Friday Double Dribble: Wizards, Raptors Look to Protect Home Court

Troy Haliburton

Friday, February 23, 2018 4:58 PM UTC

Friday, Feb. 23, 2018 4:58 PM UTC

Thursday served as a great fix for those who were going through NBA withdrawal after a week off for the All-Star break. Tonight, the NBA serves up 11 games, and we look at two quality picks for bettors to cash in on.

Charlotte Hornets (23-31-4 ATS) at Washington Wizards (28-30 ATS)Free NBA Pick: Wizards -3.5Best Line Offered: Bovada

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The Wizards are coming off one of their more impressive wins of the season Thursday in Cleveland, and the Wizards have now won eight of their last 10 games, all without John Wall. The success of the Wizards without Wall can largely be attributed to the play of Tomas Satoransky. The second-year pro from the Czech Republic is making headlines because of his passing skills, but more important he has been a godsend for the Wizards on the defensive end. Satoransky is only giving up a mind-boggling 32% of field-goal attempts to opposing point guards, and only 0.189 points per possession. The Wizards will need Satoransky to slow down All-Star Kemba Walker if they want to continue their winning ways.

Washington has developed a knack for beating the best teams in the league and joins the Golden State Warriors as the only teams in the league to have beaten the Rockets, Cavaliers, Celtics and Raptors. While the Wizards are taking care of the best teams in the NBA, they are still struggling against the below-.500 teams, including two losses to the Hornets.

A part of the reason why the Hornets have dominated the Wizards this season is the play from Dwight Howard against Marcin Gortat. The two former teammates in Orlando are friends off the court, but when Dwight plays Gortat it is anything but friendly. Howard has outscored Gortat 52-8 and outrebounded him 28-19 in the two matchups this season. Dwight grabbed a season-high 24 rebounds Thursday in the Hornets' win against the Brooklyn Nets, and the Wizards will need to adjust some of their rotations if they are to win. Luckily for the Wizards, they have been getting much more production recently out of backup center Ian Mahinmi, who is more than capable of using his bigger frame to slow down Howard and keep him off the boards. Charlotte has the worst ATS road record in the NBA at 8-15-4, and that trend should continue in Washington.

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It's @BMO Raptors Game Day!

And we back, and we back, and we back. #WeTheNorth

Preview »

— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) February 23, 2018

Milwaukee Bucks (23-29-5 ATS) at Toronto Raptors (32-25 ATS)Free NBA Pick: Raptors -7.5Best Line Offered: 5Dimes

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Toronto has already won the season series against the Bucks with two victories in a three game season series. The first matchup with the Bucks resulted in Toronto pulling off a comeback overtime victory in Milwaukee. In that game, DeMar DeRozan set a Raptors franchise record with 52 points, and the Bucks could do nothing to stop the shooting guard from having his way. Milwaukee still lacks the elite perimeter defender to contend with the myriad of star wing players throughout the league.

One of the reasons that Toronto has been so successful this season is the fact that it made a conscious effort this offseason to change style of play. The intent was on making sure that the Raptors were playing a style that would fit in better in the pace-and-space era. Toronto is taking and making more threes and running a more free-flowing offensive set that results in fewer isolation plays from DeRozan and Kyle Lowry.

From a gambling perspective, the Raptors have been a bettors' best friend this season as they have gone 32-25 ATS for a 58-percent win rate. Toronto’s success as a favored team has it with the fifth best record ATS this season. The Raptors are actually one of the best teams at protecting home court as well; Toronto has the best home record in the NBA at 22-4 and covers the spread at a 57% clip with a home ATS record of 16-12. Too much data to bet against the Raptors tonight.

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