Free NBA Picks for Tonight's Celtics vs. Wizards

Matthew Jordan

Wednesday, January 22, 2014 4:13 PM GMT

Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014 4:13 PM GMT

The Washington Wizards come in to tonight's matchup as nine point favorites over the Boston Celtics, but are the odds makers giving them a bit more credit than they deserve? Find out how we feel about the lines set for this matchup.

It has to be one of the  most amazing statistics in the NBA in the past few years. The Washington Wizards have not been over .500 since starting the 2009 season 2-1. That's almost impossible to believe but true. A victory Wednesday at home against struggling Boston thus would be a semi-landmark one for the 20-20 Wizards. They opened as 7-point favorites with a total of 195.5 on NBA odds.

[gameodds]5/253387/?r-1=43-19-349/us[/gameodds]

Fourth Time The Charm For Wiz?

This will be the fourth time this season Washington has a chance to get above break even, and it's safe to say the previous three did not go well. The first was of course Washington's season opener, a 113-102 loss at Detroit in which the Wizards were 2.5-point underdogs on NBA odds. To make matters worse, starting big man Nene hurt his calf in the game and missed the next two, both Wizards losses.

On Dec. 6 at home against Milwaukee, which has proven to be clearly the worst team in the NBA, the Wizards entered at 9-9 and having won seven of nine. Washington was the second-biggest favorite it has been all season for sports bettors at minus-9.5 but lost 109-105 in overtime to a Bucks squad that entered having lost 13 of its previous 14 games. A Brandon Knight 3-pointer with 15 seconds left in regulation tied it. The Wizards' Chris Singleton then missed a 3-pointer to win it.  Washington then was held without a field goal in overtime, with just three free throws. Oddly, Nene hurt himself in that game as well and missed the next four, just one of which Washington won.

Finally, on New Year's Day against visiting Dallas, Washington (14-14) was a 2-point favorite on NBA picks and lost 87-78 to start a three-game losing streak. The Wizards led 74-70 with 4:58 left but didn't score again until 46 seconds remained. At least Nene made it through that one healthy.

The Wizards (21-19 ATS, 23-17 O/U at sportsbooks) are playing well entering Wednesday, having won four of five, including two wins over a solid Bulls team and a blowout of Miami. John Wall is averaging 23.0 points, 7.6 assists and 4.6 rebounds in that stretch. Backcourt mate Bradley Beal might be ready to break out of a funk as he had 22 points in Monday's win over Philadelphia, his first 20-point game in the past seven and only second this month.

Washington played Monday without top reserve/sometime starting forward Trevor Booker after he left Saturday's loss to Detroit early with a sprained ankle. He didn't practice Tuesday and is iffy for this one. Booker is averaging 7.5 points and 7.2 rebounds this month in 22.2 minutes.

C's Continue To Sink

The Celtics (21-21-1 ATS, 17-26 O/U at sportsbooks) lost for the 12th time in 13 games on Tuesday, 93-86 at Miami. We projected a Celtics cover (+9) on Tuesday's NBA picks if the Heat's Dwayne Wade didn't play and he did not. It will be interesting to see home much Celtics coach Brad Stevens plays Rajon Rondo tonight as this will be Boston's first back-to-back since Rondo made his season debut off ACL surgery last Friday. It wouldn't be completely shocking if Rondo actually sits this one out just as a precaution. He certainly can't be expected to play heavy minutes if he goes. Rondo struggled against the Heat, going 0-for-8 in a season-high 26 minutes. He also missed two free throws with 44.4 seconds left that could have cut the Heat lead to two.

Be sure to check out our Wednesday NBA Picks of the Day

Season Series

This is the second of four meetings, with the Wizards winning 106-99 at Boston on Dec. 21 as a 1.5-point dog on NBA odds with a total set at 192.5. The Celtics led 92-84 with 6:14 left, but Washington went on a 14-1 run. Wall finished with 20 points and six steals, while Boston's Jared Sullinger had 22 points and 11 rebounds. Boston was just 4-for-20 from long range with leading scorer Jeff Green 0-for-6. The Wizards have lost three straight at home in this series. They also have failed to cover six straight at home this season on NBA picks against teams with a losing road record.

NBA free pick: The second of a back-to-back for Boston and that over .500 carrot screams a Washington cover here, with the under.

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