded Hawks have been favored in all 10 of their previous playoff games this season, and they are 4-6 ATS. The total has gone over in five of their last seven postseason contests.
Washington at Atlanta Storylines
Washington built a 2-1 series lead behind an incredible effort in Game 3 with John Wall on the bench with a badly sprained left wrist. Paul Pierce was the hero with the game-winning shot in a 103-101 victory, but it was a total team effort all night long that had actually built a 21-point lead with less than 10 minutes to play. This same group left it all out on the floor in this past Monday’s five-point loss, but something is missing without the Wizards best player on the floor.
In five previous playoff games, including a stunning four-game sweep of Toronto in the opening round, Wall had averaged 17.4 points, 4.6 rebounds and 12.6 assists. Give credit to Bradley Beal for filling the void in Game 4 with 34 points, six rebounds and seven assists, but in the end it still was not enough to close the gap and get the win. The Wizards had four starters in double figures with Will Bynum adding 10 points off the bench, but you get the feeling that if Wall cannot go in Game 5, Washington’s chances to win this series are going to quickly disappear.
The Hawks probably played their most complete game of this series on Monday night, and they still had to sweat things out in the final seconds of play. It has been this lack of consistency that let Brooklyn hang around for six games in the opening round and let Washington win two of the first three games even with Wall out of the lineup in Game 3. Maybe Monday’s win will act as the wakeup call for a team that won 60 regular-season games this year.
DeMarre Carroll has led Atlanta in scoring this postseason with an average of 17 points per game, but it was the veteran trio of Jeff Teague, Paul Millsap and Al Horford that contributed the most to tying this series back-up in Game 4. Teague scored a team-high 26 points, and Millsap added 19 points and six assists. Horford pulled down 10 rebounds and scored 18 points in the winning effort. One of the best signs for the Hawks was their 47.1 shooting percentage from the field after hitting just 43.6 percent from the floor over the course of these playoffs.
Washington at Atlanta NBA Betting Odds and Key Trends
The Wizards are 4-0-1 ATS in their last five games following a SU loss, and they have covered ATS in five of their last six games played on the road. The total has gone over in six of their last seven games following a SU loss.
The Hawks have gone just 1-4-1 ATS in their last six games following a SU win, and their record ATS in their last 18 games in the conference semifinals round is 4-13-1. The total has gone over in seven of their last eight games against a team with a SU winning record.
The home team in this division tilt has won five of the last seven meetings SU, and the total has gone over in eight of the last 10 games. Atlanta comes into Wednesday’s game with a 6-2-1 edge ATS in the last nine meetings.
Washington at Atlanta Free NBA Picks and Betting Predictions
As long as Wall remains questionable for Wednesday night I will remain hesitant to pull the trigger on going with the Wizards in Game 5. What I do like is this game’s chances to once again go over the total. Both teams have loosened up their normally-tight defensive play in this series, and I see that happening again on Wednesday night to the tune of a 4-Unit play on the over.
4-Unit Play-Take Washington at Atlanta OVER 199.5
NBA Regular Season Betting Record: 12-11-2 (-$260)
NBA Playoffs Betting Record: 1-2 (-$470)
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