The Raptors are favored by five over a Washington team that will be without Bradley Beal. Where should we go with our NBA picks for a busy Wednesday night?
At the moment the Raptors are giving away five points to the Wizards. These two teams are very familar with one another and are battling it out for a top seed in the East, so this should be a very competitive game.
A total of 199 on NBA odds means we shouldn't be seeing a defensive struggle by any means, and that total would suggest that the Raptors will be able to impose their pace on this one. They're currently ranked fifth in the NBA in points scored per game, though they're going to have to execute well to keep that going against a strong defensive team in Washington.
Not only have the Raptors won two straight games (both against good competition), but they've also gone a rock solid 8-2 over their last 10 games. It's a run that's kept Toronto firmly near the top of the Eastern Conference, as the team can be found in second behind only the Atlanta Hawks right now. The Raptors head into tonight with a 35-17 overall record, and they've gone 20-9 at home.
The return of DeMar DeRozan has been a nice boost for Toronto, and only makes the rich richer. With Kyle Lowry by his side, the Raptors tend to have a big advantage out on the perimeter, and you'd have to say that's the case here tonight too. Washington has John Wall banged up and Bradley Beal is out.
With the All-Star break right around the corner, Toronto will want to end the first half on a positive note, especially against another top contender in the East. We'll have to see if Lowry and DeRozan will rise to the occasion at home, but we like their chances.
The Wizards have responded to a five-game losing streak by blowing out both Brooklyn and Orlando in consecutive home victories. Washington is 33-20 overall, good for fourth in the Eastern Conference.
In Monday's easy 96-80 win over the Magic, John Wall did a little of everything, compiling nine points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. Marcin Gortat had a big game against his former team, racking up 14 points and 14 rebounds in 31 minutes of action, while Nene Hilario, Rasual Butler and Drew Gooden all hit double figures for the Wizards too. As a team, they shot 42.9 percent from the floor, not the best of numbers, but they held Orlando to 39.8 percent shooting and just 80 points in all.
Unfortunately for Washington, Beal is set to miss out again tonight, with the team likely playing it safe with one of their most prized assets ahead of the break. What's more, Wall re-sprained his ankle and remains hobbled, though there's no reason to expect him to sit out, as he's one of the toughest players of the league. That being said, the task may be too tall against a motivated and in-form Toronto team on the road this evening.
Momentum is on Toronto's side here. The Raptors have been playing the far better basketball and are essentially as healthy as they've been all season. Meanwhile, the Wizards have already ruled Beal out for tonight and Wall is banged up too.
Add in home-court advantage for Toronto and the fact Washington has been in a bad way lately, and you can see why we feel good about the home team's chances of covering this number.
Some may be a little scared off by picking the Raptors to win by at least five, but this sets up as a nice spot for them to take advantage of a weakened Wizards squad. Side with Toronto when placing your NBA picks.
Free NBA Pick: Toronto -5 at 5Dimes