Tracking the Wizards: NBA Picks and Handicapping for Washington Basketball
by Dave Schwab - 1/1/2015
Through the first few months of the NBA season I have been exclusively handicapping the Washington Wizards and releasing free weekly picks with the use of Doc’s Sports’ Unit Betting System. The primary objective behind this endeavor is to demonstrate the value of specialization as a viable betting strategy. So far I have been a bit off the mark with a 3-5-1 record with my free picks, but in my defense the Wizards have been a challenge with the third-best straight up record in the Eastern Conference at 22-9, but a costly 14-17 record against the spread. The trick is to know when to go with this team and when to go against them.
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 New Year, 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
Friday, Jan. 2, 8 p.m. EST (Chesapeake Energy Arena)
Washington will kick off the New Year with a trip to Oklahoma City this Friday night to tangle with the revitalized Thunder. Game time for this inter-conference clash at Chesapeake Energy Arena is set for 8 p.m. (ET), and the game will be available on NBA League Pass.
The Wizards ended 2014 with a 114-87 loss to Dallas this past Tuesday as five-point road underdogs in the second stop of an extended five-game road trip through the Western Conference. They are now an even 3-3 both SU and ATS in their last six games in what has been their roughest patch this season. The total stayed “under” the 209.5-point closing line against the Mavericks and it has now stayed under in four of its last six contests.
Oklahoma City has been trying to work its way back into the mix in the Northwest Division title race after a very slow start, and it took a step in the right direction on New Year’s Eve with a thrilling 137-134 overtime win against Phoenix as an eight-point favorite at home. The Thunder are now 16-17 SU on the year with an even 16-16-1 record ATS. The total has stayed under in 19 of the 33 games.
Washington at Oklahoma City Betting Storylines
Some of the Wizards’ issues over the past six games can be traced to an offense that has had some problems consistently putting points on the board. Washington is averaging 100.2 points a game this season, which is already ranked 18th in the league, but it has failed to score more than 92 points in three of its last six outings. The 87 points the other night against Dallas was the Wizards lowest point total since a late-November 83-80 victory against New Orleans.
The backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal have accounted for the bulk of the scoring for this team with a combined 32.9 points a game and veteran forward Paul Pierce is third on the list with an average of 13 points. Rasual Butler has done a good job off the bench with 10.3 points and Marcin Gortat is the fifth Wizard scoring in double figures (12.5 points) while leading the team in rebounds with 8.2 a game. Washington is shooting 47.1 percent from the floor and 39.1 percent from three-point range and it is ranked 14th in the league in rebounds with 43.3 a game.
The Thunders slow start this season came in the absence of its two superstars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. While Durant continues to suffer through some lingering injury problems, he showed little signs of a sore ankle slowing him down the other night with a game-high 44 points against the Suns. Since his return, Durant is averaging 24.6 points a game, but Westbrook leads the team in scoring with 27.6 points. Reggie Jackson is chipping-in another 15.7 points and Serge Ibaka is scoring 14.8 points a game while pulling down a team-high 7.3 rebounds. Anthony Morrow rounds-outs Oklahoma City’s fivesome of double-digit scorers with 10.3 points a game.
Overall, the Thunder are ranked 20th in the NBA in scoring with 99.2 points a game, but they have eclipsed that mark in 11 of their last 13 games now that they are back to full strength. They have done an excellent job under the boards with the second-most rebounds in the league (46.4) and Oklahoma City is now ranked fourth in points allowed; giving-up an average of just 97.2 points a game.
Washington at Oklahoma City NBA Betting Odds and Key Trends
The Wizards are 2-5 ATS in their last seven road games, but 15-7 ATS in their last 22 games against a team from the Northwest Division. The total has stayed under in five of those last seven games on the road.
The Thunder are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games at home, but just 1-4 ATS in their last five games playing on one day’s rest. The total has stayed under in seven of their last eight games against the Eastern Conference.
Looking back at the head-to-head betting trends in this matchup, Washington has a slight 3-2 SU edge in the last five meetings and it is 4-1 ATS. The total has gone over in three of those five games.
Washington at Oklahoma City Free NBA Picks and Betting Predictions
Both of these teams have a pair of marquee players that can light-up a scoreboard on any given night, but each of them is also built around a stout defense that prides itself on keeping its opponents from doing the same. While it will be tough for the Wizards to walk away with a SU win in this matchup, they should be able to play the Thunder tough enough to keep the total scoring “under” the current betting line.
NBA Regular Season Betting Record: 3-5-1 (-$870)
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