Tracking the Wizards: NBA Picks and Handicapping for Washington Basketball
by Dave Schwab - 1/26/2015
I have spent the first half of the NBA season exclusively handicapping the Washington Wizards. While the record for my free weekly picks for their games with the use of Doc's Sports Unit Betting System sits at 5-7-1 on the year, I am still committed to the theory that specialization when it comes to wagering on the NBA is a viable betting strategy.
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 one of the top teams in Eastern Conference, and it's my job to prove that I can make money on them at the betting window during the upcoming run to the NBA Playoffs.
Washington Wizards Free Picks, Odds and Predictions
Tuesday, Jan. 27, 10:30 p.m. EST (Staples Center)
Washington continues its current four-game Western Conference road trip with a stop at the Staples Center this Tuesday night to tangle with the Los Angeles Lakers. Tipoff for this inter-conference clash is set for 10:30 p.m. (ET), and the game will be available on NBA League Pass.
The Wizards' trip out west started off with a 103-96 loss to Portland as 3.5-point road favorites this past Saturday. They closed once again as 3.5-point favorites against Denver on Sunday and squeezed-out a 117-115 overtime win. They have now failed to cover in their last three contests, and the total has gone "over" in all three outings.
The Lakers have now lost their last eight games straight up, including the last three without Kobe Bryant, who is expected to miss the remainder of the season due to a torn rotator cuff. They have gone a costly 0-7-1 against the spread during this current slide, and the total has stayed "under" in six of the eight games. Los Angeles is just 9-12-1 ATS at home this season.
Washington at Los Angeles Betting Storylines
Washington is currently in second place in the Eastern Conference standings at 30-15 SU, but it continues to be a tough team to consistently bet on with a 20-24-1 record ATS. The Wizards know how to beat the teams they are supposed to, but they have had trouble putting these teams away with a 14-17 record ATS as favorites. They are ranked 18th in the league in scoring with an average of 99.9 points per game, but they make up for it on the other end of the court by holding opponents to 97.6 points, which is ranked ninth.
John Wall continues to set the pace on offense with an average of 17.2 points and 10.2 assists a game. He scored 19 points while dishing out 16 assists in Sunday night's win in Denver. Bradley Beal rounds out a very effective backcourt with 14.8 PPG while shooting 44.1 percent from 3-point range. Washington is one of the top three shooting teams in the NBA with a 47.5 field goal percentage, and it's 12th in rebounds with 43.6 a game.
Things have obviously gone from bad to worse with the loss of Bryant, and it's hard to see the Lakers winning too many more games SU this season given the remaining talent that in on this roster. During their current slide, they have failed to score more than 87 points in five of the eight losses, and the scoring average has dropped to just 85 points with Kobe out of the lineup. Los Angeles's scoring average on the season is 99.3 PPG, and it is shooting 43.5 percent from the field.
Things have gotten so bad that head coach Byron Scott felt the need to bench Nick Young for the second half of this past Sunday's 99-87 loss to Houston in a game Los Angeles failed to cover as an 8.5-point home underdog. Young is the team's second-leading scorer with 14.1 PPG, but he is hitting a very inconsistent 37.3 percent of his shots from the floor. Jordan Hill (12.3), Carlos Boozer (12.3) and Jeremy Lin (10.6) are the other three Lakers scoring in double-figures.
Washington at Los Angeles NBA Betting Odds and Key Trends
BetOnline has opened Washington as an eight-point road favorite for Tuesday's tilt against the Lakers, and the total for the game has been set at 199.5.
The Wizards are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games against a team from the Pacific Division, and they are 5-2-1 ATS in their last eight games following an ATS loss. The total has stayed under is 21 of their last 30 games playing on one day's rest.
The Lakers are 1-6-1 ATS in their last eight games against the East and 0-6-1 ATS in their last seven games following a SU loss. The total has stayed under in five of their last six home games.
Head-to-head, Washington has won five of the last six meetings SU with a 4-1-1 record ATS. This includes a 111-95 victory on Dec. 3 as a 7.5-point home favorite. The total stayed under the closing 208-point line in that game after going over in four of the previous five meetings.
Washington at Los Angeles Free NBA Picks and Betting Predictions
If there was ever a great time to go against a team it would have to be the Lakers, but my confidence level in Washington covering this many points on the road is not all that high. What I do like in this matchup is the "under" on the total line. The Wizards' defense should be able to completely shut Los Angeles down in this one.
NBA Regular Season Betting Record: 5-7-1 (-$930)
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