Free NBA Picks: Nuggets To Cover ATS As Dogs To Struggling Wizards

LT Profits Sports Group

Thursday, January 28, 2016 4:29 PM GMT

Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016 4:29 PM GMT

The Washington Wizards have been offensively inept losing four of the last five games and they remain without Bradley Beal, giving value to the Denver Nuggets as decided underdogs.

 

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NBA Pick: Nuggets +7.5
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

 

A third straight playoff appearance could be in jeopardy for the home team, which looks like an overlay Thursday night given its poor play lately as the Denver Nuggets (17-29, 23-21-2 ATS) pay a visit to those struggling Washington Wizards (20-23, 22-21 ATS) at the Verizon Center in Washington, DC at 7:05 ET in a game available on Comcast SportsNet - Mid-Atlantic.

The point spread at Heritage Sports has Denver as a decided road underdog for this contest with the current line at +7 on the NBA odd at -105.

 

One-Half Game from Last Place
The Wizards climbed back to .500 at 19-19 a short while ago but they have since lost four of their last five games to fall to 20-23, leaving them just one-half game ahead of the last-place Orlando Magic in the Southeast Division entering play this evening. This comes after Washington returned to the playoffs the last two seasons following a long post-season drought, and they even won a round in each season.

Thus there was a lot of optimism surrounding the Wizards before this season, as even though the were the third choice to win the Southeast behind the Hawks and Heat, Washington was still given a good chance to dethrone Atlanta at short +220 odds. Unfortunately the Wizards have fallen short of expectations so far and their lack of offense has become obvious during the absence of shooting guard Bradley Beal.

Now, by no means are the Nuggets juggernauts or anything like that as they sit at just 17-29 while sitting fourth in the Northwest Division ahead of only the Minnesota Timberwolves, and like the Wizards the Nuggets have also been the losing NBA picks in four of their last five games. However, at least Denver still has a winning ATS record at 23-21-2 and the Nuggets have improved their play on the road this year, where they are 8-14 straight up and a nice 13-8-1 ATS.

 

Beal Has Been Sorely Missed
When the Wizards are at full strength, they have one of the most dynamic backcourts in the NBA with John Wall averaging 19.6 points, 9.8 assists and 4.1 rebounds as a point guard and with Beal second on the team in scoring with 18.5 points while also contributing 4.2 rebounds as a two-guard. However, Beal was lost to both a broken nose and concussion when he took a forearm to the face vs. the Celtics two games ago and that has left Washington out of sorts.

Beal played just nine minutes in that 116-91 home blowout loss to Boston in which the Wizards committed 20 turnovers and shot 42.7 percent from the field, and they then shot 41.0 percent without Beal entirely in another blowout loss 106-89 to the Raptors in Toronto.

The entire complexion of the offense has now changed with opposing defenses able to fully focus on stopping Wall as the weak Washington frontcourt with no real viable scoring threats has been exposed in Beal’s absence. And when the Wizards do not shoot well, they are not really competitive as they are now 1-16 this season when shooting below 45.0 percent from the field!

 

Denver Offense Can Stay Hot
And while the Washington offense is sputtering, the Denver offense is currently in its best form of the season. Sure the Nuggets remain just 20th in the NBA in scoring at 99.7 points per game, but they are certainly trending in the right direction averaging a whopping 107.7 points over the last six games while eclipsing the 100-point mark in every one of them, helping the Nuggets to a 5-1 ATS mark in this span.

We feel that the improved Denver perimeter shooting as of late should continue here as the Washington perimeter defense has been lax, ranking dead last in the NBA in three-point defense at 38.2 percent overall this season and being considerably worse than that over the last four games surrendering a hideous 45.4 percent success rate from downtown!

It is probably not a coincidence that the Nuggets have started scoring more points since Danilo Gallinari returned earlier this month from an ankle injury as he is averaging 23.3 points in his 13 January games, and the team has received an added boost from Will Barton, who has totaled 44 points the last two games.

 

Trending the Underdogs
Finally, there are good trends for the road underdogs from Denver here as the Nuggets are 5-1 ATS in their last six games overall, 6-0 ATS in their last six games following a straight up loss, 4-1-1 ATS in their last six road games vs. teams with losing home records and 4-1 ATS in their last five after scoring 100 points or more in their previous game. Meanwhile, the Wizards are 1-5 ATS their last six home games and 2-6-1 ATS their last nine vs. the Northwest Division.

With Beal very doubtful to return for the Wizards here, look for their shooting woes to continue and for Denver to stay hot ATS by at the very least staying inside this point spread visiting Washington, DC on Thursday.

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