Washington Wizards vs. Atlanta Hawks
NBA Betting Pick: Atlanta -2.5 (April 22nd 2017)
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The Atlanta Hawks haven’t found a way to stop Washington PG John Wall, who has scored 32 points in each of the first two games of this series, while also averaging 11.5 assists. Wall’s backcourt partner Beal has averaged 26.5 PPG in Washington’s two wins. The Wizards own a strong starting-five, all of whom averaged double digits during the regular season. Only Otto Porter (13.4 and 6.4) has not done that so far in this series, averaging a modest 7.0 PPG, while adding 7.0 RPG. Fellow forward Morris chips in 12.0 & 5.0 and center Gotat has sure stood up to Dwight Howard, averaging 14.0 PPG and 10.0 RPG.
Atlanta’s All Star forward Paul Millsap compared the series to an “MMA” match after a physical Game 1 but was more prepared for the physicality while delivering 27 points and 10 rebounds in the losing effort in Game 2. The hawks had chances in both games, so they are hardly giving up. “We had a chance in both games,” head coach Mike Budenholzer told reporters. “We gave ourselves a chance on the road in the playoffs. Nobody likes the result. Nobody feels any better but the fact that you are there and you have an opportunity, you have to keep building on it. … Now we have to go home and do the same.”
The Hawks will need to find a way to Wall, whose slashes into the paint have allowed him to take 21 FTs in the first two games (he’s made 18). Also, it will be interesting to see how Budenholzer uses Dwight Howard (6.5 PPG and 10.5 RPG in the series). He chose to leave him on the bench for the entire fourth quarter in Game 2, going instead with Mike Muscala, who he believed had a better chance of stretching the floor. That said, Budenholzer might want to take note that Marcin Gortat matched a season high with five blocks in Game 2 and has posted a double-double in each of the first two games.
The Hawks had a mediocre home record this season (23-18 SU and 17-24 ATS) but the Wizards have been vulnerable defensively all season away from home, allowing 109.3 PPG. Atlanta PG Dennis Schroder has been overshadowed by Wall in this series so far but note that he’s averaged 24 points and 7.5 assists in the first two games. Also, I have an inkling Dwight Howard just may assert himself in this one. I’ll back the Hawks.
Charlotte Hornets vs. Washington Wizards
NBA Pick: Washington -3.5 points (April 4th 2017)
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The 46-31 Washington Wizards were one of the hottest teams in the NBA from Christmas through the middle of March but these last two-plus weeks, have lost their mojo. A current three-game slide leaves them one game back of the Raptors for the No. 3 seed in the East and Washington can ill-afford a home loss tonight against the visiting 36-41 Charlotte Hornets. The Hornets come in on a three-game winning streak, leaving Charlotte in 10th place in the East but only one game behind eighth-place Miami and two in back of seventh-place Chicago.
These two Southeast Division foes meet for the fourth and final time during the regular season in Washington, as the Wizards return home following a five-game road trip. They opened the trip with wins over Cleveland and the LA Lakers but ended by dropping three in a row, all against Western Conference contenders.Washington’s 5-7 record since March 13 and Toronto’s recent surge, has dropped them to fourth in the East (just one game back of the Raptors) but out of any realistic hopes at the No. 1 or No. 2 seed.
The Hornets have averaged 115.0 points in in their three-game winning streak and have scored at least 105 points in each of their last eight contests. All Star PG Kemba Walker is leading the way while averaging 27.2 points and 5.4 assists in the last five contests, just as he has all season (23.1-5.5 APG). The Hornets survived Russell Westbrook’s 40th triple-double on the season in winning 113-101 at OKC on Sunday, as Kemba Walker scored 29 points and Charlotte received 44 points from its reserves.
The Wizards have to play three of their final five on the road, so a win here is a must for Washington’s chances at passing Toronto into third in the East. Washington is 29-10 SU at home, while Charlotte is only 14-24 SU on the road. With these teams trending in opposite directions (Washington down and Charlotte up), we get a very favorable pointspread for the home team. That’s the bet.
Atlanta Hawks vs. Washington Wizards
NBA Betting Pick: Wizards -7 (March 22nd 2017)
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I know Washington has failed to cover their last 5 games, but I like them to cash in tonight at home against the Hawks. The Wizards are now 2.5 games back games back of the Celtics for the No. 2 seed in the east and just 1/2-game ahead of the Raptors. They can’t afford to lose at home and I look for them to come out with a chip on their shoulder here after losing to the Celtics last time out.
The other big key here is the Hawks are slumping right now and it’s because of injuries. Atlanta is minus it’s best player in Paul Millsap and also without top reserve Kent Bazemore. Last time these two played the Wizards won 112-86 in Atlanta and Washington is a much better team at home (27-10). Wizards are 25-14 ATS in their last 39 home games after a game where they failed to cover the spread and 15-5 ATS in their last 20 home games with a total of 210 to 219.5. Hawks are just 3-11 ATS against division opponents. Take Washington!
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