NBA Pick: Underdog Value Play Monday

LT Profits Sports Group

Monday, December 30, 2013 5:00 AM GMT

Monday, Dec. 30, 2013 5:00 AM GMT

Each day LT Profits Sports seeks an overlay underdog that has a better chance of cashing than its odds, offering long term value. Here is their Underdog Value Play for Monday.

The visiting team is looking to sweep a home-and-home series and also looking to reach the .500 mark Monday night when those Washington Wizards (13-14, 6-9 away) pay a visit to the Detroit Pistons (14-18, 6-10 home) at The Palace of Auburn Hills in Detroit, MI at 7:35 ET.

The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Washington as a small underdog for this contest with the current line at +2½ with odds of -101.

The Wizards have now won four of their last five games and getting to the .500 mark before New Year’s Day would mean a lot to a franchise expected to improve this year after many lean seasons recently. For example, Washington finished 29-53 last season, but even then it was fairly apparent that the Wizards had more talent than that record suggested.

The Pistons also expected to improve this year after the acquisitions of Brandon Jennings and Josh Smith during the off-season, but it has not turned out that way even though Detroit is actually in second place in the Central Division with its 14-18 record, although the Pistons are obviously no threat to win the division at 11½ games behind the team with the best record in the Eastern Conference, the Indiana Pacers.

One of the biggest problems for the Wizards in recent years was their inability to win on the road, but they have now won three of their last four games away from home to improve to a semi-respectable 6-9 road mark, with the only road loss in this time coming at Minnesota on Friday. If that improvement on the road continues, then the Wizards would be legitimate playoff contenders in by far the weaker of the two NBA conferences.

The Wizards had no problem shaking off that loss to the Timberwolves when returning home to begin this home-and-home series on Saturday, as they routed the Pistons 106-82 with that 24-point difference being Washington’s biggest winning margin of the season. The Wizards also set a season high for assists in that game with 34, as they were led by John Wall with 20 points and 11 assists.

Wall has been the catalyst behind the Wizards’ improvement as he is almost averaging a double-double at 19.9 points and 9.1 assists, with both of those figures being personal career highs for the former number one overall draft pick.

The Pistons are trending in the opposite direction as they have lost four of their last five games overall, and they have not had much of a home court advantage this year while going just 6-10 at The Palace, no thanks to three straight losses and five losses in their last six games here.

The newly acquired Jennings and Smith have done their parts offensively as the team’s two leading scorers, but neither of those players has helped a lax defense that is ranked 27th in the NBA in field goal percentage allowed at 46.8 percent, a percentage that has risen to a hideous 49.8 percent overall in the last five games!

While this game may not be another blowout for the Wizards like Saturday with the venue now shifting to Detroit, we feel that Washington offers long term value even as a small underdog on Monday.

[gameodds]5/251692/?r-1=238-92-43-349-192/us[/gameodds]

NBA Pick: Wizards +2½ (-101)

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