Before placing your bet tonight, understand that the Washington Wizards hold the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference while the LA Lakers are fading fast in the West. What do the NBA odds offer us?
Washington Wizards (-8) vs. LA Lakers 10:35 ET
A look at the NBA standings reveals a picture that one might not expect at this time of the season. Washington holds the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference with a 30-15 SU record. The Lakers are fading fast in the West with a 12-33 SU mark, surpassing only Minnesota for the last place in the conference. These are teams that are clearly headed opposite directions.
Washington has made steady gains in the last 3 seasons. In 2012-2013, the Wizards were 29-53 finishing 9 games out of the Eastern Conference playoff race. Last year, the Wiz improved to 44-38 SU, good for 5th in the East. A major reason for that jump was improved scoring from 93 to 101 PPG. Now, Washington has improved on the defensive end by 3 full points, allowing just 97.6 PPG. The last 2 years have seen the Wizards be a solid road team with a record of 22-19 SU LY and 12-9 SU TY. There is a solid starting 5 with veterans Gortat, Nene and Paul Pierce, anchoring the front court. Emerging back court stars, Wall and Beal, are among the best in the league. The fact the Wizards are playing as well as they are is simply no surprise. They have showed focus against weak links in the league, standing 11-1 SU in their most recent 12 outings vs. sub-.500 teams.
The situation is not nearly as positive for the Lakers. Before the season started, they lost all-star PG Nash for the season. In game 2, their first round draft pick, Julius Randal, broke his leg and is also OFY. In the last week, Kobe Bryant injured his rotator cuff which will require surgery. He is also OFY. Now, their best remaining offensive threat, Nick Young, is at odds with HC Scott. His status is questionable for tonight’s game with an injured ankle. Every facet of the Lakers’ game has declined. It is reflected in a home court record that is just 6-16 SU and a defense that has allowed 106 PPG for the season. Better than only Minnesota. Without Kobe, offensive struggles will likely continue. LA is 0-8 SU, 1-7 ATS of late with an offense that has averaged just 87 PPG in the last 5 games in which they committed 18 TOs per game.
In short, these are two teams that are clearly headed opposite directions. We follow the respective momentum in a series that has seen Washington win the last 4 times these teams have met and cover 7/9 recent meetings. In the 3 meetings between these two in the last 2 years, Washington has averaged 117 PPG, including a 118-95 victory in our Nation’s capital earlier this season. More of the same in these series, as we back another single digit road favorites in NBA odds, whose record for the season is 117-77 ATS over 60%.
NBA Picks: Take Washington -9 at Pinnacle