Tracking the Wizards: NBA Picks and Handicapping for Washington Basketball
by Dave Schwab - 2/10/2015
In an effort to demonstrate that specialization on a particular team when it comes to betting on the NBA can be a viable betting strategy, I have spent this season exclusively handicapping the Washington Wizards. I have also been releasing free weekly picks for the Wizards with the use of Doc's Sports Unit Betting System, and while the results have been mixed at best with an overall record of 6-8-1, I am gearing up for a profitable run in the second half of the season.
Doc's will continue to post these weekly free picks on their homepage, so be sure to check the site to follow along with my progress. The Wizards remain in the mix as one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference, but they have proven to be a challenge at the betting window with a 22-30-1 record against the spread. Despite this record, I remain confident that I can still make money on this team by digging even deeper into the betting stats and trends.
Washington Wizards Free Picks, Odds and Predictions
Wednesday, Feb. 11, 7:30 p.m. EST (Air Canada Centre)
In a battle between the two of the top teams this season in the Eastern Conference, Washington will go on the road this Wednesday night to square off against the Toronto Raptors. Game time from the Air Canada Centre is set for 7:30 p.m. (ET), and the game will be available on NBA League Pass.
The Wizards have been able to string together two victories both straight up and against the spread against Brooklyn and Orlando following a five-game skid in which they failed to cover each time. Washington is actually just 2-9 ATS in its last 11 games. The total has now stayed "under" in six of its last eight games.
Toronto continues to hold down the second spot in the east standings behind surging Atlanta with an 8-2 SU record in its last 10 games. It is coming off an 87-82 victory against San Antonio this past Sunday as a 1.5-point underdog at home. The Raptors have gone an even 5-5 ATS during this 10-game stretch, and the total has stayed under in three of their last four games.
Washington at Atlanta Betting Storylines
The Wizards are currently in third place in the East at 33-20 SU with both Chicago and Cleveland breathing down their neck. They have lacked any real consistency since the first of the year with an even 11-11 record in those 22 games. Washington has been a tough team to bet on as well with an 8-13-1 record ATS during this same stretch. It continues to be one of the better defensive teams in the league, especially in points allowed (97.4), but it has had its issues keeping pace with some of the better teams it faces with a scoring average of 99.8 points per game.
Making matters a bit more difficult in the past few outings has been the loss of guard Bradley Beal, who will probably miss his third straight game this Wednesday with a sore toe. He is the team's second leading scorer with 15 PPG behind John Wall's 17.3 points. The veteran Paul Pierce continues to be a valuable asset with 12.4 points, and Marcin Gortat remains Washington's leading rebounder with 6.1 a game. While the Wizards have shown solid balance and depth all season long, they are stuck in a rut right now as a .500 team.
The Raptors only two SU setbacks over the course of their last 10 games were as home favorites against Milwaukee and Brooklyn. These losses followed a solid 120-116 road win against Washington on Jan. 31 as five-point underdogs. Toronto has taken the opposite road of the Wizards this season with an offense that is ranked fourth in the NBA in scoring with 105.8 PPG and a defense that is ranked in the bottom third of the league in points allowed (100.9). This potent scoring attack has been tempered a bit lately with Toronto failing to post more than 93 points in three of its last four games.
Kyle Lowry continues to lead the Raptors in scoring with 18.8 PPG and, when healthy, DeMar DeRozan has posted an average of 18.2 PPG in 31 starts this year. James Johnson has also had some injury concerns as of late with his hamstring, but he looked sharp against the Spurs the other night with a game-high 20 points to help pace the win. Toronto is another team with some solid depth, especially when it comes to scoring with eight different players averaging at least nine points a game.
Washington at Toronto NBA Betting Odds and Key Trends
The Wizards have failed to cover in their last six road games, and they are just 2-10 ATS in their last 12 games played on a Wednesday. The total has stayed under in four of their last five games against a team from the Atlantic Division.
The Raptors are 4-11 ATS in their last 15 Eastern Conference games, and they are 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games at home. The total has stayed under in nine of their last 10 home games against a team with a SU winning record on the road.
The road team in this series has covered in four of the last five meetings, and the total has stayed under in five of the last six games played in Toronto. The Raptors have a 2-0 edge both SU and ATS in this season's series with the total split 1-1.
Washington at Toronto Free NBA Picks and Betting Predictions
The matchup pits Washington's stout defense against a Raptors' offense that has cooled a bit in its last few games. These two lit things up the last time they met with a combined 236 total points, but I see a much lower-scoring affair this time around. That is why I am going with a 3-Unit play on the "under" 200.5 based on what I believe to be a slightly inflated total line.
3-Unit Play-Take Washington at Toronto UNDER 200.5.
NBA Regular Season Betting Record: 6-8-1 (-$1070)
Read more articles by Dave Schwab
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