Free NBA Picks: Clippers at Wizards Odds
by Alan Matthews - 12/13/2013
This rings true in Major League Baseball, the NHL and NBA: It's always wise to bet against a team in its final game of a lengthy road trip. Why? Obviously it's harder to play in front of hostile crowds as it is. Add in the fact the guys are tired -- most road trips are very compacted -- and emotionally spent by the end of the trip. Plus, they can see the light at the end of the tunnel and will be back home soon. It's just human nature to sleepwalk in that finale of a trip.
That theory brings me to the Los Angeles Clippers. They are in Washington on Saturday night to conclude a seven-game road trip that matches their season high (note to self: also bet against L.A. in Milwaukee on Jan. 27 at the end of another seven-game trip). I really think the Clips are going to be extra spent here because this week was the Doc Rivers reunion tour. Rivers faced his former Celtics team on Wednesday in Boston, with L.A. winning, 96-88. The next night, the Clips faced Rivers' former Celtics stars Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett in Brooklyn and lost 102-93 to the suddenly-rejuvenated Nets team. You might say that the players would be fine; it wasn't them playing against former teammates, but you know they gave maximum effort because the games meant a lot to their coach.
The good news for L.A. is that it gets the Wizards on the second of a back-to-back as they played in Atlanta on Friday. However, that was only Washington's second game this week, having lost at home against Denver on Monday, so the players should still have plenty of energy. Every time you think the Wiz are about to put things together and stay above .500, they sink back below. They still should be a playoff team in the horrid Eastern Conference.
Clippers at Wizards Betting Story Lines
The Clippers are 3-3 on this trip, but those three wins are against teams that aren't all that great: Memphis (not the same team without Marc Gasol), Philadelphia and Boston. You can understand a loss in Atlanta, which opened the trip, and in Brooklyn, now that the Nets are pretty healthy, but not in Cleveland. The loss in Brooklyn was the first this season in which the Clippers went down with Chris Paul reaching 20 points. He had just two assists. It was the fourth consecutive game in which the Clippers scored under 100 points, and the fifth time during their six-game trip. The Clips aren't good enough defensively to win a lot of games in which they don't hit triple-digits.
I loved L.A.'s acquisitions of J.J. Redick and Jared Dudley this offseason. Redick was great to start the year but is out another six weeks or so with a broken hand. Dudley has been rather disappointing. He hasn't made more than one three-pointer in his last nine games and is shooting just .318 from long range overall. That's why the Clips got him, to hit from three. L.A. did make a signing this week in Stephen Jackson. He was especially needed with Redick out and bench pest Matt Barnes also out probably another few weeks. Jackson used to be good but has been called a bit of a cancer at times. He was on the ultra-professional Spurs last season but was released when he wouldn't accept a diminished role. What a clown. Jackson is 35, so no one else picked him up and he blew a chance at a ring.
The Wizards have their own injury problems. Shooting guard Bradley Beal was off to an all-star start but hasn't played since Nov. 23 with a stress fracture in his leg. He took part in some practice this week, but isn't likely to return until next week. Beal is taking his time because he was freaked out by what happened to Louisville's Kevin Ware in last year's NCAA Tournament -- he had a similar injury to Beal before his leg gruesomely snapped. Swingman Martell Webster sat out Monday's loss to Denver but was set to play Friday. Nene was questionable Friday with a foot injury after also sitting Monday. Forward Al Harrington hasn't played since mid-November and had surgery this week and will be out another month. With all those guys out, you can see why Washington was held to 74 points by Denver. The Wizards get a league-low 18.6 points per game from the reserves this season.
You may not have noticed but No. 3 overall pick Otto Porter has finally started playing. The former Georgetown star hasn't been much of a factor in two games for Washington and is looking for his first NBA points heading into Atlanta. The 2013 draft really looks like a major bust overall outside of Michael Carter-Williams and maybe Victor Oladipo.
Clippers at Wizards NBA Betting Odds and Key Trends
At BetOnline, L.A. is a five-point favorite with a total of 198. The Clippers are 13-11 ATS (8-6 on road) and 11-13 “over/under” (3-11 on road). All Wizards trends entering Friday: They are 11-9 ATS (6-4 at home) and 10-10 O/U (6-4 at home). The Clippers are 1-4 ATS in their past five Saturday games. Washington is 11-2 ATS in its past 13 Saturday games. The Wiz are an excellent 20-7 ATS in their past 27 in the second of a back-to-back. The under is 5-0 in L.A.'s past five games. The under is 4-1 in Washington's past five against the Western Conference. The road team has covered five of the past eight meetings.
Free NBA Picks: Clippers at Wizards Betting Predictions
It will definitely be fun to watch John Wall and Paul go at it as they are probably the two fastest guards in the NBA. The Clips and Wiz split last season, each winning at home. L.A. clearly has the superior talent, but I can't go back on my diatribe from above can I? So take the Wiz and the over.
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