Wizards continue to build bankrolls for backers

Underdogs barked loudly in the NBA last week, and especially at +2.5 (or higher) where they cashed 33 of 45 games. For the season, however, the split between underdogs and favorites has been right down the middle, with dogs showing a scant 357-350-10 ATS edge. 

Let’s look at the upcoming week to try to find some profitable situations.

Spread Watch

The Washington Wizards are 9-0 ATS their last nine, and 21-6 ATS in their last 27 games – they’ve also won their last four by double-digits. Their latest victim was the New Orleans Pelicans, who came into the game off a 119-103 rout of the San Antonio Spurs. 

This week, the Wizards will be back home at the Verizon Center for three games, against the Knicks, Lakers and Pelicans, before finishing up their four-game home stand with a tilt against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers next Monday. 

One reason for Washington’s resurgence after a 7-13 SU/ATS start is the play of Markieff Morris. Morris had 21 points and eight rebounds vs. the Pelicans, and has four double-doubles in Washington’s last 15 games (compared to just one in their first 32 games). 

Washington has also topped 100 points in their last 14 games, and will be worth a look Tuesday versus the New York Knicks. The Wizards are 9-3 ATS in their last 12 versus the Knicks. Additionally, since 1990, NBA teams are 162-113 ATS coming off three SU/ATS double-digit wins in which they scored 105+ points, if they’re not favored by more than 11 points. And if they’re at home vs. an opponent off a SU loss, our 162-113 stat zooms to 30-14 ATS.

Totals Watch

For all of LeBron James’ belly-aching about his team not having a third playmaker (after himself and Kyrie Irving), the real problem for the Cavs has been their defense. Until Sunday’s 107-91 win versus Oklahoma City, Cleveland had allowed 12 straight opponents to reach 100 points. Not surprisingly, the Cavs had played five straight ‘overs’ (and eight of 12 ‘over’) in those games. 

In contrast, when the Cavaliers played their best basketball of the season (Dec 5 through Dec 25), they went 10-1 primarily because they defended extremely well and allowed just six opponents in that stretch to reach 100 points. 

This week, Cleveland will have games against three bottom-feeders (Dallas, Minnesota and New York). If the Cavaliers decide to bring the effort and energy they showed Sunday versus the Thunder, all three games could sail ‘under’ the total. The game at New York on Saturday has all the earmarks of a low-scoring affair as these two teams have gone ‘under’ in eight of the last nine meetings.

Injury Watch
 
The injury bug has bit the Los Angeles Lakers once again. Starting point guard D’Angelo Russell has missed the last three games (all losses) with a sprained MCL in his right knee and a strained right calf muscle, and should be out at least another week. Meanwhile, Julius Randle is also now on the shelf with pneumonia. The Lakers are 1-5 this season without Randle in the lineup, so his absence in worth keeping an eye on. 

This week, the Lakers will host the Denver Nuggets, who are suffering their own spate of injuries (Emmanuel Mudiay and Nikola Jokic), before hitting the road to play the red-hot Celtics and Wizards. The Lakers will actually be worth taking a look at versus the Nuggets, and especially if Jokic doesn’t play (Mudiay has already been ruled out). This month, Jokic has taken a great leap forward, as he’s averaging All-Star caliber numbers (23.9 points, 11.1 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 1.4 blocks and 1.1 steals). The Lakers lost the first meeting versus the Nuggets two weeks ago, 127-121, but NBA revenge-minded teams off 3+ losses are 38-18 ATS this season.

Schedule Watch

With their win at Portland on Sunday, the Golden State Warriors moved their record to 41-7 this season (23-24-1 ATS) and they’re now 181-31 (115-92-5 ATS) in the regular season since Steve Kerr was hired as coach. Golden State is currently on a 7-2 ATS run, and by far its best pointspread role is at home versus foes off a straight-up win. The Warriors are an eye-popping 47-1 straight-up and 37-10-1 ATS in this situation the past three seasons. Even in the Playoffs, there’s not much of a drop-off, as Kerr’s men are 10-2 SU and 8-4 ATS at home versus foes off a win. 

This week, the Warriors will host the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday – one day after the Hornets play the Trail Blazers in Portland. If Charlotte bests the Blazers on Tuesday, look for the Warriors to take care of business at home the next night.


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