Tracking the Wizards: NBA Picks and Handicapping for Washington Basketball
by Dave Schwab - 2/3/2015
Specialization when it comes to betting on the NBA can be a viable betting strategy, and to try and prove this point I have spent the first half of the NBA 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 the results so far have been mixed at best with an overall record of 6-7-1 on the year.
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 have proven to be a bigger challenge than expected this season with a straight up record of 31-18 while going just 20-28-1 against the spread. However, I remain confident that I can still make money on this team as it continues its second half drive towards the NBA Playoffs.
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Washington Wizards Free Picks, Odds and Predictions
Wednesday, Feb. 4, 7:30 p.m. EST (Philips Arena)
Washington will try and make up some ground in the Southeast title race this Wednesday night against the first-place Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena. Game time for this division matchup is set for 7:30 p.m. (ET), and the game will be available on NBA League Pass.
The Wizards have done nothing but lose ground over the past two weeks with a straight up record of 2-5 in their last seven games. They have been a train wreck against the spread after failing to cover in all seven outings. The total stayed "under" 187 in Monday's 92-88 loss to Charlotte as 7.5-point home favorites, and it has now stayed under in three of their last four games.
Atlanta's amazing 19-game SU winning streak finally came to an end this past Monday in a 115-100 loss to New Orleans as a three-point road favorites. While the Hawks did cover in 13 straight games at one point during this run, they are now just 1-4 ATS in their last five contests. The total went "over" the 196-point line against the Pelicans, and it has gone over in four of their last five games.
Washington at Atlanta Betting Storylines
It is hard to pinpoint exactly what has gone wrong for the Wizards during their current slide other than the fact that they are starting to forget how to win games. Prior to the loss to the Hornets, they fell to Toronto in overtime by four points as five-point favorites at home. During a recent road trip out west, they failed to cover in three of four games as favorites.
It would be hard to fault the play of John Wall as the reason for the team's poor results as he remains one of the top players in the league this year. He leads the Wizards in both points (17.4) and assists (10.2), and he is coming off back-to-back double-doubles with 28 points and 12 assists in the loss to the Raptors and 16 points with 10 assists in Monday's loss. The Wizards are averaging 99.9 points per game while allowing 98 points on the other end of the court.
Playing as a team has defined Atlanta's success all season long, and it is the main reason that at 40-9 SU it has a healthy seven-game lead atop the Eastern Conference standings. The Hawks boast five different players averaging at least 11 PPG, and they are ranked fourth in the NBA in shooting with a 47.2 field goal percentage. Atlanta is averaging 103.3 PPG, and defensively it is ranked third in the league in points allowed (96.5). The 115 points it gave up against the Pelicans were the most by far since a 126-115 loss to Toronto back on Nov. 26.
Paul Millsap continues to lead the way with a team-high 17.2 points and eight rebounds a game, but he has had plenty of help from the likes of Jeff Teague (16.8 points and 7.5 assists) and Al Horford (15.3 points and 7.0 rebounds). The Hawks also have Kyle Korver and DeMarre Carroll combining for 24.7 points and 9.5 rebounds. Teague had the hot hand in Monday's loss with 21 points while shooting 8-for-17 from the field.
Washington at Atlanta NBA Betting Odds and Key Trends
The Wizards are 1-4 ATS in their last five games against a team with a SU winning record at home, and they have failed to cover in their last four division games. The total has gone over in seven of their last 10 games in the Southeast.
The Hawks are 9-3 ATS in their last 12 division games, and they are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games played at home. The total has stayed under in their last four games following a SU loss.
Head-to-head in this division clash, the road team has covered ATS in four of the last five meetings, and the total has gone over in the last five games played in Atlanta. The Hawks have a 2-0 edge both SU and ATS in this season's series.
Washington at Atlanta Free NBA Picks and Betting Predictions
Despite some strong trends for the over in the past several meetings at Philips Arena, I am going with a 4-Unit play of the "under" in this contest. I look for the Hawks to get back to playing tight defense on Wednesday night, and while I do not have the confidence that Atlanta can cover the six points, I do believe it will force this game into becoming a low-scoring affair that does not get close to the 198.5-point total.
NBA Regular Season Betting Record: 6-7-1 (-$630)
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