Tracking the Wizards: NBA Picks and Handicapping for Washington Basketball
by Dave Schwab - 3/19/2015
Specialization with a particular team can be a viable betting strategy, so I have spent the entire NBA regular season concentrating my handicapping efforts on the Washington Wizards. In an effort to prove the value of my efforts, I have also been releasing free weekly picks for the Wizards with the use of Doc's Sports Unit Betting System. It has been a rocky road at times, but my current three-game winning streak has finally taken my record above .500 to 10-9-1 on the year.
Doc's continues to post my weekly free picks for select Washington games on its homepage, so be sure to check the site to follow along with my progress. The Wizards are starting to make a move in the East in a fight for a better playoff position in the standings, and I am making a move towards coming up with a better overall profit with my picks.
Washington Wizards Free Picks, Odds and Predictions
Friday, March 20, 10:30 p.m. EST (Staples Center)
The Wizards continue their four-game road trip out west this Friday night with a visit to the Staples Center to face off against the Los Angeles Clippers. Tipoff for this game is set for 10:30 p.m. (ET), and it will be available on NBA League Pass.
Washington's unexpected winning streak both straight up and against the spread reached five games with Wednesday's 88-84 upset of Utah as a three-point underdog in the first game of this road trip. The total stayed "under" the closing 181-point line in that game after going "over" in the Wizards' previous three outings.
The Clippers improved to 4-2 SU in their last six games with a 116-105 victory against Sacramento this past Wednesday as nine-point favorites on the road. Los Angeles is an even 3-3 ATS during this same stretch, and the total has gone over in three of its last five games. It went over the 214-point closing line in Wednesday's win.
Washington at Los Angeles Betting Storylines
The Wizards are finally building some solid momentum at the right time of the year after enduring an extended slide in which they won just twice in 13 games from late January to late February. They had been a bettor's nightmare prior to this current five-game run with a costly 3-18 record ATS in their previous 21 games. Washington is still just 15-18 SU on the road this season with a 12-20-1 record ATS. One of the biggest reasons for this sudden change in fortunes has been an elevated effort on offense that has averaged 101.6 points per game during this current five-game run as opposed to a season average of 98.6 points a game.
John Wall continues to lead the way with a team-high 17.4 points and 10 assists a game, but a healthy Bradley Beal has really helped the cause. He scored 23 points in this past Monday's victory at home against Portland, and since his return from a leg injury in late February he has averaged 14.1 PPG. The Wizards have been one of the best defensive teams in the league all season long in points allowed (97.1), and they have not given up more than 97 points in their last 11 games.
Los Angeles has battled through a number of injuries to key players to carve out seven SU wins in its last 11 games. The return of Blake Griffin has added a much-needed boost to the lineup after missing 15 games due to an elbow infection, but Jamaal Crawford remains on the shelf until later this month with a bad calf. The one constant through it all has been the stellar play of Chris Paul. He pumped in 30 points in Wednesday's win against the Kings, and on the year he is now averaging 18.6 points and dishing out a team-high 10 assists.
The Clippers remain the second-highest scoring team in the NBA with an average of 106 PPG. They are also ranked second in the league shooting the ball with a 47.0 field-goal percentage that includes a conversion rate of 37.3 percent from 3-point range. Defensively, Los Angeles is allowing an average of 100.5 points, which is ranked 19th in the league.
Washington at Los Angeles NBA Betting Odds and Key Trends
BetOnline has opened the Wizards as 6.5-point road underdogs for Friday night's inter-conference clash, and the total for this matchup has been set at 201.5.
The Wizards are 3-8 ATS in their last 11 games against a team with a SU winning record, and they are 3-11 ATS in their last 14 games on the road. The total has stayed under in seven of their last nine games on the road.
The Clippers have failed to cover in four of their last five home games, and they are 0-5 ATS in their last five games against a team from the Southeast Division. The total has stayed under in their last five games played at home.
Washington at Los Angeles Free NBA Picks and Betting Predictions
I have been impressed with Washington's vastly-improved form in its past five games, but I am not ready to take the bait that it can cover on the road against one of the better teams in the West. What I do like is the Wizards' chances to slow this game down on the scoreboard. To take advantage of a somewhat inflated total line, I am going with a 3-Unit play on the under in this matchup.
NBA Regular Season Betting Record: 10-9-1 (-$100)
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