Tracking the Wizards: NBA Picks and Handicapping for Washington Basketball
by Dave Schwab - 1/8/2015
I have been exclusively handicapping the Washington Wizards since the start of the NBA season and releasing free weekly picks with the use of Doc's Sports' Unit Betting System. The primary objective behind my efforts is to help validate the betting strategy of specialization when betting on the game. So far I have headed in the wrong direction with a 3-6-1 record in my first 10 free picks, but I feel a winning streak coming on as we head into the real meat of the NBA regular season.
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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. The Wizards remain in the heat of the battle for the lead in the Eastern Conference, and I am looking to heat up my results at the betting window.
Washington Wizards Free Picks, Odds and Predictions
Friday, Jan. 9, 8 p.m. EST (Verizon Center)
Washington returns to prime-time with a Friday night showdown against the Chicago Bulls in a matchup between two of the top teams in the East. Game time at the Verizon Center is set for 8 p.m. (ET), and it will be broadcast nationally on ESPN.
The Bulls come into this matchup as one of the hottest teams in the league with a straight up 10-2 record in their last 12 games, but they are coming off a 97-77 blowout loss against Utah this past Wednesday night as 10.5-point home favorites. Chicago has not been a hot team to bet on with a 1-6 record against the spread in its last seven outings.
Washington returned home from a rough 2-3 SU (2-2-1 ATS) road trip out west with a 101-91 victory at home against New York this past Wednesday, but it could not cover the closing 14.5-point spread. It is now an even 5-5 SU (4-5-1 ATS) in its last 10 games, and the total has stayed "under" in six of those 10 games. The Wizards are 15-4 SU at home this season, but just 8-11 ATS.
Chicago at Washington Betting Storylines
Chicago is finally starting to live up to the preseason hype as one of the top favorites to win the East this season. Wednesday's stunning loss was definitely a step backwards in this team's progress, but its overall body of work since mid-December has been impressive to say the least. The Bulls shot just 33.3 percent in that loss to Utah, but on the year they are hitting 44.6 percent of their shots from the field. Chicago is averaging 102.4 points a game while holding opponents to 98.8 points on the other end of the court.
The Bulls' continued success could very well hinge on the health of Derrick Rose, who has battled injury issues all season long. When he does play he is averaging 16.8 points per game and leading the team with 4.9 assists a game. Jimmy Butler is Chicago's leading scorer with 21.7 PPG and he is shooting 47.8 percent from the floor. Mike Dunleavy has started 33 games this season, but he has missed his last three starts with an ankle injury and he remains questionable for Friday night.
Washington will be looking to win its third straight game after dropping three in a row as part of its ongoing roller-coaster ride since late December. The Wizards hosted Chicago on Dec. 23 and came up short in a 99-91 loss as 2.5-point favorites. John Wall and Bradley Beal combined for 33 points, but Washington lost the battle of the boards by getting outrebounded 52-41. It also had its issues at the free throw line going just 10-for-16. In Wednesday's win against the Knicks, Nene Hilario led all scorers with 20 points and Wall added 18 in the winning effort. Paul Pierce sat this game out to get some rest for Friday's showdown against the Bulls.
The Wizards continue to rely heavily on a defensive effort that is holding teams to 97.3 points a game, which is the fourth-lowest total in the league. They are scoring an average of 99.8 PPG while shooting a solid 47.4 percent from the floor and 39.3 percent from 3-point range. Marcin Gortat leads the team in rebounds (8.0) as part of a team total of 42.8 boards a game.
Chicago at Washington NBA Betting Odds and Key Trends
The Bulls are 6-2 ATS in their last eight road games, and they are 4-1 ATS in their last five games against a team with a SU winning record. The total has stayed under in four of their last five games on the road.
The Wizards are 2-6 ATS in their last eight conference games but 4-1 ATS in their last five games playing on one day's rest. The total has stayed under in five of their last seven home games.
Head-to-head in this conference clash, the road team is 16-5 ATS in the last 21 meetings, and the total has stayed under is 23 of the last 32 games. Washington has covered in 10 of the last 14 meetings.
Chicago at Washington Free NBA Picks and Betting Predictions
I have had my issues with total line picks this season for the Wizards, but this matchup sets up perfectly for a play on the under. Both of these teams pride themselves on playing sound, fundamental defense, and the recent betting trends certainly favor this pick in what should remain a fairly low-scoring game.
NBA Regular Season Betting Record: 3-6-1 (-$1200)
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