NBA Pick: Toronto Raptors, Washington Wizards ‘over’ 190½

LT Profits Sports Group

Tuesday, February 19, 2013 5:00 AM GMT

The Raptors and the Wizards are both improving offensively thanks to Toronto acquiring Rudy Gay and John Wall coming back for Washington, so there could be value on this ‘over’.

It could be a higher scoring game than the posted total suggests on Tuesday night when the Toronto Raptors (21-32, 7-19 away) pay a visit to the Washington Wizards (15-36, 11-14 home) in the first game after the All-Star break at the Verizon Center in Washington, DC at 7:05 ET.

The posted total at Pinnacle Spots is 190½ for this contest with the current odds on the ‘over’ set at -102.

The ‘over’ is 16-7-1 in the last 24 head-to-head meetings between the Raptors and Wizards, and with both of these teams showing offensive improvement lately, there could be hidden value in the ‘over’ here yet again. The Raptors have the second longest winning streak in the NBA coming out of the break at four games while the Wizards are 11-8 in their last 19 games.

It is not too difficult to pinpoint the exact reason for the improvement in both teams either. In the Raptors’ case, it was the acquisition of Rudy Gay from the Memphis Grizzlies in a three-team trade that also involved the Detroit Pistons.

In seven games since arriving north of the border, Gay has averaged 20.7 points and 6.3 rebounds with Toronto going 5-2 in those games. The Raptors still rank just 12th in the NBA with 97.7 points per game, but with Gay serving mostly as the catalyst during the four-game winning steak, the Raptors are averaging a nice 100.8 points during those wins.

They say that scoring can be contagious, and in Gay’s first bad night in a Toronto uniform in an upset win over the Knicks in New York on Wednesday where he went just 4-for-21 from the floor and finished with 11 points, Alan Anderson picked up the slack with 26 points off the bench, which was one point shy of his season-high vs. Oklahoma City.

While Toronto is currently in 10th place in the Eastern Conference, it is only six games being the eighth place Milwaukee Bucks, so if the recent improvement continues, a late playoff push is far from impossible. Also, while the Raptors are just 7-19 on the road, they are now shooting for their third straight road win after winning at a couple of difficult road venues in New York and Indianapolis.

The improvement of the Wizards can just about be traced to John Wall making his seasonal debut, as while they won their final game before his return, they have gone 10-8 with Wall in the lineup. Wall has averaged 14.7 points and 7.3 assists in his 18 games back while giving the team the athleticism it lacked while he was recuperating from his knee injury.

Now Washington still ranks dead last in the NBA in scoring at 91.3 points per game and it is second to last in field goal percentage at 42.8 percent, but the Wizards have improved dramatically on the offensive end since Wall’s return and they are averaging 96.0 points on a blistering 49.4 percent shooting over the last five games.

Look for the improvement of both offenses to continue and for these teams to sneak ‘over’ this total on Tuesday.

[gameodds]5/218845/238-19-93-92-1096/us[/gameodds]

NBA Pick: Raptors, Wizards ‘over’ 190½ (-102)